Kaye McAlpine

Teaching fellow and Tutor


Brought up in the Lothians, Kaye McAlpine attended Linlithgow Academy, before going on to study English Studies with Scottish Literature at the University of Stirling. What was intended as a four year sojourn extended into nine years, during which she gained an MPhil in Publishing Studies and her PhD, although her PhD advisor was Dr Emily Lyle of the University of Edinburgh.

She left full-time academia, having established a media company which focused on short documentaries and new talent.  From 2000-2010, she continued to publish academic articles and co-edited a Scottish Text Society volume which presented the two ballad manuscripts of Amelia and Jane Harris in parallel for the the first time, as well as editing and contributing to non-academic publications and guides. 


In 2011, she returned to academia, as a research fellow on the long-running ‘Walter Scott Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' Project, and has tutored and lectured on various Scottish Studies courses since then, including 'Scotland and Orality', 'Creating Scotland' and 'Visualising Scotland'. She has been course organiser for 'Scotland and Orality' and 'Conceptualising Scotland', and is currently a teaching fellow within the department.


She is part of the Reiving and Bereaving group, which promotes traditional ballads and the associated culture and history, and was Secretary of the Traditional Cosmology Society for many years.


Research summary

Dr McAlpine’s primary field of interest is in the social history and belief systems presented in traditional Scottish ballads, with a current focus on those containing accounts of reiving along the Anglo-Scottish Border. This includes aspects of landscape and memory, history and early fieldworking accounts. She is also committed to developing outreach projects, online and in real-time, which promote traditional ballads.

Current research interests

She is currently developing outreach projects, and in addition, continues her interest in the presentation of history in specific traditional ballads. She is also investigating the forms of storytelling, forms of identity, and recounting information within a modern form of community, specifically that of guilds in MMOs.

Past research interests

Most recently, she created the content for the education site which supports the ongoing 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' project, including a map of relevant ballad locations. Previous fields of research have included fair dates printed in ephemera, particularly almanacs, and supra narrative formulaic language used in ballads, as developed by Flemming Andersen.

Knowledge exchange

As the co-author of  the 'Reiving and Bereaving' events , she ensures that these are structured to promote engagement with the content of traditional ballads by  audiences of different ages. The aim is to promote awareness and engagement with the subject matter, from both a local and national cultural perspective. She is also a contributor to the occasional blog 'Promenades and Peregrinations', which aims to highight more curious aspects of Scotland's antiquarian history :