Centre for Scottish Studies

A Message from our Director, Leith Davis

December 16, 2021

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is drawing to a close, and what another extraordinary year it has been. Again, I am reminded of the vital role that community plays in all our lives, and how challenging it’s been for us not to be able to connect in person as much as we would have liked.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you at the Centre for Scottish Studies in-person community events, so I’m reaching out virtually to wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Although we haven’t been able to host in-person events at the Centre, I want you to know that the faculty, students and staff have been very busy behind the scenes.

I have included a brief report here to give you a few examples of what we’ve been up to in 2021 as well as a glimpse of our future projects.  

How Can You Get Involved?

We sincerely hope that 2022 will bring us the opportunity to host community events again. In the meantime, here are some ways you can continue to connect with us:

  1. Share your story for our new project on “Scottish BC Immigrant Stories”: we invite you to get in touch with us at scottish@sfu.ca if you have stories, photos or other material relevant to the story of Scots in BC that you would like to share with our community.
  2. Share your time: we have numerous oral histories, letters and other historical documents from our “Scottish Voices From the West” Oral History project and our “Scottish BC Immigrant Stories” that need transcribing in order to make them available to a wider public. If you have any time to help, please contact us at: scottish@sfu.ca.
  3. Donate to support our programs and our students: your donation goes directly to the work of the Centre and all gifts receive a tax receipt. We are so grateful for your generosity which allows us to carry on the important work we do!

We look forward to seeing you in person very soon, “if the fates allow.” In the meantime, may your season be joyous, warm and safe!

Leith Davis

Research Centre for Scottish Studies Report

2021: It Was a Very Good Year: Despite Everything!

  • In January 2021, we joined with the United Scottish Cultural Centre to host a virtual Burns Day. 500 people registered. We have just started planning for a similar event in 2022. (A big thank you to Rebecca Saloustros, our communications co-ordinator, for helping with the logistics, including the virtual spinning of the prize wheel!).
  • In April 2021, we hosted a Zoom panel on “Decolonizing Scottish Studies” featuring presentations by students and scholars both in Scotland and at SFU.
  • In Summer, 2021, we embarked on a partnership with the National Library of Scotland to digitize and analyze a rare Jacobite manuscript, “The Lyon in Mourning”. Our team of student assistants are working on both computer coding techniques and the history of the Jacobites after the Battle of Culloden in order to share the research.
  • In September 2021, I joined up with a group of musicians (Sheila Allan, Scott Alpen and Rob McGregor) at ScotFestBC to present some of the “Hidden Stories of the Jacobites” that we discovered when working with the “Lyon in Mourning” manuscript, focusing in particular on the stories and voices of women and Gaelic-speakers.
  • The David and Mary Macaree Graduate Fellowship for 2021 was awarded to Taylor Breckles. Congratulations, Taylor, and we look forward to hearing more about your project!
  • In November 2021, Dr. Ralph McLean, Curator of 18th-Century Manuscripts at the National Library of Scotland, was our featured St. Andrews and Caledonian Society lecturer, sharing his insight into how the “Lyon in Mourning” went from being hidden in the household of the Jacobite Episcopalian clergyman Robert Forbes to being a treasure of the NLS. The recorded talk is available in case you missed it.
  • In fall 2021, the Centre received a Scholarly Digitization Grant from SFU’s Library to digitize our paper records, including a collection of pipe band photographs, as well as to digitize the remaining cassette tapes from our “Scottish Voices From the West” Oral History project.
  • November saw the publication of The International Companion to Scottish Literature of the Eighteenth Century, co-edited by me and featuring essays by former David and Mary Macaree Graduate Fellowship recipients Jasreen Kaur Janjua and Emma Pink.
  • Finally, our Centre received a new official name this fall to bring it in line with other centres at Simon Fraser University. Introducing: The Research Centre for Scottish Studies!

2022, Here’s Looking at You.

As we step into the new year, we are also looking forward to continuing with our established research projects as well as exploring new projects, including: