Future burns bright via new online resource

Issued: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 09:21:00 BST

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow has launched a new website to connect the thousands of Burns enthusiasts around the world.

The website is one of the first developments from the £1.1 million funded Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant funded project, ‘ Editing Burns for the 21st Century’, which was awarded to the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies in January 2011.

The website is one strand of a much wider project to produce a multi-volume edition of Robert Burns's work and build awareness around the Bard for future generations. The project is expected to take 15 years to complete.

Professor Gerard Carruthers, co-Director of the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies, said: "With ever-increasing information and digital media at our fingertips, the new website is a place where the wider Burnsian interest group and the public, together with Glasgow University Academics, can harness the global interest in Robert Burns. We hope this will lead to further discussion of the Bard and his works; the conversation can now become very exciting."

The project team also hope the website will encourage the wider global community of Burns scholars and enthusiasts to contribute to the project by bringing fresh perspectives and new leads, as well as encourage serious discussion about the scholarly and popular treatment of Robert Burns.

The news website will initially host a range of rich and digital media including social media feeds containing information about the project and blog posts written by members of the project team.

The team are also commissioning contemporary folk artists to produce versions of Burns’s songs, released over the course of the project and freely available on the website. Recordings during 2012-13 will comprise readings from a variety of Burns’s prose works and musical renditions of some of Burns’s earliest efforts in song. A selection of songs by singer Kirsten Easdale accompanied by Gregor Lowry on the accordion are already available for visitors to the website.

The website will host regular video clips from the project’s Youtube channel, ranging from interviews with the project team and editors, to clips from the many project-related events that are currently being organised. The first such event will be a symposium held in October 2012 to commemorate the first publication of Burns’s works – the ‘Kilmarnock Edition’ (1796).

Currently, the website is showcasing an exclusive online feature, entitled ‘Robert Burns and Death’, to coincide with the death of the Bard, on the 21 July 1796. Visitors to the site are invited to share some of Robert Burns’s own thoughts on death from his poetry and correspondence, as well as some interesting facts and images regarding Burns’s illness, the events leading up to his death, the fascinating and unusual treatment of the bard’s remains by the Victorians.

You can access the website at: http://www.gla.ac.uk/burnsc21

Notes for editors:

Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, was born in Alloway in 1759. A farmer's son, he rose to literary prominence in 1786 with the first collection of his poetry, which came to be known as the Kilmarnock edition. He died young, at the age of thirty-seven, but his legacy endures.

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies was established in July 2007. Its mission is the development of research, scholarship and teaching in the area of Robert Burns, his cultural period and related literature.

The aims of the Centre are:

  • to lead the development and coordination of research of excellence related to Robert Burns both in the UK and beyond; 
  • to encourage Robert Burns Studies through publications, seminar series, colloquia, conferences, performance events and other meetings both in the UK and internationally;
  • to foster links with other institutions working in the area of Robert Burns Studies and housing significant collections of Burns material;
  • to establish and maintain a centre of excellence in postgraduate studies and early career research;
  • to broaden interest in Robert Burns Studies by inviting visiting lecturers and by encouraging academic and student exchanges both within the UK and globally. 

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