Welcome to Celtic and Scottish Studies, the longest established Celtic department in Scotland, and home of the School of Scottish Studies Archives. With a multidisciplinary approach we offer languages and literatures, ethnology and culture, traditional arts (music, dance and storytelling) and performance.
Our past, our present and our future
Celtic & Scottish Studies is situated at 50 George Square in the heart of the University of Edinburgh's Central Area on the fringe of the city’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The department was formed in 2001 as the result of a merger between the Department of Celtic and the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh. The study of Celtic at the University goes back to 1882, making us the longest established Celtic department in Scotland, while the School of Scottish Studies was founded in 1951 to collect, archive and promote the cultural traditions of the nation.
Today, we deliver teaching and supervision across a broad range of specialist areas and are committed to excellence in research and publication. We also play a highly visible public role, ranging from advising government and other bodies on language issues involving Gaelic at all levels, to developing and supporting public and community engagement with the traditional arts in Scotland and beyond.
Archives & Libraries
The Archive is actively growing, and now contains approximately 12,000 hours of audio field recordings and the same number of prints and slides as well as manuscripts and commercial recordings. Two on-site libraries, one dedicated to Scottish Studies and the other to Celtic, combine to provide an unrivalled research collection relating to the study of our disciplines, and the collections are further complemented by the Scottish Place-Name Survey and material relating to the Linguistic Survey of Scotland. With the extensive resources of the National Library of Scotland and the National Museums Scotland within a short walk, we provide the ideal setting for teaching and research relating to Celtic & Scottish Studies.
Research and publications
In recent years, we have attracted significant external funding for a number of digitisation and research projects. Awards totalling around £3.5 million have been secured from the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scotland Inheritance Fund to develop our key research areas.
The department is highly active in the publishing of material relevant to the study of culture and tradition within Scotland, producing the academic journal, Scottish Studies, the archive-based journal Tocher, and the Scottish Tradition series (CD/LP) in partnership with the commercial recording company, Greentrax Recordings.
We host the European Ethnological Research Centre whose primary focus is the promotion of research into Scottish life and society. The centre produces a large number of publications for educational and general markets, including the journal, Review of Scottish Culture, the oral history Flashbacks series, original source material in the Sources in Local History series, and it is nearing the completion of the 14 volume book series, Scottish Life and Society: a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology.
Traditional Artist in Residence
A further recent initiative has been the establishing of a Traditional Artist in Residence scheme, in which performers from within the traditional arts in Scotland work with staff and students on a range of projects and performances, and conduct research which often derives from, and contributes to, the archival holdings. Our current Traditional Artist in Residence is Mike Vass.
- Video: Meet our Traditional Artist in Residence video Nov 2019
- We chat to Mike Vass about coming of age in Edinburgh’s traditional music session scene and his current role searching for treasures in the School of Scottish Studies Archives.
One of our key activities, of course, is the delivery of teaching at all levels from first year undergraduate to PhD. Three main undergraduate programmes are offered in Celtic, Scottish Ethnology and Scottish Studies, and these can also be taken with a range of other disciplines to form combined degrees. We have postgraduate taught and research programmes and our new MSc in Traditional Arts Performance is a world first!
Celtic & Scottish Studies is vibrant, friendly and welcoming with a great deal to offer students, researchers, performers and the wider public.
We host a weekly public seminar series, several annual lectures and conferences plus a selection of exciting performance events throughout the year.
Do pay us a visit.