Research Projects

Members of the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies pursue a number of research projects, including several major AHRC-funded undertakings with dedicated research teams.

Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland

This project led by Dr Sally Foster of the University of Stirling and Dr Katherine Forsyth of the University of Glasgow began in February 2015 and will run until April 2016. The aim of this project is to create a Research Framework for carved stones in Scotland, encourage communication between the research community and specialists and non-specialists from the heritage and stewardship sectors, foster new collaborations, and to create an international network focused on utilising digital applications in the study of early medieval inscribed documents. Four workshops dedicated to addressing these issues have taken place, summaries of which can be located on their respective webpages.

The paradox of medieval Scotland: social relationships and identities before the wars of independence:

This AHRC-funded three-year project ran from 2007-2010 and was led by Professor Dauvit Broun (History) in collaboration with Professor Robeard O’Maolalaigh (Celtic and Gaelic), and Professor David Carpenter of King’s College London. The team built a prosopographical database of 11th and 12th century Scotland based on charter evidence. By reconstructing a picture of Scottish society before the wars of independence, this project sought to explain why and how Scotland became a self-conscious nation of Scots at the same time as it experienced extensive English settlement through Anglo-Norman immigration.


The expansion and contraction of Gaelic in medieval Scotland: the onomastic evidence:

Another AHRC-funded endeavour, this place-names project explores how Gaelic expanded from Argyll into eastern and southern Scotland in the early middle ages and receded from these areas by 1500.  The project team is led by Professor Thomas Clancy (Celtic and Gaelic), with Dr. Simon Taylor as lead researcher, Gilbert Markus as research assistant and doctoral student Peter McNiven.

The Breaking of Britain:

Funded by the AHRC, this collaborative project involves the University of Glasgow, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, and King’s College London (including the Department of Digital Humanities). The project is concerned with the period which extends from the failure of Alexander II’s short-lived revival of a Scoto-Northumbrian realm in 1216–17 to the formal abolition of cross-border landholding by Robert I in November 1314, following his victory at Bannockburn.
The project builds on the work of another project funded by the AHRC, The Paradox of Medieval Scotland (PoMS), and will extend the PoMS database to 1314. It will also be linked to a new database, recording interactions between the Crown and people in the three northern counties of England from 1216 to 1307. The project will also study border chronicles as a source both for medieval perceptions of identity and fields of medieval historical interest.

Bridging the Continental divide: neo-Latin and its cultural role in Jacobean Scotland, as seen in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637):

Bridging the Continental Divide is a project funded by the AHRC and based in the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow. The project’s main aim is to produce an electronic edition of a selection of the poets in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum huius aevi illustrium (DPS, Amsterdam, 1637), the largest anthology of Scottish neo-Latin ever produced, which was edited by the Fife laird Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit and the Aberdonian poet Arthur Johnstone. The resource will provide original scans and a full transcription of the Latin text of 13 of the 37 poets in the DPS, alongside an English translation of each poem with a full critical apparatus detailing all scriptural and philological references cited, and their historical and social context.

Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names:

A three-year Project funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2010-2013).  The cults of saints have long been studied as a way of understanding religious history, and in Scotland the poverty of other kinds of evidence from the early medieval period give hagio-toponyms special significance. But there are considerable challenges: understanding the derivation of the place-names themselves, for instance, or difficulties in identifying the individuals commemorated. In place-names we find both formal processes of naming (reflecting authority, possession and power), and naming as a reflection of local popular devotion, and the stories people told about their landscape. Study of hagio-toponyms must cope with extremes: dedications to saints as expressions of monastic control, and the mistaken creation of saints out of common name-elements (e.g., St Ford, originally Sandford). It was, and is, a dynamic process of forgetfulness and invention. We hope we will be able to reclaim and understand through our work the landscapes of Scotland’s religious past.

A Companion to Recent Scottish Music, 1950 to the present:

A Carnegie Trust-sponsored project involving researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Napier and Kingston.  The resulting volume will be published by Musica Scotica Trust.

The Scottish Charters Project will produce a calendar of aristocratic charters to 1286 and a calendar of episcopal charters to 1250.  This project includes a Postgraduate Scottish Charters Reading Group.  Members of the Centre also contribute to the Syllabus of Scottish Cartularies, a project of the Conference of Scottish Medievalists.

The Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website seeks to promote an appreciation for surviving Gothic monuments in Scotland.

The Centre for Cultural Policy Research  is pursuing an evaluation of the Highland 2007 Year of Culture for the Highland Council.

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