Institute of Scottish Historical Research Reading Weekend 2013

by Claire Hawes, senior postgraduate and organiser of the ISHR Reading Weekend

ISHR at Edzell Castle

ISHR visit to Edzell Castle

On 12-14 April the Institute of Scottish Historical Research held a very successful Reading Weekend at The Burn, near Edzell. The weekend  combined presentations of work from postgraduate students at all stages of their research with discussion of some of the current issues affecting the discipline of history in Scotland and beyond, and the chance for all members of the ISHR, and their guests, to get together and exchange ideas in a relaxed social setting.

ISHR MLitt Papers

M.Litt students prepare to give their papers, chaired by senior PG Claire Hawes

On Friday evening our Master’s students Piotr Potocki, Carol Bailey and Christie O’Brien shared their recent work and research plans with the audience, followed on Saturday morning by two PhD panels. Our first year students Liz Hanna and Amy Eberlin both gave excellent papers on representations of King Arthur in the Middle Ages, and Flemings in late medieval and early modern Scottish guilds respectively. This was followed by work presented by two of our more senior postgrads:  Malcolm Petrie, who talked about how the interactions between politics and public space affected Mayday demonstrations during the inter-war period, and Martyna Mirecka, who shared her insights into a case of mistaken identity regarding what has hitherto been assumed to be a statue of King John III Sobieski of Poland-Lithuania.

ISHR Reading Weekend Luke Wormald

ISHR Director Prof. Roger Mason introducing Luke Wormald of Historic Scotland

After an outing to Edzell Castle and Garden, Luke Wormald, Head of Review and Development for Historic Scotland, spoke to the institute about his organisation’s strategy for Scotland’s historic  environment, and the policy review which accompanies it, giving a fascinating insight into the workings of this important body and outlining the challenges and opportunities of engaging with history outside the academy. Our second day was rounded off in style by Darren Layne’s informed and articulate discussion of Open Access publishing, which sparked one of the most fruitful and thought-provoking debates of the weekend.  He outlined the thinking behind the recent Finch Report and facilitated a very helpful discussion around its practical implications.

Senior PG Laura Hedrick presenting her paper

Senior PG Laura Hedrick presenting her paper

Our final student panel saw three of our veteran PhD students present on their current research. Laura Hedrick began with an examination of the perception within other countries that Scots were impoverished, and the ramifications and realities of those perceptions in the period between the Reformation and the Union of Parliaments. Claire McLoughlin explored the question of who controlled Scottish trade in the early seventeenth century, and the relationship between the king, parliament and the Convention of Burghs in this context. Björn Nordgren then argued for the importance of the naval policy of Count Axel Oxenstierna to Sweden in the period 1635-43.

After lunch Dr Gordon Pentland, of the University of Edinburgh, discussed his current research on the theme of material culture and popular politics in nineteenth-century Scotland, looking at how the integration of objects, space and traditional narratives could be used by political movements to create an atmosphere of excitement which ideology alone was unlikely to generate.

Many thanks to all who contributed to making the weekend such a success!

Follow these links for more photos and the ISHR facebook group.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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