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Women's Music in the Herring Industry

Women's Music in the Herring Industry

Learn more about Meg Hyland's research into the role of music and dance in the lives of herring gutters and packers in the British and Irish fishing industries.

About Me

Welcome to Meg Hyland‘s research blog!


Photo of a smiling white woman wearing glasses in front of an old gate


My name is Meg, and I’m a PhD candidate in Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. I’m researching the role of music in the lives of women workers in the fishing industry from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. I first got interested from this topic during my time as a volunteer at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. My goal is to learn more about why and what women sang during their time as itinerant herring gutters and packers. My research takes me to archives such as newspaper and oral history archives, and also to fishing communities where I can talk to people who used to be involved in the herring industry during its height. So far I have done research in the East Neuk, Lewis, Edinburgh, and Shetland, and I plan on doing research in Ireland, the Isle of Man, North-East Scotland, and East Anglia too.

I am originally from the USA and grew up mainly in Wisconsin. My family emigrated to Scotland in 2013 and it has been my home ever since. I’m passionate about public history, such as my personal project Women of 1000 AD. I’m also an active contributor on r/AskHistorians, the largest public history forum on the Internet. I’m disabled and chronically ill and am a proud member of the Disabled Academic Collective.


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