InterTrainE Newsletter: May 2020

Welcome to the fourth newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Intercultural Training for Educators (InterTrainE). The 26-month project (2018-2020) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

InterTrainE includes 7 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Italy and Greece) and aims to develop an intercultural training programme for educators teaching adult migrants.

The partners are:

Specifically, the project is developing a modularised training curriculum with qualification standards specialised for Adult Education.

It will also produce a handbook for trainers including a theoretical framework of basic concepts, learning outcomes and the training package itself which will include practical exercises and, where possible, case studies.

All the training materials will be uploaded to a publicly accessible Moodle platform, which will be accessed via our website.

Covid-19 impact on our project

These last few months have certainly been different and difficult for many of us. Many aspects of our work and our lives have changed as we are being affected in ways we could not imagine.

In light of the rapidly changing situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, the team decided that our Joint Staff Training Event which was due to take place on 04-08 May 2020 in Rethymno, Greece, had to be postponed. 

If circumstances allow it, we will reschedule for some time in autumn 2020 or winter 2021.

We hope we will be able to organise our Training Event in Rethymno in the near future.
Our flyers are ready and waiting for our JSTE … 🙁

Our 4th project meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions

With the help of technology, we were able to hold an online partners’ meeting on the 18th of May instead of our planned one in Crete. We discussed the current and next stages of the project and made sure that everyone is all right and coping with the situation at the moment. The meeting agenda can be found here.

During this online meeting, the team – joined by our external evaluator, Dr. Jim Crowther – discussed the impact of Covid-19 on our project, the communications between our coordinator and the National Agency and an eventual request for our project’s extension. This would allow us to carry out our Joint Staff Training Event and Multiplier Events in the future, hopefully once the situation with Covid-19 will be clearer.


  • Our teams have completed our Curriculum development on intercultural education and training for Adult educators, which was developed based on O1 and O2 results, and our Intellectual Outputs 5 and 6, the Training guide for adult educators and the course syllabus with final material and useful information and tips will be made available to Adult educators and all interested parties. We also submitted a further progress report to the funder in April 2020, and we are awaiting the results and any recommendations.
  • We are now working on our Output 4, the learning materials for our online platform. The objective is to elaborate a set of sample training materials organised in modules and divided into topics. We are working on the development of the MOOC, where the training materials will be uploaded and adapted.
  • Our  External Evaluator, Dr Jim Crowther gave us his comments and evaluation of our overall progress and we were happy to confirm that our work runs smoothly despite all the difficulties we face. We are very grateful to our external evaluator for his feedback and guidance so far. His expertise and engagement with the project are invaluable.

You can find all our completed outputs (IO1, IO2, IO3, IO5, IO6) on our website:

Remember that our website and our outputs are available in all project languages: English, Italian, Greek and Finnish.

The InterTrainE Moodle platform

During our meeting, our Finnish partner also showed us the Moodle platform and we discussed the final stages of Intellectual Output 4 – the online course. Finally, we discussed the outputs’ evaluation and peer reviewing process.

LFI colleagues taking us through the comprehensive Moodle platform and through all the features

In the meantime, and as we all await developments on current circumstances, the InterTrainE partners have been busy getting used to working from home and still trying to engage with our audiences. We are continuing our research activities and development of material from home or from the workplace for those of us who are allowed to do so!

Chrysi from Creative Learning Programmes (CLP) working from home in the UK
Katerina (the coordinator) from Heriot-Watt University working from home in the UK.

Monica from Studio Risorse back in her office in Matera, Italy!
Babis and Dimitra from KEKAPER back in their office in Rethymno, Crete !

We are very excited and looking forward to presenting our platform soon, as online education has a more crucial role than ever before to support and connect learning communities. Stay tuned and check out our activities on our website:   http://intertraine/eu

Online resources accessible now

While you are anxiously waiting for our updates (😊 😊), you can have a look at these online resources and tools for learners, teachers and educators during the outbreak of COVID-19 provided by EU-funded projects:

If you are an educator, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe- has just opened a call for #AdultLearning community to share their stories. 

