Meg Hyland

Thesis title: The Musical Cultures of Itinerant Gutters in the British and Irish Fishing Industries, c. 1850 - c. 1975


Meg Hyland is a PhD candidate in Celtic and Scottish Studies. Her research focuses on the role of music and dance in the lives of itinerant herring gutters in the British and Irish fishing industries from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. She is supervised by Will Lamb and Lori Watson.

Awards and Honours:

  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology Fieldwork Grant (2021)
  • Moray Endowment Fund award (2020)
  • McCaig Trust award (2020)
  • LLC Masters Scholarship (2018)
  • Institute of Scottish Historical Research Senior Honours Dissertation Prize (2017)
  • John Adamson Honey Prize in Mediaeval History (2017)
  • Samuel Rutherford Prize in Scottish History (2017)
  • Principal’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence (2017)
  • Connecting Scotland’s Sounds grant (2016)
  • University Scholarship for Research and Leadership (2016)
  • Abertay Student Prize in Scottish History (2016)
  • Dr Robert Mackie Prize in Scottish History (2016)
  • Mediaeval History Third Year Prize (2016)
  • Cedric Thorpe Davies Award in Music (2015)
  • James McGlashan Scott Memorial Prize in Church History (2015)
  • School of History Bookprize (2015)
  • Saltire Award for volunteering (2014)
  • Warch Scholarship (2012)
  • Wisconsin’s Academic Excellence Scholarship (2012)


  • MA (Hons) Mediaeval History, University of St Andrews, 1st class
  • MSc Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, distinction

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Member of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology
  • Member of the Disabled Academic Collective
  • Member of the Traditional Song Forum

Research summary

  • Work song
  • Musical cultures in Britain and Ireland, 19th and 20th centuries
  • Scottish fishing industry
  • Women's history in Scotland

Invited speaker

  • “Irish and Scottish Song Exchange in the Scottish Herring Industry”, As I Roved Out: Traditional Songs, Singers and Collections of Britain, Ireland and Beyond, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (2022)
  • “‘They Soon Had Us Singing in Their Language’: The Macaronic Songs of Gaelic-Speaking Herring Gutters”, Celtic and Scottish Studies Seminar, University of Edinburgh (2021)
  • “The Missing Herring Gutters in Gaelic Song Scholarship”, British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Royal Music Association Research Students’ Conference, University of Cambridge (2021)
  • “Songs of the Herring Gutters: An Overlooked Genre of Gaelic Song”, Celtic Students Conference (2020)
  • “Cross Slabs, Cists, and Cill-Names: The Early Medieval Church in the East Neuk of Fife”, Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (2019)
  • “Cross Slabs, Cists, and Cill-Names: The Early Medieval Church in the East Neuk of Fife”, Pictish Arts Society (2017)
  • “Research and engagement partnership”, Connecting Scotland’s Sounds (2016)

In the press