Past Research Projects

The Breaking of Britain

Funded by the AHRC from 2010-2013, this collaborative project involved the University of Glasgow, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, and King’s College London (including the Department of Digital Humanities). The project was concerned with the period which extends from the failure of Alexander II’s short-lived revival of a Scoto-Northumbrian realm in 1216–17 to the formal abolition of cross-border landholding by Robert I in November 1314, following his victory at Bannockburn.

The project built on the work of another project funded by the AHRC, The Paradox of Medieval Scotland (PoMS), and extended the PoMS database to 1314. It will also be linked to a new database, recording interactions between the Crown and people in the three northern counties of England from 1216 to 1307. The project also studied border chronicles as a source both for medieval perceptions of identity and fields of medieval historical interest.

The Breaking of Britain website can be found here.


Bridging the Continental Divide: neo-Latin and its cultural role in Jacobean Scotland, as seen in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637)

Bridging the Continental Divide was a project funded by the AHRC and based in the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow between August 2012 and July 2015.

The project's main aim was to produce an electronic edition of a selection of the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum huius aevi illustrium (DPS, Amsterdam, 1637), the largest anthology of Scottish neo-Latin  poetry ever produced, which was edited by the Fife laird Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit and the Aberdonian poet Arthur Johnstone.

The resource provides original scans of the entire 1,272 page text, and a full transcription and translation of 11 of the 37 poets featured within it, totalling 335 pages. Each poem features a full critical apparatus detailing all scriptural and philological references cited, historical and social context, and biographical material on each poet.

The website is open ended so that the remainder of the text not translated now can be added by scholars in the future. This resource will allow scholars to understand more fully when and why Latin was used in Jacobean Scotland, and how it interacted with the Protestant culture that dominated early modern Scottish society.

The website can be found here.


Centre for Cultural Policy Research

The Centre for Cultural Policy Research is pursuing an evaluation of the Highland 2007 Year of Culture for the Highland Council.

Visit the Centre for Cultural Policy Research website.


A Companion to Recent Scottish Music, 1950 to the present

A Companion to Recent Scottish Music, 1950 to the present is a Carnegie Trust-sponsored project involving researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Napier and Kingston.  

The resulting volume will be published by Musica Scotica Trust.

Read a pdf about the project [10mb PDF]


The expansion and contraction of Gaelic in medieval Scotland: the onomastic evidence

Another AHRC-funded endeavour, this place-names project explores how Gaelic expanded from Argyll into eastern and southern Scotland in the early middle ages and receded from these areas by 1500.

The project team is led by Professor Thomas Clancy (Celtic and Gaelic), with Dr. Simon Taylor as lead researcher, Gilbert Markus as research assistant and doctoral student Peter McNiven.

The final volume of this project is currently in press and due out in 2017.

More information on the project can be found here.


The Transformation of Gaelic Scotland in the twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

The Leverhulme Trust funded a three-year project (2013-2016) called ‘The Transformation of Gaelic Scotland in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’. The project team included Prof Dauvit Broun and Dr Matthew Hammond of the University of Glasgow School of Humanities and Mr John Bradley and Dr Cornell Jackson of Kings College London Department of Digital Humanities. This project provided for the mapping facilities now available on the website (thanks to Neil Jakeman) as well as exploratory research on using Social Network Analysis on the PoMS database.

Social Network Analysis is an interdisciplinary bundle of methods, techniques and concepts taken from matrix algebra, graph theory, and decades of sociological and anthropological research. The work conducted by this project marks the first time SNA has been applied to medieval society on such a large canvas. We hope that our findings will provide the disciplines of medieval history and digital humanities with new models, methods and ideas. In particular, our results offer insight into both exciting possibilities and perplexing challenges stemming from the application of SNA methods to a large-scale digital prosopographical database which has been carefully designed to represent the social context of documentary production.

More information on the project can be found on the website, here.


The Paradox of Medieval Scotland: social relationships and identities before the Wars of Independence

This AHRC-funded three-year project ran from 2007-2010 and was led by Professor Dauvit Broun (History) in collaboration with Professor Robeard O'Maolalaigh (Celtic and Gaelic), and Professor David Carpenter of King's College London. The team ibuilt a prosopographical database of 11th and 12th century Scotland based on charter evidence.

By reconstructing a picture of Scottish society before the wars of independence, this project sought to explain why and how Scotland became a self-conscious nation of Scots at the same time as it experienced extensive English settlement through Anglo-Norman immigration.

The website can be found here.


School curriculum reform and the Scottish War of Independence: A Collaboration between Education Scotland and the University of Glasgow

People of Medieval Scotland was produced through a partnership between Education Scotland and the University of Glasgow, and includes contemporary academic research on this topic. It is made up of 32 extensive resources on a range of topics focused on the lives of ordinary people in Scotland during medieval times. This material is for practitioners working with children and young people across the broad general education. It could also be used to support learners researching National 4 Added Value Units and National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher assignments. It is designed to improve the teaching of medieval Scottish history to children and young people. Specifically, the resource aims to make this complex topic more accessible to younger children.

The 32 downloadable resources provide source information for practitioners and the learning journeys include innovative teaching suggestions. These can be found here.


The Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website

The Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website seeks to promote an appreciation for surviving Gothic monuments in Scotland.

Visit the Scottish Gothic Churches and Abbeys website.


The People's Voice: Scottish Political Poetry, Song, and the Franchise

The People’s Voice: Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise, 1832-1914 has been funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland from 2016-2018. This project unearths the wealth of political poetry found in the Scottish popular press, and uses its to analyse the roles that poetry and song played in the extensions of the electoral franchise in 1832, 1867-8, 1884 and 1918.

More information can be found here.


Political Petitioning and Public Engagement in Early Modern Scotland, Britain and Northern Europe 1550-1795

Two research workshops at Glasgow University 
Friday 28 April and Friday 15 Sept 2017

These two workshops have now been granted financial support from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and have also attracted the interest of the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament. We have undertaken to examine political petitioning from both a historical and a contemporary modern perspective, deliberately using modern political and social concepts to throw new light on a major historical issue: the origins of political petitioning, who used them for what purpose(s), and how early modern processes of petitioning relied on shared 'public' assumptions about social and political responsibilities and duties.

The first workshop will examine normal petitioning practices and language in different contexts, while the second will build on this by demonstrating areas of innovation in political petitioning and political activism through case studies. Each workshop will feature at least five papers, with detailed discussion and a round-table summing up. The second workshop also will host a postgraduate poster session where doctoral researchers will share their findings with the aid of travel bursaries.

More information on these workshops can be found here.