Why not share yours at ?

Stay safe, everyone!

Project website and social media accounts

Our project website includes information and updates on our project, as well as all Intellectual Outputs to date. The website is available in all partner languages – English, Greek, Italian and Finnish.

Updates are published regularly on social media. To make sure you don’t miss out:

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Research Gate  

Our next newsletter will be out in Autumn 2020, so stay tuned!


For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS


Tel: +44 131 451 4216

Sign language interpreting in international conferences & high-level meetings: Pioneering work at Heriot-Watt University

By Jemina Napier

Click here to see blogpost in International Sign

In December 2019, the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland and the Heriot-Watt University BSL team (SIGNS@HWU) had the privilege of hosting a curriculum development meeting to discuss a potential pioneering new Masters programme in Sign Language Interpreting in Conferences and High-Level Meetings, as well as the delivery of a ‘taster’ course in 2020 in order to boost the number of International Sign interpreters currently working in these contexts.

Participants included representatives from key stakeholder Deaf community and sign language interpreting organisations, including the World Federation of the Deaf, World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, European Union of the Deaf, European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters, Overseas Interpreting, the AIIC Sign Language Network and the National Technical Institute of the Deaf-Rochester Institute of Technology; as well as independent experts with experience as deaf and hearing International Sign interpreters and interpreter educators.

Participants at the development meeting, December 2019

The curriculum development project has been part-funded by the Directorate General for Interpretation (SCIC) at the European Commission, with support for staff time from the Heriot-Watt University School of Social Sciences and Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS). 

The project has been established in recognition of the increasing demand for sign language interpreters to work at international conferences and high-level meetings, and also to increase the numbers of International Sign interpreters accredited through the WASLI-WFD International Sign interpreter accreditation system.

SCIC recognised Heriot-Watt University as being the ideal university to develop a new Masters programme, as LINCS been offering courses in Conference Interpreting since 1970 and is one of only four UK university departments that have been granted membership of CIUTI, an international body which brings together universities which specialise in translating and interpreter training. LINCS is also a partner with the Magdeburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany and HUMAK University of Applied Sciences in Finland in the delivery of the European Masters in Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI). Thus, we will draw together our expertise in training both spoken and signed language interpreters to deliver this pioneering course. It is hoped that the new Masters programme will commence from September 2021

2020 intensive course

The first step in the curriculum development project is to offer an intensive ‘booster’ course in June 2020.

The intensive 5-day course on sign language interpreting in international conferences and high-level meetings (SLIC) for professionally qualified national sign language interpreters focuses on strengthening International Sign skills, enhancing awareness of relevant European and international institutions, as well as practical translingual interpreting skills, working between primarily English and International Sign but also other spoken and signed languages.

This intensive course has three goals:

(1) To prepare interpreters to apply for WASLI-WFD International Sign interpreter accreditation.

(2) To boost the number of International Sign interpreters working internationally, but particularly in Europe to meet needs at the European Commission, the European Parliament, at United Nations Geneva, and also for academic conferences and political meetings.

(3) To trial curriculum content for a potential new Masters programme in Sign Language Interpreting at Conferences to be offered through Heriot-Watt University LINCS.

  • The overall aim of the intensive course is to work towards readiness for applying for accreditation either with WFD-WASLI, or for EU or UN accreditation.
  • Completion of the intensive training course is no guarantee of accreditation or offers of work as an International Sign interpreter

Course content

The final course content and delivery will be finalised once the language combinations of the participants have been confirmed. Overall, using a case study approach, the 5-day course will include discussions and practical sessions on:

  • The International Sign/ multilingual interpreting landscape
  • EU and international organisations
  • Enhancing translingual skills
  • International Sign ‘therapy’
  • Applied interpreting skills
  • Unilateral interpreting
  • Bilateral interpreting
  • Relay interpreting
  • Critical reflective practice
  • One-to-one structured feedback on interpreting
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Professionalism and ethics

Our state-of-the-art digital interpreting and sign language labs will be available exclusively for use by students on this course, as well as access to bespoke visual software for recording and annotating sign language interpreting work.

