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Being Human Festival 2019

 We are delighted to be part of this year's Being Human Festival (14-23 November 2019), a celebration of humanities research through public engagement. This year's theme is "Discoveries and Secrets", and our contribution is entitled "Creative Ethnology: Streaming New Voices", a reference to Hamish Henderson's "carrying stream" on the centenary of his birth,

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Following last year's Sustainable Communities Heritage Festival, the IRC’s second Heritage Festival presents key findings, methodologies and perspectives of critical heritage studies from a Creative Ethnology perspective in a Scottish, European and global context. Through a series of creative workshops and other interactive-format events, our programme will showcase the growing strength and community relevance of research in the field of heritage and ethnology especially at Heriot-Watt. While raising public awareness of this work, the festival offers us a vital platform for connecting with, and actively involving, the wider constituency we are responsible to. A university widely known for its STEM profile, since 2013 Heriot-Watt has been home to the Intercultural Research Centre, a vibrant team of arts, humanities and social science researchers. The festival is integral to a strategy of embedding these disciplines more firmly in the university and raising their profile internally and externally; that strategy includes creation of a poet-in-residence in the geosciences, and development of a heritage-centred research and teaching programme, from which the idea for an annual Heritage Festival arose. The festival will involve more than a dozen researchers from Heriot-Watt together with members of the Creative Ethnology Network based at other institutions across Scotland.
This year’s festival forms part of the centenary celebrations of the Scottish ethnologist Hamish Henderson’s birth, and its title picks up on his epitaph:

Tomorrow, songs
Will flow free again, and new voices
Be borne on the carrying stream.

The key themes of the programme – community, place, connections, and well-being – link the festival to Scotland’s Year of Conversation, the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, and Heriot-Watt University’s Year of Health. The headline event, a ceilidh (“gathering”) hosted at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in conjunction with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and the Scottish Creative Ethnology Network, brings together researchers, creative artists, performers and community activists in a public ‘bring and share’-style experience. Throughout the Festival, there will be an exhibition at Heriot-Watt's Museum on the Edinburgh campus, accompanying the IRC's Virtual Museum.

More details and booking links to follow. 

Transformations in the Convent

FraueninselDuring 13-17 May 2019, the spring school of the doctoral training programme "Transformations in European Societies" took place at the Benedictine Convent on Fraueninsel, an island in the Chiemsee lake in Upper Bavaria. Some 30 PhD students and professors from six universities took part in an intensive and wide-ranging programme of workshops and other activities.

The IRC's Jos Collins gave a well-received presentation on his SGSAH-funded project about folk drama in Scotland; Alastair Mackie and Prof. Ullrich Kockel chaired sessions, and Alastair took a lead in developing the social media profile of the network. Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith gave a lecture on her forthcoming book, illustrating an interdisciplinary research process, that generated much discussion.

The tranquility of the island, where life winds down at sunset and starts with the bells summoning to morning prayer proved an ideal setting for intensive intellectual pursuits, not least because the house rules of the Convent meant internet was only available in the seminar rooms and café; mobile phone reception was poor thanks to the volatile cisalpine weather, and the particpants (mostly) enjoyed this enforced quiet time.

The autumn school will take place in Murcia, Spain, in October. 

Virtual Museum Launched

Co curators meet in Orkney

Following more than two years of working together across various islands and between both island groupings, the “New Connections Across the Northern Isles” virtual museum, assembled by people throughout Shetland and Orkney, was launched in May 2019.

'Engaged scholarship at its best'

oratorio2On St Andrew's Day 2018, the CoHERE oratorio had its well-attended world premiere at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Described by an audience member as "engaged scholarship at its best", Rivers of Our Being was composed by the Latvian ethnomusicologist Valdis Muktupāvels (Latvian Academy of Culture), and performed by an ensemble of some twenty musicians and singers (including the IRC's Naomi Harvey), conducted by ethnomusicologist Simon McKerrell (Newcastle University). The IRC's Cristina Clopot efficiently and effectively organised and managed the event, and  Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel recited thematic readings between the musical pieces

Sustainable Communities Heritage Festival 2018

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Between 31 October and 30 November 2018, we will be exploring sustainable approaches to community heritages as part of our CoHERE project. 

Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience

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The IRC's Prof. Ullrich Kockel has been invited to join the Board of the AIR, an international network that aims to increase social-ecological resilience – the co-evolution of social-human and ecological systems - through connecting and supporting locally based innovations in participating regions and countries, emphasizing new kinds of collaboration across cultures, disciplines, sectors and national borders. 

Prof. Kockel, who leads the IRC's Sustainable Communities research group, said: "I am delighted to be asked to join this global network, which is an important intercultural initiative bringing together old wisdom and new knowledge to support life-sustaining ways of being." 

The Alliance is building an international network of resilience hubs, including the Common Good Food Hub in Scotland, and is working on an interdisciplinary research and publications programme.

Read more here.