Frances Wilkins, Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Elphinstone Institute, has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship
The 12 month fellowship, from January to December 2022, will enable her project, Seinn Coisrigte anns a' Ghàidhealtachd an lar agus 'sna h-Eilean Siar - Sacred Singing in the West Highlands and Western Isles.
Scotland is home to an incredible wealth and variety of sacred song traditions with unique and multi-dimensional histories. In North-West Scotland, Gaelic psalmody is recognised as a highly stylised and unique vocal tradition, and there are numerous other practices making a profound contribution to the cultural life of those living in the region. As with the Gaelic language some of these traditions are considered in steep decline, and the clear lack of ethnographic scholarship suggests an urgent need for research in this area. Drawing on recent interviews and field recordings and placing contemporary sacred singing within a historical framework, the fellowship will enable the completion of a ground-breaking ethnographic study and the curating of a public exhibition exploring sacred song traditions across Northern Scotland. Frances Wilkins has been researching the subject since 2019 with the help of a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant, and is delighted to receive this fellowship from the British Academy which will enable her to focus on the completion and publication of the research, alongside significant public engagement activities related to the project.