The AHRB Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: RIISS

Abstract

The AHRB Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies seeks to carry out comparative and interdisciplinary research on Ireland and Scotland with special emphasis on the histories, languages, literatures and cultures of the two peoples. In addition to supporting major networks and projects in these fields, the Centre will promote graduate training, dissemination to academic and non-academic audiences, will engage in collaborative work with leading institutions and outstanding scholars worldwide and function as a global research hub for the subject area.

Publications

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Craig, C (2007) MacIver, Macmurray and the Scottish Idealists in Journal of Scottish Thought

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Craig, C (2011) Kenneth White and Scotland's Intellectual Nomads in Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies

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Craig, C (2011) Scotland as Science Fiction

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Craig, C (2010) Race, Scripture, Science in Journal of Scottish Thought

 
Title Causeway/Cabhsair 
Description Multilingual creative writing magazine serving writers in Scots (in Northern Ireland as well as Scotland), Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, as well as English. Eight issues since 2009. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact International contributors have appeared as the University of Aberdeen's annual WORD festival which attracts substantial audiences from throughout Scotland. 
URL http://www.abdn.ac.uk/riiss/publications/causeway-cabhsair-112.php
 
Description The aim of the Phase 2 Centre was to establish comparative Irish-Scottish studies in an international context. Through a series of major conferences in Aberdeen, and in Wellington (New Zealand) and Toronto/Guelph (Canada), it has gathered scholars from across the anglophone world, and from France, Germany, Denmark, Russia and Poland, to debate the past and the future of the languages, literatures and histories of Ireland and Scotland, and of their diasporic communities. This has created major international networks of scholars able to bring to bear on Irish and Scottish issues an understanding of the history and development of those issues in both countries - for example, on the ways in which their diasporic communities impacted on the environment or engaged with native peoples; on how their religious and educational traditions shaped the civic cultures of imperial territories; on the ways that their national policies for the arts, economic management, urban and rural planning, or language, are likely to impact on their future development. The establishment of The Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies has provided an ongoing focus for these researches and major books have been produced for, among others, Cambridge University Press, Queen's-McGill University Press, Edinburgh University Press.
Exploitation Route The Centre's impact outside academia has been shaped by its programme of public engagement events and its outreach activities:
- engagement with research users - political leaders, policy makers and public servants;
- engagement with the public through co-operation with the Scottish Parliament;
- engagement with the public through arts events;
- engagement with education;
- public lectures; and
- popular dissemination.
Details of these activities are given in the Narrative Impact Section.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.abdn.ac.uk/riiss
 
