Although the Centre is largely project based it is a vibrant place to study Scott and offers a friendly and supportive community. All our students are encouraged to engage with the work and activities of the Centre.
In recent years events have included a textual editing symposium, focusing on Irish and Scottish critical editions and co-hosted with the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, and a two day postgraduate symposium on Scott and his contemporaries, a series of workshops on textual editing within Scotland, and a number of events organised in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh’s SWINC group (Scottish Writing in the Nineteenth Century).
In 2014 the Centre hosted the Tenth International Scott Conference: Activating the Archive, which was attended by around 90 international delegates. In 2018 staff and students from the Centre (pictured below) attended the 11th International Scott conference at Paris Sorbonne. We have also been delighted to welcome a number of Erasmus Interns from the University of Mainz to work with the Centre.
2021 was a particularly busy year for us as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of Scott’s birth with an on-line exhibition on Scott and Song, headed for the hills to think about Scott’s mindful attitude to walking in nature, and were awarded AHRC funding of nearly a million pounds for The Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott’s Poetry: Engaging New Audiences.
Check back here for forthcoming events
- 2021 - 2022
- Professor Alison Lumsden took part in film to mark the return of the manuscript of Scott’s first long narrative poem to Abbotsford as part of the Blavatnik Honresfield Collection. You can see this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSpwDgdcBK8
- Members of the Centre took part in a BARS digital event on the Work of the Centre. You can listen to this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsoRg0T5DzU
- Dr Anna Fancett spoke about her work on preparing materials for schools inspired by Scott’s poetry at the ASL Schools Conference. You can see here presentation - https://asls.org.uk/schools/conference-videos/schools-conference-2022/
- Professor Alison Lumsden and Drs Anna Fancett and Natalie Tal Harries recorded a podcast on the work of the Walter Scott Research Centre ‘From the Old Brewery’. See https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-the-old-brewery/id1598590866
- Members of the Centre gave a presentation on their work at the Uni-VERSAL History and Heritage Festival
- Professor Catherine Jones and Professor Alison Lumsden delivered talks at the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club symposium to mark the 200th anniversary of Peveril of the Peak, August 2022. See https://www.walterscottclub.com/blog/a-colloquium-on-peveril-of-the-peak-with-prof-alison-lumsden-and-prof-catherine-jones.
Head for the Hills: What we can learn from walking with Walter Scott
Scott was one of the first people to make connections between mental health issues and the restorative power of engaging with nature. The Centre is proud to partner with Scottish Mountaineering to explore the benefit of his approach today.
Under the leadership of Phd student Kate Ferrier tThe Centre is proud to work with Scottish Mountaineer Magazine and the mental health charity Black Dog Outdoors to explore how his approaches can help us to be mindful when walking in the hills today. There will be an opportunity for the public to reflect on these ideas through a series of local hill walks led by guided walk provider, Hillgoers.
You can find out more about Kate’s experience of walking with Scott on page 38 of the magazine here: https://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=6cc64c5f-a35c-4417-b0d8-65492f6fe15e
Walter Scott had a lifelong interest in collecting chapbooks, cheap, popular print items that were sold door to door and purchased from market stalls. A recent cataloguing project has revealed that his Library at Abbotsford contains thousands of these items and an RSE grant helped us explore their significance.
Their content ranges from political pamphlets to ghost stories and advice on how to find a good partner. In 2022 we launched an on-line exhibition 'From the Baskets of Travelling Pedlars' to Abbotsford: Scott's Lifelong Love of Popular Print’
You can visit the exhibition - From the Baskets of Travelling Pedlars to Abbotsford: (abdn.ac.uk)
And watch the launch event - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5kgIb_tiVk
2021 marked the 250th anniversary of Walter Scott’s birth. The Walter Scott Research Centre was delighted to be part of a national partnership led by Abbotsford, Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders, to celebrate his life, work and legacy.
Here are some of the other ways in which the Centre explored and celebrated Scott’s legacy during the Scott 250 period of celebrations.
Walter Scott and Song: Retuning the Harp of the North
Exploring ballads, opera, and theatrical and popular songs, this online exhibition showcases the University of Aberdeen’s Walter Scott collections alongside musical recordings. As a best-selling author, Walter Scott introduced Scottish traditions to audiences across the world. His writings and song collections inspired both his readers in the 1800s, and future generations of musicians.
Tune in to discover Aberdeen’s connection to the folklore of the Border Ballads, how Scottish legend was transformed into Italian opera, and the meanings contained in well-loved songs such as ‘Bonnie Dundee’.
You can view this exhibition - Walter Scott and Song: Retuning the Harp of the North · University Collections (abdn.ac.uk)
And watch the launch event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7zbmCa2O88
The University of Edinburgh hosted the 12th International Scott Conference ‘Scott at 250: History, Landscape, Environment’.
Professor Alison Lumsden delivered a plenary lecture.
- 2013 - 2019
Professor Lumsden was President of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club in 2019. View her toast to Walter Scott at the 2019 Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club Dinner.
Several of the Centre's staff and students presented papers at the Eleventh International Scott Conference at the Sorbonne
Professor Alison Lumsden and Dr Ainsley McIntosh talked on the Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott's Poetry at 'Romantic Imprints', the British Association for Romantic Studies 2015 Conference, 16-19 July 2015, Cardiff University.
Professor Lumsden delivered the annual SWINC public lecture on the topic "Repairing the Emblems of Death": Commemorating the Covenanters in Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction.
Edinburgh International Book Festival: Professor Lumsden chaired a conversation between journalist Stuart Kelly and author James Robertson to celebrate Walter Scott’s Waverley.