The course will be delivered primarily by leading sign language, deaf studies and sign language interpreting researchers, educators and practitioners at Heriot-Watt, including:

  • Professor Jemina Napier: Accredited WFD-WASLI International Sign interpreter, AIIC Associate member, Registered Qualified BSL/English interpreter, Accredited Auslan/English interpreter, expertise in research and teaching on sign language interpreting
  • Professor Graham H. Turner: Sign language policy and Interpreting Studies academic, co-founder of the EUMASLI and Heriot-Watt BSL UG programmes, expertise in research and teaching on sign language interpreting and BSL policy
  • Dr Annelies Kusters: Deaf Studies academic, expertise in research and teaching on deaf ethnographies, professional mobilities, translanguaging and International Sign
  • Dr Robert Adam: Accredited WFD-WASLI International Sign interpreter, Registered Qualified BSL-ISL interpreter, Registered Qualified BSL-English translator, expertise in research and teaching on sign language contact and sign language interpreting. (joining Heriot-Watt staff in April 2020)
  • Dr Stacey Webb: Certified ASL/English interpreter, expertise in teaching sign language interpreting and research on sign language interpreting pedagogy
  • Andy Carmichael: Accredited WFD-WASLI International Sign interpreter, AIIC Associate member, Registered Qualified BSL/English interpreter, Accredited Auslan/English interpreter, Chair of the board of Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK (ASLI UK), in-house interpreter at Heriot-Watt, expertise in training and mentoring sign language interpreters
  • Christopher Tester: Accredited WFD-WASLI International Sign interpreter, AIIC Full member, Certified ASL/English interpreter, PhD student at Heriot-Watt, expertise in training sign language interpreters

In addition, further input will come from LINCS academics who are experts in teaching multilingual, spoken language conference interpreting, and external collaborators with expertise in International Sign and International Sign interpreting.

Who is this course for?

  • This intensive course is targeted at sign language interpreters from any country who have not yet achieved WFD-WASLI International Sign interpreter accreditation, or are already accredited but do not feel that they have previously received sufficient training and would like more professional skills development. Priority will be given to applicants who are not yet accredited.
  • Applications are particularly encouraged from interpreters who are deaf, female or from ethnic minorities.
  • A quota of places will be offered to European-based interpreters due to the part funding of the course by the European Commission.

Course dates

Date: 8th-12th June 2020

Venue: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, Scotland

Applicants for the intensive course must meet the following essential criteria:

  • Hold a national sign language interpreting qualification (or equivalent)
  • Have a minimum of 5 years post-qualification (or equivalent) experience in national sign language interpreting
  • Have extensive experience of national sign language interpreting in conference or high-level meetings (minimum of 50 hours)
  • Evidence of IS conference interpreting experience (minimum of 20 hours)

Applications from deaf or hearing interpreters from countries that do not have established undergraduate sign language interpreting programmes, or professional infrastructure will be considered on a case-by-case basis for the equivalent knowledge and experience.

How to Apply click here to get more information and how to apply

Exchange programme – two weeks in Vietnam!

By Katerina Koukouviki

MSc student, Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism

In the beginning of October, one of our professors at the MSc in Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism, Ullrich Kockel, informed us during his class that there was an opening for an Erasmus+ exchange programme, called Marco Polo”. One student would be able to attend classes for two weeks at the University of Hanoi in Vietnam (HANU).

I considered it to be a unique opportunity and I immediately started emailing around, to find out more about all the requirements and the procedure in general. I was trying not to get my hopes up at first, as I thought that it was just one opening and I guessed that many other students would have been interested.

