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Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Traditional arts, languages and culture in Scotland

Opportunity: PhD-level Research Assistant with Celtic & Scottish Studies and Creative Informatics – Summer 2021



Dr Lori Watson is looking for a research assistant to contribute to a pilot project developing a new collection/archive of music composed by traditional musicians in Scotland. The post is for 56 hours during July-August 2021 paid at the UoE Grade 6.1 £15.52 p/h plus holiday pay and is funded by the Creative Informatics PhD Research Assistant fund.

Since the 1990s there has been a significant increase in the creation of larger-scale composition by traditional musicians in Scotland facilitated by commissioning strands such as Celtic Connections’ New Voices and the Distil Showcase. Working with Dr Lori Watson, Celtic & Scottish Studies, you will contribute to the expansion and development of an existing database of innovative instrumental compositions, performers, composers and facilitators, and carry out research and analysis concerning an initial cross-section of composers and their works.


Activities can include:
  • Communication with composers and performers via email and e.g. SurveyMonkey
  • Compiling survey results
  • Carrying out literature searches
  • Compiling scores and transcriptions in Sibelius, Word and PDF
  • Compiling audio recordings in WAV and MP3
  • Editing the draft database
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Preparation of summary report


The applicant should:
  • Be a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh
  • Hold a degree in music, cultural studies, heritage or similar
  • Have experience of traditional music in Scotland and/or ethnomusicology and/or music notation and/or archives and collections
  • Have the ability to apply relevant knowledge, skills and techniques in research
  • Have the ability to work independently and on schedule
  • Have the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing



To apply, please send a CV and a cover letter outlining relevant experience, how your skills would contribute to the project and how this role would benefit your development to

The closing date is 30th June 2021 (midnight).

Dr Lori Watson

I currently combine a busy teaching schedule with groundbreaking research and creative and performance work to fulfil my expansive interest in Scottish music and culture. I hold the first artistic research and ethnomusicology doctorate in Scotland and I am a leading Traditional musician and experienced performer.

I have an array of education experience in community and HE settings and hold a PGCert in Learning and Teaching, with special interests in performance, assessment and mental health.

A fiddle player, singer and interpreter of Scots and traditional song, I compose instrumental music, songs and innovative works. I grew up in the Scottish Borders and continue to draw on the landscapes, people, literature, folklore, music and traditions of the area.

Having contributed to the programme review of the BMus Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, with an emphasis on performance assessment, research skills and professional skills, I was invited to design Celtic & Scottish Studies’ new MSc Traditional Arts Performance programme in 2019 (the first performance programme connected to the world-renowned School of Scottish Studies and the first to combine the three main traditional arts: music, storytelling and dance).

I am a keen fieldworker and have a strong interest in how we can contribute to and develop archives for the modern age.

Celtic & Scottish Studies

The University of Edinburgh’s Celtic and Scottish Studies is the longest established Celtic department in Scotland, and home of the School of Scottish Studies Archives. With a multidisciplinary approach, we offer languages and literatures, ethnology and culture, traditional arts (music, dance and storytelling) and performance.

The department was formed in 2001 as the result of a merger between the Department of Celtic and the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh. The study of Celtic at the University goes back to 1882, making us the longest established Celtic department in Scotland, while the School of Scottish Studies was founded in 1951 to collect, archive and promote the cultural traditions of the nation.

Today, we deliver teaching and supervision across a broad range of specialist areas and are committed to excellence in research and publication. We also play a highly visible public role, ranging from advising government and other bodies on language issues involving Gaelic at all levels, to developing and supporting public and community engagement with the traditional arts in Scotland and beyond.

The Archive is actively growing, and now contains approximately 12,000 hours of audio field recordings and the same number of prints and slides as well as manuscripts and commercial recordings. Two on-site libraries, one dedicated to Scottish Studies and the other to Celtic, combine to provide an unrivalled research collection relating to the study of our disciplines, and the collections are further complemented by the Scottish Place-Name Survey and material relating to the Linguistic Survey of Scotland. With the extensive resources of the National Library of Scotland and the National Museums Scotland within a short walk, we provide the ideal setting for teaching and research relating to Celtic & Scottish Studies.

Creative Informatics

The Creative Industries have been defined by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”. Specifically, these include: advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts; product design, graphic design and fashion design; film, TV, video, radio and photography;  IT, software, video games and computer services; publishing and translation; museums, galleries and libraries;  and music, performing arts, visual arts and cultural education.  Edinburgh’s  Creative Industries cluster has a vibrant creative and technology culture and is characterised by proactive networks across the high growth data/tech industry, a lively design and advertising sector, the largest concentration of major festivals in the world, and the highest cultural employment in the UK.

Creative Informatics is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, CodeBase and Creative Edinburgh, funded by the AHRC Creative Industries Clusters Programme, with support from the Scottish Funding Council and the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The project aims to grow Edinburgh’s Creative Industries cluster, by increasing the number of existing businesses and creative entrepreneurs who can confidently innovate with data, thus building a cluster in which creatives across the sector are in the driving seat of Data-Driven Innovation (DDI).



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