Description The Centre's impact outside academia has been shaped by its programme of public engagement events and its outreach activities: (a) The Irish-Scottish Forums have brought the Centre's researchers and research agenda directly into engagement with political leaders, policy makers and those involved in running public institutions. The Forums have involved former First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, members of the House of Lords, MPs and MSPs, and current and former ministers of the Scottish and Irish governments. They have also involved those directly responsible for developing policy - for example, the planning officers from the Republic, from Ulster and from Scotland in our Forum on spatial planning - and those engaged in public institutions, such as museums and heritage organisations. The outcomes of these meetings have allowed those involved better to understand the workings of systems in the other jurisdictions, and have led to significant critiques based on comparisons between them, for instance in Irish Times journalist Frank MacDonald's critique of the fragmented nature of the Republic's planning system, with its very large number of semi-autonomous planning boards, and in the challenge to the Scottish government's actions in relation to Donald Trump's planning applications. Equally, discussions between contributors to our Forums will inform the future development of concerted policy action by the devolved governments of the UK - a theme that was central to presentations by Henry McLeish and by John Osmond of the Institute of Welsh Affairs at the final Irish-Scottish Forum. The presence at the most recent of these events of senior civil servants from the Republic, from Ulster and from Scotland is indicative of their increasing reputation in clarifying key issues faced by government and public institutions. (b) Engagement with the public through co-operation with the Scottish Parliament. The Centre has been represented regularly in events at the Scottish Parliament, both events related to its diasporic projects - such as the discussion of the effectiveness and relevance of the 'Year of Homecoming' in which Cairns Craig took part with Henry McLeish (former First Minister), Kenny Macaskill (Justice Secretary) and Joan McAlpine (deputy editor of Sunday Times Scotland) - and events which it has initiated as contributions to the annual Festival of Politics programme, such as the discussion of the 'Politics of Devolution', involving members of the SNP and the Labour Party in Scotland, and representatives from Wales and Northern Ireland. These events have not only been well attended - c. 85 is the maximum number who can be accommodated in the committee rooms - but have been widely reported in the press and much commented on in the blogosphere. Some ninety blogs responded to Cairns Craig's comments on the Year of Homecoming. The Centre's effective relationship with the Parliament and its staff have made it possible for it to engage with politicians, civil servants and the general public in ways which were not envisaged in the original strategic and operational plan. Indeed, a programme of events for 2011, including a Forum on the economic consequences for the devolved territories of the present and forecast cuts in public funding, are currently under discussion with the Parliament. (c) Engagement with the public through arts events As noted above, many of the Centre's conferences have included public events, particularly poetry readings and folksong recitals, bringing Scottish artists to Irish audiences and Irish artists to Scottish audiences, as well as both to audiences in New Zealand and Canada. In its local context, the Centre has given particular support to the Word Festival, which attracts some 10,000 attendees to a weekend of literary and cultural presentations in King's College, Aberdeen. The Centre has brought a substantial number of Irish writers to appear at Word, as well involving Scottish writers (such as Ian Rankin) in interviews and discussion sessions. It has also promoted the work of student writers, both at Word and at the Edinburgh Festival. It made possible a major exhibition at the Scottish Parliament on Scots-Canadian migrants and several 'Director's Cut' events in Aberdeen, in which leading Scottish film directors (including Kevin MacDonald, director of The Last King of Scotland, 2006) were interviewed and their work analysed. These were always fully booked. (d) Engagement with education There is no compulsory Scottish element in the teaching of history or literature in Scottish schools, and to encourage teachers to use Scottish (and Irish) materials, the Centre has organised Continuous Professional Development courses that run in conjunction with the Word Festival and provide teachers and student teachers with the opportunity to interact with Irish and Scottish writers. This has built up relations with various teachers and schools which the Centre has been able to use to promote its activities and to provide support for individual projects - most notably in the anti-racism campaign which schools have been running under the banner of 'Threads in the Tartan', and in which the work made possible by the Centre was commended both by Aberdeen's Director of Education and the senior professor of Aberdeen University's School of Education. (e) Public Lectures As well as the Centre's research seminar programme which takes place in the main room of Humanity Manse - a total of 86 individual speakers have presented their work there between 2006 and 2010 - the AHRC Centre has used the impressive facilities of the King's College Conference Centre for public lectures, delivered sometimes by those engaged in the Centre's work - e.g. Cairns Craig and Edna Longley - and sometimes by distinguished visiting speakers such as Roy Foster (Oxford) or Jerome McGann (Virginia), or by prominent public figures such as Dan Mulhall (formerly Irish Consul in Edinburgh and now an advisor in the office of the Taoiseach). Prof. Craig has presented the Centre's work at lectures in the USA (Berkeley, Boston College), Canada (Guelph), New Zealand (Wellington, Waikato, Otago) and France (Pau, Grenoble), and Dr Brown has presented its work in Dublin, Oxford and Aberystwyth. (f) Popular dissemination In reaching beyond academia, members of the Centre have given talks at Burns Nights, at St Andrews Societies (both in Scotland and in North America) and been interviewed on radio or for newspaper articles. Radio programmes based on Cairns Craig's work have been made by BBC Scotland (on Scottish gardeners and botanists, produced by BBC Aberdeen), and on Scottish intellectual migrants (in a forthcoming series on the Scottish Universities produced by Billy Kay). The special issue of the Scottish Review of Books on Irish and Scottish themes allowed several members of the Centre to review recent work in their field, and also featured reviews by others involved in Irish-Scottish studies at Aberdeen - such as Prof. Patrick Crotty - and by those in the Centre's partner institutions - such as Graham Walker of Queen's Belfast. The Centre's programme of public engagement has thus brought it into contact with a wide range of those engaged in the formation of public policy - politicians, economists, planners, inward-investment specialists - and a wide range of different 'publics', from readers of the Sunday Herald to those attracted to readings by famous (and not-so-famous) authors. It has gained the confidence of the officials at the Scottish Parliament and has been able to bring together leading figures from all three devolved jurisdictions in a context where their views can have impact both on Scottish politicians, on civil servants and on the lobby reporters of the Scottish media.
First Year Of Impact 2006
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Boston College 
Organisation Boston College
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Craig visited Boston College early in Phase 2, and subsequently both Prof. Marjorie Howes and Prof. Kevin Kenny have been participants in the Centre's activities, and Boston College was the site of the IRCISS conference in 2012. The relationship between the two institutions was reinforced by the appointment of Prof. Tom Bartlett (History, Aberdeen) as a visiting professor in Boston College in 2009-10, and the conference has provided the opportunity to build further the relationship between the institutions.
Impact IRCISS 2012 conference; multidisciplinary: History, English, Celtic
Start Year 2006
 