Nevertheless, after a few meetings with HWU Marco Polo Coordinator John Cleary and Cultural Studies coordinator Katerina Strani and several emails later, it was confirmed from Vietnam that I was accepted! The University took care of my trip there and I arranged the matter of my VISA (got reimbursed later). I also received a grant for my expenses during my stay there.

By the end of October, I was in Vietnam, where I spent the next two weeks. I explored the vibrant city of Hanoi and I was able to travel around the country as well. Apart from its natural beauty, Vietnam is soaked in history. A millennium under the rule of China, the French colonisation and the Vietnamese war have left their marks that are evident in its cultural heritage.

Watching the beauty of Tam Coc from above.

At the HANU University of Hanoi, I was welcomed by Mrs. Nhai Nguyen, Mr. Ha Pham Viet and the manager of the programme, Prof. Nhat Tuan Nguyen. My classmates were very friendly, and we exchanged our points of view regarding cultural differences, as well as several cultural and heritage-related topics. Their insights helped me understand Vietnamese culture much better.

With Prof. Duong (on the left) and Prof. Tuan Nguyen (on the right) at HANU University.
One of the buildings at HANU University.
Initiated to Pho Bo (soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat) by my classmates.

Here are some interesting facts around student life in Hanoi:

  • Classes start at 7.00 in the morning and facilities like the library close after 18.45. Yeap… You might have to say goodbye to 9.15 for a while!
  • Students who live in the dorms pay almost £17/month (Monthly average income per capita in an urban area for 2018: £185) [1] and share the room with another 6, 8 or 10 persons. This would be very difficult for me and I would guess for other Westerners, as I appreciate my privacy.
The University Halls of Residence

As a final point, I would like to encourage all students to make the most of their student life and participate in exchange programmes in order to meet new people and places and expand their horizons. My experience was unforgettable!


[1] General Statistics Office of Vietnam:

 11. Health, Culture and Living Standard – Monthly average income per capita at current prices by residence and by region- Urban,2018). Retrieved from:

IndyLan Newsletter – January 2020

Welcome to the first newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Mobile Virtual Learning for Indigenous Languages (IndyLan). The 26-month project (2019-2021) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

IndyLan includes 5 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Norway and Spain) and aims to develop a mobile application which will help to learn the languages and cultures associated with the following indigenous languages: Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Basque, Galician and Saami. The project will develop an educational tool designed specifically for users to learn not only some of Europe’s endangered languages but also more about the cultures of the people who speak these languages.

The partners are:

The IndyLan application will help speakers of English, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish to learn Gaelic (designated as ‘definitely endangered’), Scots (‘severely endangered’), Cornish (‘critically endangered’), Basque (‘severely endangered’), Galician (a minority language) and Saami (‘severely endangered’). 

The tool constitutes a gamified language-learning solution in the form of a mobile application. Smartphones have become a popular educational tool and the number of the smartphone and tablet users of all ages is constantly growing in the EU. The application is building on a previous project, Moving Languages, with the key difference that IndyLan will produce one application for all languages, and not multiple language-specific applications as Moving Languages did. IndyLan will contain around 4,000 vocabulary items (both terms and expressions) in about 100 categories. The modes that will be available in the application are: Vocabulary; Phrases; Dialogues; Grammar; Culture; Test. 

The app will be launched at the Final Dissemination Conference in Cornwall in September 2021. It will be available for download globally for free in both iOS and Android. Like all language-learning apps, IndyLan is complementary to other language- and culture courses and can be considered to be part of self-study material.

Our vision is for the IndyLan app to contribute to endangered language learning and revitalisation so that these languages remain alive and relevant in contemporary societies and economies. 

News and updates

Our kick-off meeting took place in Edinburgh on 07-08 October 2019. 

Partners met at Heriot-Watt University‘s Riccarton campus and discussed the project’s timeline, milestones and deadlines. They agreed on the project logo and on the design of the website. Each partner gave an overview of their contribution. The project evaluation procedures were also finalised, and the procedure of appointing an external evaluator was agreed upon. The external evaluator for the project will be Dr Philip McDermott, Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, University of Ulster. The full agenda of the meeting can be found here.

