Heriot Watt University

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IRC Newsletter

SIEF 2015



At the 2015 congress of the Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) in Zagreb, members of the IRC, in collaboration with colleagues from Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Slovenia, convened three panels and two workshops.


Panel on Heritage as social, economic and utopian resource (in collaboration with University of Tartu, Estonia)

Panel on Scales of home in today's Europe (part of the IRC's international research collaboration programme on Cultural Imaginaries of Home  and the SIEF Place Wisdom working group)

Panel on Realism, imaginary, and ambivalences of utopia (in collaboration with Slovenian Academy of Sciences)

Workshop on Mapping home: a place wisdom workshop (part ofthe IRC's international research collaboration programme on Cultural Imaginaries of Home and the SIEF Place Wisdom working group)

Workshop on Exploring waterscape heritages: a place wisdom workshop (part of the IRC's new Waterscape Heritages programme, initiated in July 2014, and the SIEF Place Wisdom working group)


Ethnographers' Gathering (2)

DTD12:00-3:30pm on Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus

Following the first gathering on 18 June, most people said or wrote in their feedback that it would be good to know more about what colleagues are doing and "where they're coming from" in terms of ethnographic work. At this second gathering, three colleagues – Claudia Angelelli, Robert MacIntosh and Kate Sang – will introduce their work, reflecting on their experience with different research contexts and ethnographic purposes. Where appropriate, they will also touch on one or more of the four key issues that were identified in the feedback as topics of special interest for future sessions:

• ethnographic vs. experimental approaches

• ethical dilemmas of informal material ('data') collection and participant observation

• action research - definition, purposes, key features and some examples

• key principles of ethnography (rather than just ethnographic methods)

The presentations and individual discussions will be followed by a more general exchange in which we can compare/contrast the three examples and reflect on how they relate to other colleagues' own experience of ethnography.

Attendance is free but places are limited. Please contact Prof. Ullrich Kockel for further details.

Ethnographers' Gathering (3)

Ethnography as Genre – Issues and Potentials

18 March 2015
John Coulson Building
North Foyer 16

 Following a couple of very interesting and useful meetings last year, the gatherings of ethnographers will continue in 2015.

In our first gathering, we ethnography1explored some general ideas and perspectives, and in the second one we discussed different ethnographic methods used by three of our colleagues. Our third meeting will turn the spotlight on ethnography as a genre – "writing about culture(s)".

Drawing on examples from ethnographic practice, including a current PhD project by Vitalija Stepušaitytė and work in progress by Ullrich Kockel, we explore strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of different, sometimes unconventional ways of writing academically about cultural issues: what can ethnography as a genre achieve and contribute, and where are its limits?

In the course of our explorations, we will have an opportunity to consider ethnographic vs. experimental approaches (including "morphogenetic" fieldwork and action research) and some of the ethical dilemmas arising from critical conditions of good ethnography, such as good rapport and cultural immersion.

Refreshments will be provided. Attendance is free but places are limited. You can book a place here.

If you are interested in attending, you might like to read this review of Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers in preparation.

Ethnographers' Gathering (4)

A Conversation with Tim Ingold

2:00-3:30pm on Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus

The fourth in our series of Ethnographers' Gatherings will take place in May. This event will also launch the IRC's new series of annual "research conversations".

Taking place once a year, these conversations between one of our research leaders and a key thinker in their respective field will explore topics of mutual interest, with particular focus on theory and method.

The 'conversants' will discuss a topic, or set of topics, for some 30-40 minutes, followed by time for questions from the audience, which are based on readings selected by the 'conversants' and distributed in advance. The event will conclude informally over a glass of wine.

For the first session on Wednesday, 6 May 2015, our guest will be Prof. Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen, who will be talking to the IRC's Prof. Ullrich Kockel. Their topic will be "Ethnography".

Prof. Ingold's critical and outspoken stance on ethnography and its relationship with anthropology is well known, and this is an excellent opportunity to engage in that debate.

Attendance is free but places are limited. Please register here.

For further details, please contact Prof. Ullrich Kockel.

Ethnographers' Gathering (5)

Ethical Dilemmas

2:00-3:30pm on Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, Room MBG20

The fifth in our series of Ethnographers' Gatherings will take place in January 2016. This time our discussion will focus on ethical dilemmas encountered in fieldwork and subsequent analysis. The discussion will be informed and guided by the experiences of researchers at different stages of their careers:

  • Maria Dolores Fernandes del Pozo (Doctoral Researcher [1st year]) working on human trafficking
  • Emma Hill (Doctoral Researcher [3rd year]) working with migrant and minority ethnic groups
  • Dr Katherine Lloyd (Research Associate/Early Career Researcher) reflecting on the challenge of 'co-produced' research
  • Dr Iain Black (Associate Professor) reflecting on deep participant ethnography conducted as part of the Yes campaign

For further details, please contact Prof. Ullrich Kockel.

Ethnology Crossroads

EERC LogoThe IRC's Professors Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel spoke at the Ethnology Crossroads conference, which took place at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 5 and 6 December 2014.

This conference offered an opportunity to engage in discussion about future developments in ethnology in Scotland and beyond.

More details are available here.

See Twitter responses here.


 On 23 April 2016 Prof. Bernadette O'Rourke is contributing to an event at NUI Galway celebrating multilingualism in Ireland, where she is talking about her work on New Speakers.

Download the programme.

Poles Apart?

A model for Polish community integration in Scotland

Satrosphere Science Centre, 179 Constitution St, Aberdeen, AB24 5TU

 17 November 2014, 7pm

Poles Apart

Scotland is an attractive destination for migrants from Eastern Europe. Figures showing a higher than UK average increase of East European migrants to Scotland bear this out, yet charities and councils have few resources to address this phenomenon. This public roundtable and discussion forum will draw on theoretical models and practical experience of Scotland as a prime destination for Polish migrants. Even before the recent wave of Polish migrants triggered by Poland's EU entry in 2004, Scotland had seen several waves of Polish migration since the Second World War. What have the benefits to Scottish society from these migrants been, and how well have Poles settled and integrated into Scottish society? What are the benefits of the acquisition of this new East Central European business community? How does the experience of integration reflect in community relations, and what impact does it have on economic and market forces, with Polish businesses and skilled labour joining the Scottish economy? The roundtable was invited to think how such experiences can relate to a wider European migration context.

Professor Karin Friedrich, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

Professor Andrew Blaikie (Historical Sociology, University of Aberdeen)
Professor Anne White (School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London)
Professor Máiréad Nic Craith (Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University)
Jean Urquhart (MSP Highlands and Island, Chair of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Poland)
Martin Stepek (Scottish Family Business Organisation)
Dr Marta Trzebiatowska (Sociology, University of Aberdeen)
Magda Czarnecka (Secretary of FENIKS. Counselling, Personal Development and Support Services Ltd.)

Photographic Exhibition
Neighbours - Photographs of Polish migrants in Scotland by Aberdeen-based artists Blazej Marczak

The Polish-Scottish Choir, Elphinston Institute, Aberdeen


Prof. Rebecca Kay's (Glasgow) blog about the Poles Apart event in Aberdeen is live.



This event is part of the
Linking Northern Communities

supported by the SUII


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