Description Notre Dame 
Organisation University of Notre Dame
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Luke Gibbons (now of University College Dublin) was Notre Dame's representative at the first IRCISS conference but Patrick Griffin of Notre Dame's history department had also been a visiting fellow at the Centre (as part of the Diasporas project). The relationship with Notre Dame is new in terms of the Centre's activities but was foreshadowed by the fact that Prof. Seamus Deane of Notre Dame had been, along with Prof. Craig, the first speakers at the launch of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies in 1999. Notre Dame's building in Dublin, O'Connell House, was the location for the first day of the Irish-Scottish Forum held in Dublin in 2009 and Kevin Whelan, its Director, one of the speakers. Since the Glucksman family support chairs both in Notre Dame and in Aberdeen (as well as at Ireland House in New York University) there is considerable opportunity for building on this particular collaboration.
Impact Irish-Scottish Forum in 2009
Start Year 2006
 
Description Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand 
Organisation University of Otago
Country New Zealand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Tom Brooking of Otago was an early visitor during Phase 2, seeking appointees who would help develop Irish-Scottish studies in Otago. The appointments of Dr Liam McIlvanney and Dr Angela McCarthy (both of whom had been involved in Phase 1 at Aberdeen) to professorships has provided Aberdeen with a very strong set of collaborative partners in Otago. Prof. Craig is working with Prof. Brooking in developing a project on migrants and environments, and Prof Harper is working with Prof. McCarthy on mental health in migrant communities. Jill Harland, a postgraduate student from Otago, made an extended visit to Humanity Manse and used it as a base from which to develop her research on Orcadian migration to New Zealand.
Impact Follow on projects, joint studentships. Multi-disciplinary: History, English, Celtic
Start Year 2006
 
Description Queen's Belfast 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Through the AHRC grant, the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies (RIIS) was able to initiate and sustain research collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Participant in the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative, representing a long-term collaboration. Directly participated in two projects - 'Irish and Scottish Poetry 1890 to Present' (Prof. Edna Longley, Dr. Fran Brearton), and the 'Language and Politics' series (Dr John Kirk). Hosted Crosscurrents conference 2006 and its postgraduates are regular contributors to the Crosscurrents series. Dr Brown, Associate Director of RIISS, is involved in an ongoing collaborative project with Dr Kirk ('Radical Poetry and Song'); there is ongoing collaboration with the Politics department in relation to the nature and development of devolution in UK.
Impact Crosscurrent Series and Language and Politics Series (see outputs section); multidisciplinary research - History, English, Celtic, Politics and International Relations
Start Year 2006
 
