Heriot Watt University

News Archive

The IRC's Dr Raquel de Pedro Ricoy is working on an AHRC-funded project with Prof. Rosaleen Howard (Newcastle University) and Dr Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), in partnership with the Indigenous Languages Office of the Ministry of Culture and the rural development agency SER, researching new state sponsored initiatives to facilitate better communication between the Spanish speaking majority, and speakers of the many Amerindian languages of the Andean highlands and the Amazon basin. In August she spent two weeks in the high jungle town of Quillabamba (near Cusco) where the Ministry of Culture was running a training course for speakers of indigenous languages. Read more here (p. 5).

The IRC's Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith was a speaker at an international symposium on The Role of Living Culture in Identities and Sustainable Community Development, held at Summerhall in Edinburgh on 4 November 2015. This symposium offered a platform for Scotland to showcase itself, not only through the ICH performances of delegates, but also as a leader in ICH theory and practice. A major focus of the debate was on human rights and heritage in multicultural development contexts. Watch the proceedings of the morning and afternoon sessions on YouTube.

A research report commissioned by Foras na Gaeilge, on New Speakers of Irish, was launched in Dublin on 30 October 2015 by the Irish Language Commissioner. Written by the IRC's Prof. Bernie O'Rourke in collaboration with Dr John Walsh and Dr Hugh Roland at the National University of Ireland, Galway, the report brings analyses data collected during 2012-2015 under various themes: (a) sociolinguistic background (b) motivation (c) competence (d) use (e) ideologies regarding the Gaeltacht and (f) opinions regarding language policy. The report, which is based on research as part of the COST European research network 'New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges'. concludes with a set of recommendations for language policy in Ireland.

Professors Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel of Heriot-Watt's Intercultural Research Centre, in association with Professor William Logan of Deakin University, Melbourne, have produced a comprehensive, state-of-the-art interdisciplinary reference work for the study of cultural heritage, published in Wiley-Blackwell's prestigious Companion series.

A Companion to Heritage Studies covers the key themes of research and practice, including cultural preservation, environmental protection, world heritage and tourism, ethics, and human rights. Accessibly organized into a substantial framework-setting essay by the editors followed by three sections on expanding, using and abusing, and recasting heritage, it provides a cutting-edge guide to emerging trends in the field that is global in scope, cross-cultural in focus and critical in approach. The Companion features 37 contributions written by an international array of 44 leading scholars from 5 continents, including some with extensive experience in heritage practice through UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS, and national heritage systems.

The book was launched in Edinburgh's New Club on Friday, 23 October 2015, in the course of Our National Future: Creativity & Creative Industries, an event organised by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Fellows' Media, Creative Industries, Culture & Heritage Network. Launching the Companion, RSA Scotland and MCICH Network Founder Chairman Ann Packard said:

This book is global, diverse in content, easily accessible chapter by chapter, deals with both the tangible and intangible and above all is interdisciplinary, interdisciplinarity being at the heart of the RSA. It should be a welcome resource for all who value culture and heritage, irrespective of their discipline and whether a politician, a policy maker or a planner. It is for the lay reader as much as the heritage professional.

Intangible Cultural Heritage - why should we care? Listen to Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith's TEDx talk.

The IRC's Prof. Chris Tinker was one of the organisers (with Jonathan Ervine, Bangor, and Hugh Dauncey, Newcastle, of FMRG24 Videogames (#fmrg24), a conference  which was held on 23 October 2015 at the University of Newcastle. The academic study of French video games and videogaming arguably remains underdeveloped, especially in the UK and the US, and this conference contributed to a focus on French and Francophone video games as 'popular cultural' artefacts and practice.

On High Seas, written by the IRC's Dr Ashvin Devasundaram and performed with Infinite Realms, is the first intercultural musical fusion featuring the Bela Baharr - a unique Indian classical instrument recently invented by Naviin Gandharv.The new MSc in Cultural Resource Management is now up and running.

The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, based at the IRC, is now available in JSTOR Arts & Sciences.

Dr Ashvin Devasundaram delivered the 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture, 2015, entitled Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India's New Independent Cinema, on Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 6:30 PM at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF.

