Dr Sheila Young

Dr Sheila Young
Dr Sheila Young

Dr Sheila Young

Honorary Research Fellow

About

Biography

Sheila Young in an Honorary Research Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen. She is also qualified Inter-cultural Communications trainer and ran her own consultancy in Aberdeen for 15 years. She teaches Inter-cultural communication and Dress and Adornment on the Mlitt in Ethnology and Folklore at the University of Aberdeen.

She has presented academic papers at academic Ethnology and Folklore conferences, such as SIEF, AFS and the Nordic Ethnology Conference. She has published articles in academic journals such as Nomina, Journal of Scottish Name Studies, Folklore and Cultural Analysis, and in 2019  her first monograph Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland was published by Lexington Books.

Young worked and studied concurrently and graduated from Aberdeen University in 2009 with a 1st class Honours degree in Scottish Cultural Studies.    After having a well deserved rest for a year, she joined the Elphinstone Institute's MLitt programme in Ethnology and Folklore and then began her Phd research , which she completed in 2016.

She won the 2008  Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Essay Prize for her work on Oilfield Names and was co-winner of the Ruth Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff Prize in 2018 for contributions to British Folklore for her doctoral thesis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qualifications

  • PhD Ethnology and Folklore 
    2016 - University of Aberdeen 
    Dissertation Title: The Hen Party: Form, Meaning and Function
  • MLitt Ethnology and Folklore (audited) 
    2011 - University of Aberdeen 
  • Post-graduate Diploma Careers Guidance 
    1980 - Edinburgh Napier University 
  • MA (ord) Arts 
    1978 - University of Aberdeen 

External Memberships

Foklore Society - Member

American Folklore Society - Member

International Society for Ethnology and Folklore - Member

 

Latest Publications

  • Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland: Blackening the Bride and Decorating the Hen

    Young, S.
    Lexington Books
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland

    Young, S. M.
    Lexington Books, Lanham. Boulder. New York. London
    Books and Reports: Books
  • "Stick that in your ****ing PhD!": The dilemma of how to respond to aggressive behaviour during fieldwork

    Young, S.
    Contributions to Conferences: Papers
  • The Evolution of the Contemporary Blackening

    Young, S.
    Folklore, vol. 128, no. 3, pp. 244-270
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Role of Costuming in Two Pre-wedding Ritual for Women in Northern Scotland

    Young, S.
    Cultural Analysis, vol. 15 , no. 2, pp. 29-57
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

 

 

2018 Ruth Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff Prize for contribution to British Folklore for PhD Thesis: The Hen Party: a study of the form, meaning and function of a prenuptial ritual for women  

 

2008 Essay Prize. Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland. ‘Oil and Gas Field Names in the Central and Northern Sectors of the North Sea: their provenance, cultural influence, longevity and onshore migration’

 

 

 

 

Research

Research Overview

  • The hen party - its evolution, current form, meaning and function
  • The blackening - its evolution from the feet washing, current form, meaning and function
  • Drinking practices at hen parties
  • Marriage during the Covid pandemic - the challenges of organising a wedding during a pandemic. Changing attitudes to marriage as a result of the pandemic. 
  • Place names - oilfield names in the Northern North Sea
  • Place Names - the names of rock and ice climbs on Lochnagar in NE Scotland
  • Place names as evidence for the deer park in the Royal Forest of Drum
 

Current Research

Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland: Blackening the Bride and Decorating the Hen was published in 2019 and was based on my doctoral research into pre-wedding rituals for women in Northern Scotland. Pre-wedding rituals are surely some of the most distinctive features of Scottish cycle of life traditions, so my book will examine the form, meaning and function of these customs as they are practised today, their local and regional variations, as well as how they have evolved and how they are communicated and perpetuated. I will focus particularly on the contemporary hen party and the blackening. 

The hen party and the blackening give women the opportunity to engage in collective activities which license otherwise taboo behaviour. What impact does this have on group and individual identity, on attitudes towards the marriage and on society’s attitudes towards women? My book  goes some way towards answering these questions and helps us gain a better understanding of the social function of the traditions we see around us. Through examining the small we discover the big.  Pre-wedding rituals have much to tell us about women as they approach marriage in the twenty-first century.

As part of my PhD research into hen parties I created a typology of hen party games and activities.

I am currently researching how 'new Christmas traditions' are created. When two adults come together and create their own unique form of the Christmas festival, what are the processes that take place to achieve that? How is the 'new Christmas festival' neogiated? Are the stockings left on the end of the bed, or are they downstairs hanging over the fireplace? Do the festivities follow the same routine to the letter each year, or is there perhaps a new theme every year? Turkey and all the trimmings or beef? Who decides, and how is that decision made? Does it matter, and if so, why? 

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently teach inter-cultural communication, and dress and adornment to our Mlitt students. 

Publications

Page 1 of 1 Results 1 to 8 of 8

  • Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland: Blackening the Bride and Decorating the Hen

    Young, S.
    Lexington Books
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Prenuptial Rituals in Scotland

    Young, S. M.
    Lexington Books, Lanham. Boulder. New York. London
    Books and Reports: Books
  • "Stick that in your ****ing PhD!": The dilemma of how to respond to aggressive behaviour during fieldwork

    Young, S.
    Contributions to Conferences: Papers
  • The Evolution of the Contemporary Blackening

    Young, S.
    Folklore, vol. 128, no. 3, pp. 244-270
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Role of Costuming in Two Pre-wedding Ritual for Women in Northern Scotland

    Young, S.
    Cultural Analysis, vol. 15 , no. 2, pp. 29-57
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Eternal Ascent: An Exploratory Treatise on Mountain Route Names

    Young, S.
    The Journal of Scottish Name Studies, vol. 10, pp. 137-205
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Lochnagar Route Names

    Young, S.
    Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, vol. 201, pp. 76-85
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Oil and Gas Field Names in the Central and Northern Sectors of the North Sea: Their Provenance, Cultural Influence, Longevity and Onshore Migration

    Young, S.
    Nomina, vol. 32, pp. 75-112
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

Refine

Books and Reports

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals