Terrific Toronto!  Stirling Funding Gives Doctoral Work International Impact 

Lauren Weiss, Phd Candidate, English Studies, University of Stirling

I wish to thank the University of Stirling Faculty of Arts and Humanities for generously providing funding to support my travel to Toronto to conduct archival research on manuscript magazines in archives across the city.

My doctoral work on nineteenth-century literary societies in Glasgow uncovered a large number of mutual improvement society manuscript magazines, a previously unknown genre in the field of nineteenth-century periodical studies. My work led me to explore these materials in the archives and special collections across the country. Of the approximately 690 issues that I’ve discovered in Scottish and English archives, I estimate that approximately 75-80% of them are in manuscript. I wanted to know: did Canadian literary societies similarly find manuscripts as essential to their aims of ‘improvement’ as did their relations across the Atlantic? As a result of being awarded the Faculty of Arts Travel and Research Support Fund, I was able to make the leap, literally, to an international impact with my research.

I’m happy to report that my trip was a success: as a result of my archival research, I uncovered a largely unknown tradition of manuscript magazine production by youth groups in Ontario and New Brunswick. Unknown, in part, due to the difficulty involved in locating these materials online: most online catalogues are not set up to conduct such a detailed search for manuscripts. Being on the ground, and digging (a lot of digging!) in the archives was essential. As a result, I’ve already located evidence for possibly as many as 10 groups that produced these magazines.

In addition, I was able to meet Prof Heather Murray (Professor, Dept. of English, University of Toronto), one of the very few authorities internationally on nineteenth-century literary societies. Prof Murray was extremely helpful, and her invaluable insights and thought-provoking questions assisted me in my searches and subsequently in analysing my results. These will become part of my thesis, which I aim to publish upon completing my PhD.

Thank you, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, for your very generous support of my research!


Danel Olson, former Faculty of Arts and Humanities PhD student, has recently edited two books:

Writing Madness: The Short Works of Patrick McGrath. Lakewood, CO: Centipede Press, May 2017. Hardback.

 Writing Madness with Danel Olson

Guillermo del Toro's 'The Devil's Backbone' and 'Pan's Labyrinth': Studies in the Horror Film. Lakewood, CO: Centipede

Press, May 2016. Paperback.

(This film study was a Bram Stoker Award finalist for 2017 at the Horror Writers Association yearly meeting in Los Angeles. At the ceremony, Danel accepted two awards for Joyce Carol Oates as her emissary.

The book is sold along with the traveling museum exhibition on del Toro, "At Home with Monsters" installed at LA, Minneapolis, Toronto, and Mexico City.​) 

Faculty of Arts and Humanities PhD Student, Harry Giles, will be headlining two events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Harry Giles, PhD Student within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, will be headlining two events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  Details of events can be found here

Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Postgraduate Fund - Maxine Branagh-Miscampbell,  School Libraries in Lowland Scotland, 1750-1850

I am very grateful for funding from the Research Postgraduate Fund which has allowed me to undertake archival research at local council archives across Lowland Scotland.  I have so far visited Perth and Kinross Council Archives and Glasgow City Council Archives at the Mitchell Library to complete essential research for a forthcoming book chapter on 'The School Library and Childhood Reading in Lowland Scotland, 1750-1850' which will be published in The Edinburgh History of Reading:  A World Survey from Antiquity to Present in 2019 (eds. Mary Hammond and Jonathan Rose).  I hope to continue this work by visiting archives in St Andrews, Dundee and Stirling.

For the purposes of this book chapter, I have been looking at the role of school libraries in the period, delving into institutional records to see if, and when, importance was placed on the presence of a library for school children at various instituitions.  It has been interesting to be able to pin-point the time at which there was a recognition that children having access to a range of books was an important part of their curriculum. 

Maxine Branagh-Miscampell, Phd Student.


Stuff of Research Symposium

This week, Monday 12 June, research postgraduate Helena Markou helped organise and host the of Stuff of Research Symposium at Kelvinhall. This was the third and concluding session to the Stuff of Research conference which brought together early career researchers involved in material culture.  

University of Stirling's Daniel Massie headed-up a panel entitled Curation and Authenticity presenting his paper 'Editing a (new) path to knowledge: knowing through audio-visual making'. He was joined by Stirling's Rhona Ramsay who spoke on a panel entitled Scottish Stuff of Research presenting her paper 'Lost and Found at Auchindrain' on Gypsy/Traveller objects.

A special issue Stuff of Research newspaper was designed and produced by Helena Markou for the event to promote the material culture research being carried out across the Scottish Graduate School of Arts & Humanities. Read it now!

Stuff of Research Today

Postgraduate Conference:  Power 2017 - held on 26 May 2017

Congratulations to the organising committee behind the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Spring Conference, 'Power 2017', held on 26 May 2017 – Janine Mitchell, Mairi MacLeod, Faith Idialu, Lorraine Chiwenga and Jamie Macpherson. They put together a really intellectually exciting, coherent and stimulating day of papers. The three plenary speakers (Professor Nigel Fabb – Strathclyde, Dr Jacky Collins – Northumbria, and Dr Scott Hames – Stirling) provided a great backbone to the day, and the 27 papers delivered on the parallel panels allowed the theme of 'Power' to take off wonderfully well. There was a great buzz of enthusiasm all day, from before 9am (!) right through to 5.30pm and beyond. Many thanks to all who contributed by organising, speaking, chairing, listening, or supporting behind the scenes!



Public Engagement Training Workshop for Postgraduates

University of Stirling

Friday, 28 April 2017


University of Stirling postgraduate event organisers: third-year PhD candidate, Lauren Weiss (English Studies), and fourth-year PhD candidate, Paul Docherty (Publishing Studies)

Lauren reports:

Last Friday, students from the University of Stirling and the University of Strathclyde met for an informal, introductory workshop to discuss public engagement, impact, and communicating scholarly research to a non-academic audience.

The event began with a roundtable discussion, which included expert advice and practical tips by a highly experienced panel of speakers which included Professor Richard Haynes, Dr Alasdair Ross, Dr Susan Buckham, and second-year PhD candidate, Jill Dye.

After tea break, there was a break-out session where students divided up into groups to consider some of the practical issues in organising and participating in a public engagement event. In addition, they had the chance to practice some of the techniques suggested by our panel, who acted as mentors to the groups.

Overall, it was an informative as well as enjoyable afternoon! The small size of the workshop and relaxed atmosphere allowed for some good discussion. We’d like to take some of the really positive and constructive feedback that we received forward as we’re hoping to organise a similar workshop next autumn (watch this space!).

We wish to extend our thanks to all the participants and to our panel of experts. In addition, we are very grateful to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for all their support in putting this together, and for so generously funding our training workshop – thank you!


Kate Gould:  Women's Sexual Desire: Challenging Narratives of "Dysfunction".

Kate Gould, Phd Student across both Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities has co-written a paper, publishing in the European Psychologist, titled Women's Sexual Desire: Challenging Narratives of "Dysfunction"


Maja Brandt Andreasen, #NotAskingForIt: Rape, Discourse and Media Symposium, London

In February I was so fortunate to attend a very exciting symposium at Middlesex University in London. The symposium was entitled #NotAskingForIt: Rape, Discourse and Media which was a perfect match with my own research on rape discourses on social media. My PhD is partially funded by the AHRC who also funded my trip to London.

The symposium was a full-day event with a total of nine speakers. The keynote speech was given by Dr Nicola Henry from La Trobe University in Melbourne. She is conducting research on rape culture online from a legal studies perspective. The rest of the speakers attacked the subject from perspectives as different as linguistics, film studies, communication theory, transitional justice and media studies.

The highlight of my experience was the final talk of the day given by Professor Jessica Ringrose and Dr Kaitlynn Mendes who addressed digital feminist activism from an affect theoretical perspective.

Maja Brandt Andreasen

PhD student, CMC  

Aileen Lobban, Caribbean Panel for the Social History Society Conference

Aileen Lobban put together the first Caribbean panel for the Social History Society Conference at UCL this week.  Her paper was on "Louise Bennett: the power of poetry as social commentary".  The other two panel members, on Aileen's invitation, were Dr Henrice Altink (York University) whose paper was on "speaking out about race in pre-independent Jamaica: and Dr Kate Quinn (University of the Americas, UCL) "containing "Dread": The impact of the Prohibited and Unlawful Societies Act in Dominica".

It formed part of a 3 day conference, which had many interesting and varied panels and Aileen says the session was lively and engaging.


Daniel Massie, Doctoral Representative for SGSAH

Daniel Massie has been recently been selected as the doctoral representative for SGSAH to sit on Panel B in reviewing applications for the graduate school’s cohort development fund and will start in April.  We would like to congratulate Daniel on this achievement.


Ending Violence Against Women in Scotland: Free Public Event on 24 May 2017

As part of her SGSAH Applied Research Collaboration PhD, "Archiving and Historicising the Feminist Anti-Violence Movement in Scotland which is jointly supervised across the Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies (Stirling), Centre for Gender History (Glasgow) and Glasgow Women's Library, Jenny Wartnaby has organised a free public event on the 24th May. 

The Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies in conjunction with the Art Collection will be welcoming Professors Rebecca Emerson Dobash and Russell P. Dobash to deliver the free public lecture "Ending Violence Against Women in Scotland:  Nearly Half a Century of Action, Policy and Research" to accompany the Scottish Women's Aid Speaking Out Exhibition which will be on display in the Pathfoot Building.


Can you Handle it? Using Special Collections in Research, Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Funded Postgraduate Symposium

The above event will be held at the University of Dundee on Wednesday 17th May 2017:

"Original contribution to knowledge" is the founding principle for any PhD, and for arts and humanities students in particular, this means heading back to original sources, often into the archives.

This symposium will equip attendees with the skills and knowledge to defeat “library anxiety” in special collections by confronting the alien world of the archive reading room and talking, literally, about how to handle those documents.

It will allow researchers to approach material in a variety of repositories confidently and efficiently, safe in the knowledge that their handling of such materials won’t prevent their use by future generations.

This event is open to all arts and humanities PhD researchers at any Scottish HEI. A limited amount of SGSAH-funding is available to reimburse travel expenses.

The draft schedule is:

13:00 Participants arrive

13:10 Introductions and outline of the afternoon

13:20 Group discussion: Your experience of approaching special collections material so far.

14:00 Panel session: Addressing issues raised in the group discussion:

Chair: Erin Farley, PhD Student, University of Strathclyde and Dundee Central Library

Caroline Brown, University Archivist, University of Dundee

Beth Dumas, Rare Books Cataloguer, University of St Andrews

Jenny Wartnarby, PhD Student “Historicising & Archiving the Feminist Anti-Violence Movement in Scotland”, University of Stirling, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Women’s Library

Matt Ylitelo, PhD Student, “Hunting Whales & Making Knowledge: Dundee’s Globalisation through Trans-Maritime Whaling, 1750-1914”, University of St Andrews, University of Dundee and Dundee Heritage Trust

15:00 Refreshment Break

15:15  Physical Handling Session:  Introduction to handling rare materials of different media including rare books, vellum sheets, paper, newspapers and photographs. Led by Caroline Brown, University Archivist and Joint Assistant Director, Culture & Information, University of Dundee.

16:00 Reflection

16.30 Wine reception


Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Postgraduate Fund - Lauren Weiss

I applied to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Postgraduate fund in order to travel to Manchester to conduct essential archival research on nineteenth-century literary society magazines produced by ‘improving’ societies in the city, to compare them with those produced in Glasgow, and contextualise them within the mutual improvement movement and manuscript culture nationally.

As a result of the funding, I was able to visit Manchester Archives and Local Studies, located in the very inspiring Manchester Central Library, which house an important collection of these materials. I spent 12 days in these archives studying a large sample of the 147 manuscript magazines produced by three societies collectively during the nineteenth century: the Rusholme Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society; St. Paul's Literary and Educational Society, Bennett Street Sunday School; and the Senior Scholars’ Mutual Improvement Class of the Grosvenor Street Church and School. In addition, I had the opportunity to view some of their respective minute books, registers, scrapbooks, and various ephemera that were carefully preserved by society members.

My study of these groups of aspirational working-class and lower-middle class men (and, intermittently, women) which formed for the purpose of ‘mutual improvement’ and the magazines they produced to this end will be the first. This research will become an essential part of my doctoral thesis, ‘‘The Literary Clubs and Societies of Glasgow: A History of Reading, 1837-1914’ by allowing me to place Glasgow magazines within the larger culture of manuscript magazine production, which was a national as well an international phenomenon. In addition, I plan to make my findings available more broadly by publishing the results in a monograph after completing my PhD.

I am very grateful to the Faculty for providing me with this fantastic opportunity!

Lauren Weiss, PhD Candidate, English Studies



PhD Viva Passes 
Lorna Hill:  Literature and Languages, 9 February 2018
'Bloody Women:  A Critical-creative examination of how female protagonists have transformed contemporary Scottish and Nordic crime fiction'.
Lucy Ry-Kottoh, Literature and Languages, 8 February 2018
'Electronic book publishing in Ghana:  A Focus on Children's publications'
Shaun Wallace:  History and Politics, 8 January 2018
'Fugitive Slave Advertisements and the Rebelliousness of Enslaved People in Georgia and Maryland, 1790-1810'
Lauren Weiss, Literature and Languages, December 2017
The Literary Clubs and Societies of Glasgow during the Long Nineteenth Century:  A City's History of Reading through its Communal Reading Practices and Productions
Yifei Hao:  Literature and Languages,, 10 November 2017
"An Analysis of the Translation of Vocabulary Lists in Textbooks for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL)"
Binghua Chen:  Literature and Languages,, 10 November 2017
"A Corpus-based study of Chinese and English translation of International Economic Law:  An Interdisciplinary Study"
 Ian Garbutt: Creative Writing, 04 October 2017
"Asperger's syndrome and Fiction - Autistic Worlds and those who build them"  
Katy Jack:  History, 31 July 2017
"Decline and Fall: the earls and earldom of Mar c.1281-1513" 
Sven Outram-Leman: History, 09 July 2017
"The Nature of British Mapping of West Africa, 1749-1841" 
Ben Fanstone: History, 09 March 2017:
"The Pursuit of the 'Good Forest' in Kenya, 1890-1963:  The History of the Contested Development of State Forestry within a Colonial Settler State. 
Danel Olson: English, 01 December 2016:
"9/11 Gothic:  Trauma, Mourning and Spectrality in Novels from Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, Lynne Sharon Schwartz and Jess Walter".










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