Great Scott! Waverley Station: In Summer 2014 staff from the Centre advised Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature as they prepared for the ’Great Scott!’ event which ran throughout October 2014 at Waverley Station. The installation and free book commemorated the 200th anniversary of the publication of Waverley. See: http://www.cityofliterature.com/great-scott-campaign/. Aspects of the installation now have a permanent home at Waverley Station.
The Open University: In August 2014 Professor Lumsden worked with the Open University to produce a film about Scott and Abbotsford for a module on Literature and Place.
Tenth International Scott Conference, Aberdeen 2014 Held in Aberdeen on 8 – 12 July 2014 the conference was on the theme Activating the Archive. It aimed to explore the richness of the Bernard C. Lloyd Collection and to celebrate its relocation to the University of Aberdeen’s new Special Collections Centre, which opened in autumn 2011. The conference also celebrated the 200th anniversary of the publication of Waverley. For information on the events that took place during the conference visit: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sll/research/walter-scott-research-centre/tenth-international-scott-conference-235.php
A selection of the papers presented at the conference has been published in Scottish Literary Review, 7 (2), Autumn/Winter 2015. The guest editor for this number was Alison Lumsden.
World Congress of Scottish Literatures, Glasgow. In July 2014 Professor Lumsden chaired a round-table discussion on textual editing for the twenty-first century at the inaugural World Congress of Scottish Literatures.
Royal Society of Edinburgh On 9 June 2014 the Centre’s co-director David Hewitt delivered the Walter Scott Prize Lecture on the topic A la Recherche du Temps Perdu: The Past in Literature from Scott to Proust. David Hewitt's RSE/Sir Walter Scott Prize Lecture paid homage to Walter Scott on the bicentenary of the publication of the first historical novel, Waverley, while also considering different kinds of past. The lecture was given on the evening when Professor Hewitt was awarded the Royal Society’s prestigious Walter Scott medal, the Society’s senior prize in the Humanities, for his contribution to Scottish literary studies and in particular for his world leading work on the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels.
The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314. A 700th Anniversary Conference, 25-26 June 2014: Professor John Morrison spoke at this event hosted by the University of Stirling and the Strathmartine Trust which took place at Forth Valley College, Drip Road, Stirling. His paper entitled Sir William Allan, Bannockburn and Scottish History examined the impact of Walter Scott on Scottish history painting using William Allan as the primary example; more specifically it considered the paradoxical development of a Unionist history painting when most of the subjects depicted earlier conflict between the partners in the Union.
Tradfest: Walter Scott and the Storytellers: Two of the Centre’s doctoral students, Anna Fancett and Lisa McKenna, took part in Edinburgh’s Tradfest speaking at the National Library of Scotland and leading a lecture and discussion on the topic of Scott and the Storytellers.
Writing the North: On 10 May 2014 the Centre’s co-director Alison Lumsden talked about The Pirate and Walter Scott’s journey to Orkney and Shetland at a public event in Shetland to mark the culmination of The University of Edinburgh’s Writing the North Project. The Centre’s input into the project involved a creative dialogue with the poet Jen Hadfield, resulting in the publication of a new poem by her inspired by Scott. This was published in Archipelagos: Poems from Writing the North. See http://www.writingthenorth.com/
La Donna Del Lago
In May 2013 The Royal Opera House staged a new production of Rossini’s La Donna Del Lago. In connection with this Professor Alison Lumsden participated in an Insights event on 2 May 2013 at the Clore Studio, The Royal Opera House.
Summerhall Historical Fiction Festival 12 – 15 April 2013
The Directors opened the Summerhall Historical Fiction Festival with a discussion of the significance of Walter Scott that drew on their experiences of editing his fiction.
The Man Who Made Scotland Radio 4 10 April 2013
In this radio programme James Naughtie argued that Sir Walter Scott is more relevant now than ever to how Scotland tells the story of itself. Professor Alison Lumsden formed part of a group of experts commenting on Scott’s significance.
- Older Events
What Are You Reading? Part 2: Textual Editing in Principle and Practice
In Autumn 2011 SWINC held a series of 3 lectures and workshops at the National Library of Scotland to introduce and discuss ideas about scholarly editing with a wider public audience. The second of these was by Professor Alison Lumsden and included a case study of the issues involved in editing The Heart of Mid-Lothian.
Several staff and students members of the Centre attended this conference. For formation about the events that took place at Wyoming visit http://www.uwyo.edu/scottconf2011/.
The Lady of the Lake Celebrates 200 Years
In May 2010 the Centre curated an exhibition to mark the bicentenary of Scott’s most influential and successful narrative poem The Lady of the Lake. Members of the Centre also participated in events to mark this occasion organised during the University’s annual Word Festival and by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies. The Lady of the Lake was hugely influential in bringing tourist to the Trossachs, in which it is set, and to reflect this, a number of events were held at Loch Katrine.
The Centre’s director, Professor Alison Lumsden, and Research Fellow, Dr Ainsley McIntosh, at Loch Katrine in the Trossachs during The Lady of the Lake celebrations in May 2010.
Textual Editing Workshops
As part of the preliminary investigation into critical edition of Walter Scott’s poetry the Centre hosted a number of textual editing workshops. These workshops, funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, were held in collaboration with the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, located at the University of Glasgow and the New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, located at the University of Edinburgh.
The first of these workshops took as its theme the treatment of Scots by nineteenth-century publishers and the issues this raises for editors. The second was on the theme of electronic edition tools and web-sites to accompany editions. At the final workshop the Aberdeen team presented the findings of their preliminary investigation and reviewed work on the other projects to date. It was agreed that this fruitful collaboration should continue.