From 22-25 June 2015, members of the IRC participated in the congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) in Zagreb. The theme for 2015 was “Utopias–Realities–Heritages”, and the IRC team contributed significantly to the debate, not just by the usual conference activities of presenting papers and chairing panels. Dr Kerstin Pfeiffer has been elected as secretary of the new SIEF Working Group on "Body, Emotions, and Senses", and Vitalija Stepušaitytė was selected to join the closing roundtable as an inspiring young researcher. A full report is available here.

GERMANS IN BRITAIN is a touring exhibition created by the Migration Museum Project, which will be on display at the National Records of Scotland, 6 July - 7 August 2015. The exhibition is brought to Edinburgh on the initiative of Heriot-Watt's Intercultural Research Centre, and with the generous support of the German Consulate-General Edinburgh and the National Records of Scotland.

Congratulations to: IRC postgraduate member Ashvin Devasundaram on receiving his PhD, and associate member Nandini Sen Roy on passing her viva at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main

On 4 June 2015, the IRC featured in Heriot-Watt's 'Thought Leadership Series', hosted by the School of Management and Languages, with a panel on Can Scotland play a leading role in redefining Heritage?

Congratulations to Drs Bernadette O'Rourke and Christopher Tinker, who have been promoted to Professorships.

Dr Kate Sang, Dr Rebecca Finkel (Queen Margaret University) and Steven Glasgow are guest editing a special issue of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity: An international journal. The issue examines the representation and (re)production of organisational life in popular culture. There is a call for papers (deadline 8th January 2016), submissions are welcome in English, German, Greek, Thai and other languages may be accommodated. More information can be found here.

Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith has been appointed Visiting Professor in Social Sciences at Ulster University. She will be attached to the Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Communication / Institute for Research in Social Sciences, based on the university's campi at Jordanstown and Magee, initially from 1 May 2015 to 30 April 2017.

IRC Associate Member Dr Philip McDermott (Ulster University) was working at our Edinburgh campus during May 2015. With funding from the Royal Irish Academy, he is researching Linguistic Tradition, Policy and Identity in Scotland and Northern Ireland: A comparison of Scots and Ulster-Scots. In light of recent political developments, the project investigates the status of Scots in Scotland and the contiguous Ulster-Scots tongue in Northern Ireland. The research considers how both Scots and Ulster-Scots form part of the cultural fabric in their respective regions and also considers their visibility in the public space and their representation within public policy in two devolved regions of the UK. The research visit allowed Philip to consult sources in the Heriot-Watt library, and engage with other academics working in this field and with community representatives working in the area of language heritage.

Congratulations to Dr Norin Arshed, who has been awarded a grant to investigate how entrepreneurs create sustainable festivals. Festivals play an important role in the economic and social development of many small rural communities, providing opportunities for job creation and, through tourism, have a multiplier effect on local economies. Prior research indicates that while entrepreneurs are instrumental to the establishment of festivals, their role, networks and other forms of capital they leverage to initiate and sustain festivals have received scant attention. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Strathclyde, Dr Arshed will investigates how opportunities for festivals are identified, which entrepreneurs are involved and the process by which entrepreneurs interact and collaborate with others to access resources, garner support and create sustainable festivals. The project, which serves as a pilot for a larger research programme, has been awarded a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant of £9,206.

The School of Management and Languages is launching a new MSc programme in Cultural Resource Management, with a first student intake expected in autumn 2015. The programme is aligned with research carried out at the IRC. More details are available here.

If you were unable to attend the recent Inaugural Lectures of IRC members, you can watch them on the HWU Lectures YouTube channel:

Professor Kevin O'Gorman: A Pharaoh, a Roman and a Monk walk into a Bar: The Origins of Hospitality (21 January 2015)

Professor Robert MacIntosh: Strategy: How to Play the Game (18 December 2014)

In January 2015, Prof. Angelelli received a commission of €55,840 by the European Union to study Public Service Translation in Cross Border Healthcare.

After 6 years of work with 22 countries as World Project Leader, Professor Angelelli's efforts paid off: ISO 13611 Standard on Community Interpreting/Interpreting in the Public Services was approved right before the new year, on 30 December 2014,as the first world standard on interpreting.

