Phase 3 Margaret Jones Bequest (2010-19)

Phase 3 Margaret Jones Bequest (2010-19)

Phase Three, 2010-19

Funded by a generous private bequest, RIISS supported three central stands of activity. The Burgh Records Project is ongoing. Also funded were The Catholic Memory Project and United Islands? Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution. Staff also organised and hosted a podcast on the history of the University of Aberdeen


525 Years in the Pursuit of Truth: A New History of the University of Aberdeen

This podcast series was devised and hosted by Dr Bradford Bow and Professor Michael Brown. It showcased colleagues from across the University giving talks on the history of the University. Marking the 525th year since the foundation of King’s College, it takes listeners through to the current day, highlighting central figures and moments in the institution’s voyage through the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Age of Empire and the World Wars. The podcast can be found on Spotify and Apple iTunes


The Catholic Memory Project

The Catholic Memory Project was conceived as a scholarly movement looking to preserve, regenerate, and raise awareness of Catholic archives around the world as key sources for global, political, and social histories.

CMP utilises an international network of scholars committed to using the archives in their own research and projects to raise this awareness, as the various archives around the world start to think about the future preservations of their collections.  Founding members at RIISS were its Director, Professor Michael Brown, and Professor Colin Barr (now University of Notre Dame).

The first project under the banner of CMP was a postdoctoral research fellowship jointly funded by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, under the leadership of Professor Kathleen Sprows Cummings.  This fellowship launched in 2019, under the title ‘Irish Religious Women in the Anglophone World, 1840-1960’, and was focused on developing a Digital Map of Irish women religious and their movements, work, and locations around the world.

In 2022, the digital map, Globalizing Profession, was launched at the Cushwa Center’s triennial Conference for the History of Women Religious.  The Globalizing Profession map draws on traditional research methods and data mining in Catholic archives in Ireland, Scotland, Rome, Australia, and the United States of America.  It also utilizes digitized newspapers from Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States; and digitized directories of Catholic Dioceses to map the global and local presence of women religious, their work, and the populations they served from 1840-1960.

This map is constantly being updated as new research is done, and any contributions to the map would be most welcomed. If you would like to see your data added to the map, please email Dr Rose Luminiello for a data template sheet in preparation for upload.


United Islands? Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution

The United Islands? network brought together a group of historical, and literary/linguistic scholars augmented by folksong collectors/performers from England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, combined with a key group of North American experts to discuss the fate of non-canonical poetry/folksong in the period 1770-1820.

Founded in 2008 and initially funded through an AHRC network grant (‘United Islands? Multi-Lingual Radical Poetry and Folksong in Britain and Ireland, 1770-1820’) the United Islands? Network was led by Drs Michael Brown, (Aberdeen), John Kirk (Queen’s University Belfast) and Andrew Noble (University of Strathclyde). This organising committee was later joined by Dr Kath Campbell (University of Edinburgh).

The networks stated aims included:

  • the creation of a four-nation interactive historical narrative, 1770-1820, to supplement and amend current Anglo-centrically integrative narratives.
  • the examination of the central role of radical poetry, emphasising bardism, in order to produce a comparative study of the genesis and evolution of Irish, Scottish, Welsh modernising nationalism as antidotes to the reactionary Hanoverian state.
  • accounting for the effects of governmental legislation and censorship on the publication and distribution of radical poetry and explore the extent of governmental promotion of anti-radical, often parodical, loyalist poetry.
  • revaluing the complex relations between canonical and non-canonical poetry.
  • considering the capacity of poetry and song to supply documentation for historians

United Islands? held three interdisciplinary symposia (held in Queen’s University Belfast on 13-15 November 2008 and 26-29 August 2009 and at RIISS on 18-20 April 2015).

United Islands? also founded the Pickering & Chatto book series, Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution, which is now carried by Routledge. It has published nine volumes to date.