Information Services

Photographic Archive

The Photographic Archive came into being when the School of Scottish Studies was established in 1951.

Two women walking near a blackhouse on Eriskay, 1936

It comprises ethnographic images from various sources including the School’s own fieldwork and various donated collections. There are over 80,000 images in various formats ranging from glass slides to born digital.

The Archive is particularly rich in rurally based material and subject matter includes domestic buildings, household economy, agriculture, fishing, transport and communications, crafts, seasonal customs, music and dance, and portraits of singers, storytellers and other tradition bearers. The majority of the images date from the 1930s to the present day.

As well as staff and student’s fieldwork, notable collections include those of late curator Ian MacKenzie (1958-2010), Werner Kissling (1895-1988) and  Robert Atkinson (1915-1995).  

To find out more about the Photographic Archive, see Festivals, Faces and Fire: A Survey of Fieldwork Photography by Ian MacKenzie for the School of Scottish Studies, 1985 – 2005.

Visiting the Photographic Archive

Our opening hours are currently 10-4 Tuesday to Friday, there is no need for an appointment, however if you would like to discuss your requirements prior to your arrival contact the Archives by email or by phone on 0131 650 30 60. Requests can be made for material to be copied. There is a charge for this service and some images are subject to copyright restrictions.


Isabel Welsh baiting hooks in Gourdon, 1985
Fisherman, Bob Mellis, at Gourdon harbour in 1985
Rope making with horsehair in Lochboisdale, South Uist, 1936
The Enterprise's catch being auctioned in Gourdon Harbour, 1985