The 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. There were lively Twitter responses; for more details, see the Life in LINCS blog.

The IRC's Nandini Sen presented at paper on Other Spaces: The Lived Space of Nazma, Hamida, and Sohail from a Waste Picking Community on 3 December 2014 at Dundee University's Geography Department.

At the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship's 2014 conference, the IRC's Prof. Mike Danson delivered a paper with Dr Kathryn Burnett of UWS, progressing their joint work on entrepreneurs in island and remote rural areas and, for the second year running, were award the prize for the Best Paper in Rural Enterprise.

Prof. Kevin O'Gorman, Dr Babak Taheri, Sean Lochrie and Ross Curran attended the Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality Conference in Istanbul. Sean presented the conceptual framework for his PhD, which won "The Best Conference Paper" award. The paper was entitled: "Theoretical Perspectives on World Heritage Management: Stewardship and Stakeholders". Babak presented his work with Kevin on "Islamic Heritage Marketing: The Umrah Experience", and Ross presented a paper entitled "In Search of Authenticity: The Case of Japanese Heritage", which also won a "best paper" award.

Professor Angelelli was granted the title of Professor Emerita at San Diego State University. San Diego, California. She was also re-elected President of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association, and invited as a Symposium discussant for Dialogue interpreting in professional contexts: training stakeholders to communicate effectively with interpreters, organised by Elena Davitti and Sergio Pasquandrea at the 4th International Conference of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, University of Geneva.

In November 2014 Prof. Angelelli was invited as Visiting Scholar at Bogasichi University, Istambul, Turkey, where she gave two lectures: "New Directions in Interpreting Research" and "Minding the Gaps in Healthcare Interpreting".

 In October 2014 Prof. Angelelli, together with Prof. Yang, delivered a Keynote Address at the 10th National China Conference and International Interpreting Competition, Xiamen, China, on "From Language Testing to Interpreter Certification Testing. Fundamental Considerations in Developing and Interpreter Certification Test".

On 30 October 2014, Prof. Ullrich Kockel delivered a keynote on "Culture as a Resource for Development" at the Cultural Crossroads conference as part of Riga's year as European City of Culture.

Nicola Bermingham has been awarded a three-month internship in the Scottish Government for autumn 2014 as part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) internship scheme. The placement will be in the DG Health and Social Care in the Total Quality Unit: Analytical Services based at St. Andrew's House. The project will involve analysing qualitative data as part of the Scottish Care Experience Survey programme, which uses the views of patients to improve the quality of health services. The internship provides the opportunity not only to undertake training in qualitative data analysis but also to liaise with Scottish Government policy teams and NHS stakeholders.
Nicola is currently in the third year of her PhD and is supervised by Dr Bernadette O'Rourke and Professor Máiréad Nic Craith.

Heriot Watt's first 'Moffat Scholarship', which requires research into the lived experiences of women in Scotland's tourism industry, was awarded to Steven Glasgow (Supervisors: Dr Kate Sang and Professor Máiréad Nic Craith) for a project commencing in autumn 2014. Using qualitative methods, Steven's research seeks to understand why women comprise the majority of the workforce in this sector, but are represented mainly at lower levels where work is precarious and low paid compared to that of men. With a greater understanding of the relationship between women's paid work and their lives, the research aims to empower women by providing a setting for marginalised women to voice their experiences.

Bernadette O'Rourke has won funding from Soillse for a joint project with Wilson McLeod, University of Edinburgh, to look at the Irish community in Edinburgh who send their children to a Gaelic-medium school.

Sara Brennan and Anik Nandi were awarded scholarships to attend the prestiguous Ethnography, Language and Communication Summer School at King's College London.

Cristina Clopot has been awarded this year's Estella Canziani Post-Graduate Bursary for Research by the Folklore Society. The award supports fieldwork in Romania for her PhD.


