Celtic & Scottish Studies

Resources and facilities

Libraries, collections, cultural and social spaces, on campus and in the city.

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class (if taking a taught course), in the library, in the School of Scottish Studies Archives, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres


We hold the Celtic Class Library, which comprises a wide range of specialist materials, and the larger Scottish Studies Library.

Across these resources, and the Main University Library, you will find books, journals, and audio-visual material for loan.

The libraries also provide access to a multitude of digital resources for Celtic and Scottish Studies in the form of:

  • bibliographies
  • citation indexes
  • e-books and e-journals
  • digital manuscripts
  • newspapers
  • dissertations and theses
  • further audio-visual materials
  • conference proceedings

Centre for Research Collections

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections brings together:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects

The Centre's treasures include:

The Carmichael-Watson Collection

A treasure-chest of stories, songs, customs, and beliefs from the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland

The David Laing Collection 

A wide range of Scottish literary manuscripts dating from the 16th to the 19th century

The Donald MacKinnon Collection 

An extensive insight into the scholarly perspective on Scottish history and culture during the Victorian era and early 20th century

Browse the University's holdings in Celtic and Scottish Studies

The School of Scottish Studies Archives

Photo of two men with a microphone
Ailidh Dall Stiùbhart (Blind Alec Stewart) with Hamish Henderson, Sutherland, 1958. Photo by Sandy Paton

Established in 1951, the School of Scottish Studies Archives comprise extensive collections on the cultural traditions and folklore of Scotland and its people.

At their core is the ethnological fieldwork undertaken by staff and students over the past 70 years, among them Calum MacLean and Hamish Henderson, who listened to people’s stories, asked searching questions and unearthed hidden cultural gems.

The Archives contain thousands of hours of recordings of songs, music, stories, rhyme and verse in Scots, Gaelic and English, as well as in dialects now extinct.

Together with images and historic documents, these resources capture exceptional and everyday aspects of Scottish culture and heritage.

The Archives are regularly used in teaching, research and the production of new cultural work. They include:

  • a sound archive of some 33,000 recordings
  • a photographic archive containing thousands of images from the 1930s onwards
  • a film and video collection
  • a manuscript archive
  • the Scottish Place-Name Survey

  • material relating to the Linguistic Survey of Scotland

Explore the School of Scottish Studies Archives

Online resources

The Society for Folk Life Studies

Traditional Cosmology Society

Research on Language Policy and Language Planning

Calum Maclean on Wikipedia

Scottish Language Dictionaries

Dictionary of the Scots Language

Am Baile (English version)

Am Baile (Gaelic version)

Early Scottish Melodies Online

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

An Comunn Ceilteach (The Highland Society) is the University’s oldest student society and organises the city’s largest annual cèilidh.

Passionate about music, literature, song and storytelling, we regularly hold events for staff, students and visiting guests to speak, perform or present research.

We also have a Traditional Artist in Residence, a performer from within the traditional arts in Scotland who works with staff and students on a range of projects and performances.

Find a Student Society or Peer Support Group on the Edinburgh University Students' Association website

Explore what's on in Celtic and Scottish Studies

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's resources for studying literatures, languages and cultures are exceptional.

Many of them are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes.

Highlights include:

  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • National Records of Scotland
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Centre
  • Filmhouse cinema
  • The Cameo cinema
  • Traverse Theatre

In addition to the summer and winter festivals, the city has a long-established Gaelic community and a lively year-round contemporary cultural scene.

There are conversation groups for practicing Gaelic socially, fèisean for performers, and an annual festival, Seachdain na Gàidhlig.

From sessions in traditional bars, to events in the Scottish Poetry Library and Scottish Storytelling Centre, there's always something going on.

Discover more about the city's cultural resources