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Two Stirling-led projects share new arts research funding

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A page from eighteenth century Borrowers’ Register at Innerpeffray Library. Credit: Alastair Ross.

Scotland’s feminist anti-violence movement and the impact of reading habits in the eighteenth century are the focus of two Stirling-led projects sharing in £380,000 of new arts research funding.

The new three-year Applied Research Collaborative Studentships (ARCS) have been awarded through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and are supported by the Scottish Funding Council.

Seven projects across Scotland have been awarded a total of £380,000 funding. Stirling is the only institution to lead two of the projects and is a partner in a third.

The first Stirling-led project, led by Stirling’s Dr Katie Halsey, will examine library records from 1747 to 1857 to gauge how reading habits and book borrowing could affect people’s social and geographic mobility. The University of Dundee and Innerpeffray Library are the partners in the project.

The University will also lead a project which will provide an account of the development of the feminist anti-violence movement in Scotland from the 1970s onwards. Professor Karen Boyle, Director of Stirling’s Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies, will lead the project in partnership with Glasgow Women’s Library and the University of Glasgow.

Stirling is also a partner in a study of the nature of improvement in the planned settlements of rural Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, led by the University of Dundee, with Argyll Estates and Inveraray Castle.

Professor Kirstie Blair, Director of Graduate Studies at the University’s School of Arts and Humanities, said: “We’re delighted by Stirling’s success in the Applied Research Collaboration Studentships.

“Our 100 per cent success rate in these awards and in the Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Awards this year highlights the emphasis we have on developing innovative PhD projects with our external partners.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming a very strong cohort of PhD students in October.”

Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “It’s vital that we invest in developing the best research talent in our universities. The students benefitting from this £380,000 investment will be the people leading innovation and discovery in the future.

“They will be helping to create prosperity and jobs in the creative industries as well as enhancing our enjoyment of history, art, film and new media. The fact that the students will be collaborating with organisations like festivals, libraries and the National Theatre of Scotland is also very exciting.”

For more information on the studentships and how to apply, please visit

Media enquiries to: David Tripp, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 687 or

Notes for editors
Background information

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is investing around £1.5 billion of public money into further and higher education each year, SFC provides the funding that allows Scottish colleges and universities to provide opportunities for over half a million learners. Its support for university research means that every university in Scotland is carrying out world-leading research.

Applied Research Collaboration Studentships (ARCS) are supported by the SFC, which is meeting 50 per cent of the costs of each three-year studentship; the remaining 50 per cent  of costs will be met by universities. The projects that successfully bid for funding in 2015 were:

The projects involving the University of Stirling are:

  • Archiving and historicising the feminist anti-violence movement in Scotland: Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL), University of Stirling, University of Glasgow
  • Books and Borrowers, 1747 – 1857: Innepeffray Library and the History of Scottish Reading: Innerpeffray Library, University of Stirling, University of Dundee
  • Improving the Nation: investigating the principles of improvement in the new planned settlements of rural Scotland, c. 1750 – c. 1905: Inverary Castle and Argyll Estates, University of Dundee, University of Stirling


School of Arts and Humanities

We are one of the largest Schools in the University, our subject areas are renowned for international and world leading research. The School encompasses English language and literature; communications, media and culture; history and politics; philosophy; Stirling Law School and the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions. Our vibrant intellectual community is constantly enriched and renewed by the contribution of visiting scholars and practitioners.

The quality of our research has led to regular awards of research funding from the AHRC, ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Carnegie Trust, Royal Society of Edinburgh and positive results in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF):

  • First in Scotland for research impact in Communications, Cultural and Media Studies
  • First in Scotland for research publications in Law
  • Almost three quarters of research activity across the School rated either world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 100% of research environment in English rated as world-leading or internationally excellent 
  • 100% of research impact in History rated as world-leading or internationally excellent


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