The Elphinstone Institute produces 'internationally excellent research in areas of Ethnomusicology/Folklore, where the Institution has a well-established presence; the unit's profile in this area is predominantly internationally and nationally recognised'. —Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2014
Ongoing Institute research is centred around the analysis of vernacular cultural practice in the North and North-East of Scotland, though it also reaches out to cognate cultures across Europe and North America. Using collaborative ethnography, and drawing on European and North American traditions of scholarship in Ethnology, Folklore, and Ethnomusicology, we aim to explore the meaning and function of narrative, custom and belief, vernacular performance traditions, music and song, and occupational lore in everyday life.
The Institute’s research strengths include music, ballad and song (Scots and Gaelic), immigrant narrative, Scottish Traveller traditions, and vernacular performance, though our range is wide and diverse. View a selection of completed dissertation topics.
Staff and students research, write, and publish in a diverse array of subjects and geographic areas, publishing in refereed journals and in monograph form. All of our students, from Taught MLitt to PhD, undertake original field research, which is added to the Elphinstone Institute Archives. The archives will serve as a resource for scholars around the world with the launch of our new database currently under development.
The Institute recently published the first book from the re-launched Aberdeen University Press, Taking Part in Music, and runs its own Occasional Publications Series, as well as working in partnership with other university presses.
Please follow the links to the left to find out more about the specific projects being undertaken by researchers at the Elphinstone Institute.