Description Scottish Parliament 
Organisation Scottish Parliament
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration with the Scottish Parliament was the most unexpected but perhaps the significant new collaboration, made possible because of its commitment to encouraging access to the Parliament building and to the use of its facilities for public engagement. We were thus able to develop, along with the Parliamentary civil servants, a series of events, some integrated into their activities - such as The Festival of Politics - and some a mutual collaboration to mark political events - such as the symposium on the effectiveness of the 'Year of Homecoming' - while others were developments of our own programme, such as the Irish-Scottish Forum on 'The Politics of Devolution'. The use of the parliament's Committee Rooms and Members' Dining Room for that Forum on the evening of the 4th and the whole day of the 5th November 2010 provided a splendid setting for the participants in our final Forum.
Impact Festival of Politics, Irish-Scottish Forum on 'Politics of Devolution'
Start Year 2006
 
Description Scottish Review of Books 
Organisation Scottish Review of Books
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks
Collaborator Contribution Scottish Review of Books* is Scotland's leading literary review. Alan Taylor, its editor, is a graduate of Aberdeen who has, both personally and through the Review, given considerable support to Aberdeen's annual Word Festival. A variety of collaborations with SRB in events involving writers from Ireland led to a special issue of the Review devoted to Irish-Scottish subjects. The collaboration was sufficiently successful that Aberdeen's College of Arts and Social Science subsequently became a sponsor of the Review.
Impact Contribution to Aberdeen's annual Word Festival; Scottish Review of Books sponsorship
Start Year 2006
 
Description St Michael's College, Toronto/Scottish Studies Centre, Guelph 
Organisation St Michael's College Toronto - Scottish Studies Centre Guelph
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. David Wilson was invited as a participant in one of the early diaspora projects, and subsequently offered to host - together with Graeme Morton of the Scottish Studies Centre at Guelph - the second IRCISS conference. Dr Morton, having been at Edinburgh, was already known to those involved in the Centre at Aberdeen, but this alignment of Irish and Scottish studies in Ontario was entirely unexpected. Given the extensive history of Scottish influence in the development of the Universities of Toronto and Guelph, and the strong Scottish community associations in the Toronto area, this is a collaboration with considerable scope for development. Prof. Craig was keynote speaker at Guelph's annual Scottish Studies conference in 2009.
Impact 2nd IRCISS conference; Multidisciplinary - History, English, Celtic
Start Year 2006
 
Description Trinity College Dublin 
Organisation Trinity College Dublin
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Participant in the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative and so part of a long-term collaboration. In this Phase, however, the collaboration was extended beyond the History, English and Celtic departments to engage, in particular, with economics, where Prof. John O'Hagan and Prof. Frank Berry represented new collaborative partners*. A project on 'Creativity, the University and the City' is in development.
Impact Multidisciplinary - History, English, Celtic and Economics
Start Year 2006
 
Description University of Strathclyde 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Participant in the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative, and so part of a long-term collaboration, but also became the site for the project on Jacobite networks, and the work of Prof. Allan Macinnes and Dr Jeffrey Stephen. Held the Crosscurrents Conference in 2008 and its postgraduates are regular contributors to the series. Location for the 'Jacobites and Anti-Jacobites: Culture and Diaspora' conference, 2010.
Impact Crosscurrents Series; multidisciplinary: History, English, Celtic
Start Year 2006
 
Description Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand 
Organisation University of Victoria
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The AHRC grant has enabled the Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies to initiate and sustain multidisciplinary collaborations and networks.
Collaborator Contribution Victoria was the site for the first conference of the new international collaborative framework of the International Research Consortium for Irish and Scottish Studies, because its Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies was modelled on Aberdeen's. The Director, Brad Patterson, has subsequently moved to Massey University where the Centre is being re-established. Because of the parallel interests of the two Centres, Dr Patterson was an early visiting fellow in Aberdeen, and the collaboration was anticipated. Its extent, however, was much greater than expected, involving Victoria not only in the hosting of the conference and Dr Patterson in the editing of an issue of JISS based on the conference, but in sustained visits to the Centre in Aberdeen by postgraduates (Rebecca Lenihan, Tanja Bueltmann) and staff (Don MacRaild) from Victoria.
Impact Multidisciplinary: History, English, Celtic
Start Year 2006