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Archive news & events

Updates and events from the School of Scottish Studies Archives.


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Voice of the People #Hamish100 Concert and Symposium

As centenary celebrations for Hamish Henderson come to a close, The Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies is delighted to present our final events: a symposium and concert celebrating Hamish's work on oral tradition and Scottish culture. 


An evening concert (7pm doors, 8pm concert) will take place at the Queen's Hall, tickets are available here: 

Voice of the People brings together contemporary voices inspired by Henderson’s life and work, featuring prominent tradition bearers and material from the School of Scottish Studies archives. Artists include Alison McMorland & Geordie McIntyre, Dolina MacLennan, Allan MacDonald, Gary West, James Robertson, Fiona Hunter, Mischa MacPherson, Steve Byrne, Lori Watson, Scott Gardiner, Essie Stewart, Findlay Napier, Innes Watson, Heather Downie and Alistair Paterson.


Singing the archives: Gaelic and Scots Song Traditions

This event was an exploration of the use of archival resources in traditional song transmission with an opportunity to listen to recordings from the School of Scottish Studies Archives and to learn a song or two that appears in both Gaelic and Scots traditions.

The workshop was led by singer and researcher Naomi Harvey.


Hamish Henderson Plaque

Plaque Celebrating Founder of the Archives unveiled.

A plaque was unveiled at 29 George Square on Monday the 5th of November commemorating Hamish Henderson; poet, song-writer, folklorist, and founder of the School of Scottish Studies Archives.  It will stand in perpetuity to celebrate the work of Hamish here in the Archives. This is part of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of his birth on 11th of November 1919.


Dr John MacInnes

Dr John MacInnes

We are sad to report the death of Dr John MacInnes, at the age of 89, on Friday 10 May after a short illness. John was born in Uig on Lewis and was there until the age of eight when the family moved to Raasay. He went to Portree High School and then to study at the University of Edinburgh. John spent his working life, from the 1950s to 1993, at the School of Scottish Studies where he made over 400 field recordings with people from all parts of the Gàidhealtachd and beyond. He was a renowned scholar within academia, and within the Gaelic community where learning and an interest in and desire to pass on the history, songs and stories that keep the culture and the language alive are so highly valued. His memory was prodigious like so many of those that he recorded. He had a wide-ranging knowledge, not only of the Gaelic literary and oral traditions and how they connected, but also of the people and where they were placed. And he shared it.

John will be very much missed as a friend and as someone to turn to with a question, a question that often turned into a quest. You would always get more than you asked for from this lovely, interesting, warm, vital and very singular man.


Art of Treepling Festival

The Art of Treepling, a mini festival of percussive dance, 'beating out the rhythm of the music with the feet', was held the week-end of 7-9 June 2019. This was the culmination of a residency, First Footing, undertaken by Nic Gareiss with the Traditional Dance forum of Scotland in partnership with the School of Scottish Studies Archives and Moray House School of Education.

The festival opened with a special work-in-progress showing of the Art of Treepling on Friday evening at 7.30 in St Cecilia's Hall and the programme over the following two days included masterclasses with Sandy Silva, Colin Dunne, Nic Gareiss, a panel discussion on the Art of Treepling, the Migration Dance film Project and a final performance with Gareiss, Silva and Dunne featuring solos, improvisations and spontaneous collaborations. Further information is available at:


Hand-made Archives: Cleekit Gloves

On 18 February 2019, as part of the Festival of Creative Learning, we held a day-long event at the archive which celebrated evidence of hand-making in the sound and photographic archive. Particular focus was given to the craft of cleeking, a type of flat hook crochet.

A ball of pink yarn and a small piece of fabric lay on a sheet of paper alongside a yellow crochet hook

Archive & Library Assistant Louise Scollay, presented a talk on a collection of letters in the archive, dating from 1959, which relate to the "lost craft" of cleekit gloves. This craft was at one time the passtime of men who worked in farming and agriculture. The letters, sent to the editor of Scottish Home & Country Magazine, describe the practice and reminisciences of the craft. Later at this event Dr Alison Mayne led the group in a cleeking workshop and participants were able to create small wrist cuffs. 


For further information on this event,  you can read Alison's case study of the event, at the Stitching Together Project.


School of Scottish Studies Archives Relocation

The School of Scottish Studies Archive has re-opened to visitors. The opening hours are 10:00 to 16:00, Tuesday to Friday. No appointment is necessary but if you wish to discuss your requirements in advance, email or telephone 0131 650 3060.


Theatre Inspired by the Archives

Internationally acclaimed, multi award-winning Song of the Goat Theatre (Fringe First winners in 2012 & 2004) have been commissioned by Summerhall to create a new performance drawing on Scotland’s ancient musical traditions partly inspired by the School of Scottish Studies Archives.

Return to the Voice

Artists performing


Three pairs of writer/musician collaborators visited the School of Scottish Studies seeking inspiration for the creation of new works based on recordings of traditional music, songs, stories and oral history held in the Sound Archive. Amble Skuse and Angus Peter Campbell, Ailie Robertson and Rebecca Sharp, Mike Vass and Charlotte Murray worked together interweaving music and words to create surprising and innovative compositions which will be be performed by Mr McFalls Chamber with singer Maeve MacKinnon and writer Angus Peter Campbell in March 2014 in Edinburgh and Plockton.

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin in the Archive Search Room

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Archive Project

With funding from Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin have started a project to involve some of their members in the Archives. The main aim is to enable young people to get a meaningful understanding of the content of the Sound Archives and the context of the recordings, and then creatively respond.

They will be assisted in this by local musicians and staff from the archive including Dr Mairi McFadyen, Alasdair Roberts, Mike Vass and Matheu Watson.

Artists in the Archive

Artists in the Archives

Alasdair Roberts, Aileen Campbell, and Drew Wright embarked on a twelve-week commissioning residency in the School of Scottish Studies Archives at the University of Edinburgh. During their residency they listened to recordings, sifted through photos, conducted their own fieldwork and developed new performances from their findings. You can follow their explorations on the Archive Trails website.