Ashvin Devasundaram co-organised the first ever Edinburgh Just Independent Asian Film Festival (JIAFF 2014), which took place on 9-12 July 2014 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This was a not for profit event to raise awareness of wider issues, themes, realities and contexts in South Asian films. It included a special focus on human rights, social justice and gender issues. Organised under the aegis of the Just Festival, the event's ethos is to foster diversity, inclusion, intercultural and interfaith dialogue. JIAFF 2014 involved the Scottish premieres of three Indian independent films, including the landmark Ship of Theseus, listed by the Critic's Circle (UK) as one of fifteen life-changing films of all time.



The IRC's Human Ecology cluster hosted a one-day workshop entitled "Waterscape Heritages" in Edinburgh on Thursday, 3 July 2014, organised jointly with the University of Ulster's Irish and Celtic Studies Research Institute, and Learning for Sustainability Scotland. Taking the idea of waterscapes (rivers, lakes, seas and so on) as a conceptual basis, and diverse heritages (natural / cultural, tangible / intangible, and so on) as thematic threads to explore, the workshop wove together different disciplinary and artistic approaches to, and insights into, the wisdom that "sits in places" (Basso 1996). The meeting brought together researchers from the "Stories of the Sea" project at the University of Ulster, covering the coastal areas in the North of Ireland and the West of Scotland; participants of last year's "Source to Sea" workshop on the heritage of the Clyde in Glasgow; participants of the IRC's recent "Doing Things Differently" workshop, organised by the IRC with Learning for Sustainability Scotland; and others interested in exploring the idea of "Waterscape Heritages".



On 25 June 2014, Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith were invited participants at Visions Irrespective, an event exploring the future of the arts and cultural industries in post-referendum Scotland. The event was led by the RSA Fellows' Media, Creative Industries, Culture & Heritage Network and hosted by the Danish Cultural Institute in Edinburgh.


On 18 June 2014 the IRC hosted a research seminar by Prof. Vytis Čiubrinskas, Professor of Social Anthropology at Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas (Kaunas/Lithuania). Prof. Čiubrinskas talked about using ethnographic methods in social science-based migration research, illustrating his presentation with examples from his extensive experience of working with Lithuanian migrants in the UK, the USA and elsewhere.

On 6 June 2014, Máiréad Nic Craith gave an invited presentation on the significance of intangible cultural heritage in building conservation at the Institute of Historic Building Conservation's Annual School at Surgeon's Hall.

Ullrich Kockel has been appointed to the AHRC Peer Review College for the period 1 June 2014 to 31 December 2017.

On 9 April 2014, the IRC hosted a seminar entitled "Doing Things Differently: Intercultural Research and Learning for Sustainability", organised in conjunction with Learning for Sustainability Scotland.

The international working group Translating Cultural Imaginaries of Home convened at the University of Mannheim on 27-29 March 2014. Researchers from Belgium, England, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Poland and Scotland met to discuss and agree the parameters of a shared research programme. The IRC was represented by Prof. Ullrich Kockel.


The International Doctoral Training Workshop "Transformations in European Societies" convened at the University of Basel on 20-22 March 2014. PhD students from Heriot-Watt, together with students from Kudwig-Maximikian-University Munich and the universities of Basel, Graz, Copenhagen, Murcia and Tel Aviv participated in discussions and presented their work-in-progress on topics such as constructing national identity, multi-sited biographies, cultural protest and urban mythography. IRC was represented by Dr Katerina Strani.


The IRC's Ashvin I Devasundaram, in collaboration with University of Edinburgh film scholar Piyush Roy, organised a series of events related to South Asian cinema as part of the University of Edinburgh's Innovative Learning Week, 17-21 February 2014. 

A report on the COST project has appeared in the Irish Times on Wednesday, 29 January 2014.

From 28 October until 2 November 2013, the IRC's Prof. Ullrich Kockel organised a workshop on the Edinburgh campus as part of the international doctoral training programme "Transformations in European Societies". The workshop was attended by supervisors and doctoral students from the universities of Basel, Copenhagen, Graz, Munich (LMU), Murcia and Tel Aviv as well as Heriot-Watt. Further details are available here.

Presentations on their work by Mike Danson, Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad Nic Craith, Katerina Strani and Emma Hill were well received at the Annual Conference of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES) which took place at University College Cork, 1-3 September 2014.

Bernadette O'Rourke has been appointed as Publications Secretary to the executive committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL).











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