(L-R) – Áile Jávo (Saami Council), Mark Trevethan (Cornwall Council), Katerina Strani (HWU), Veronica Gelfgren (Learnmera Oy), Naroa Bengoetxea (Asociación Moviéndote)

The first Intellectual Output is a short needs analysis, which will be published in early February. The 2nd Intellectual Output will be the application itself, which will be ready in beta version by April 2021. The 3rd Intellectual Output will be the pilot testing of the app which will be carried out by remote users as well as participants in our multiplier events in all partner countries in the summer of 2021. The app will be launched at the Final Dissemination Conference in Cornwall in September 2021. It will be available for download globally for free in both iOS and Android.

Discussing the budget
A long but productive day!
Discussing the vocabulary and going through more than 4,000 terms!
Finished! Now time for the partner dinner.
(L-R): Katerina Strani (HWU), Veronica Gelfren (Learnmera Oy), Mark Trevethan (Cornwall Council), Naroa Bengoetxea (Asociación Moviéndote), Áile Jávo (Saami Council)
The IndyLan project partners with our Intercultural Research Centre Directors Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith

Our project website will soon be available, so stay tuned!

Next project meeting:

10-11 June 2020

Karasjok, (Sápmi) Norway

Hosted by the Saami Council Headquarters

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For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS


Tel: +44 131 451 4216

The INCS in LINCS 2019-2020

LINCS stands for Languages and INterCultural Studies and our core purpose is to create multilingual, multicultural, global citizens. To achieve this, the “INCS” in LINCS also specialises in Cultural Studies such as living cultural heritage, intercultural dialogue, migrant identities and intercultural communication. 

Our Cultural Studies section manages the cultural studies courses and programmes we deliver. Courses include Global Heritage, Cross-Cultural perspectives on Society, Intercultural perspectives on Sustainable Development, as well as the Global Courses (taught in all HWU campuses) Intercultural Issues in Business and Management (Undergraduate – also offered as part of Graduate Apprenticeship programmes), and Intercultural Communication in the Workplace (Postgraduate). It also manages our MSc Cultural Heritages programme family, which includes our MSc in Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism. Cultural Studies staff and students are also members of our Intercultural Research Centre (IRC).



Katerina Strani is the Head of the Cultural Studies section. She has a background in Languages and Political Theory and her PhD thesis (2011) focused on communicative rationality in the public sphere. Her research is interdisciplinary, and she is interested in how multilingualism and multiculturalism shape contemporary society and politics at all levels. Following an EU-funded project on hate speech and racism (RADAR), Katerina has developed a keen research interest in race relations and the language of racism. She has published papers on these topics, as well as intercultural dialogue from the perspective of belonging and heritage, discourses of Europeanness and hate communication. She has led EU-funded projects in intercultural training for educators, mobile tools for refugees and newly-arrived migrants as well as for learning indigenous languages, and has participated in a GRCF-funded project on digital tools for Rohingya refugees in SE Asia.

Katerina teaches International Politics, Society and Institutions in Contemporary Europe, Intercultural Issues in Business and Management and Conference Interpreting. She is a Chartered Linguist, a Member of the Political Studies Association, the International Communication Association and the University Association of Contemporary European Studies. For a list of publications and funded projects, please click here.

Email: Twitter: @KaterinaStrani 

Máiréad Nic Craith is Professor of European Culture and Heritage. Máiréad’s academic career began with a lectureship at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, funded as a result of the Irish Government’s commitment to the Anglo- Irish Agreement. Subsequently, she was Director of the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster, set up in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement to undertake cross-community research, teaching and outreach activities. During that time, she collaborated with government and charitable organisations, such as the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages, Derry City Council, Diversity 21, the Ulster American Folk Park, and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Collaborative projects included a commissioned report for Fermanagh District Council on cultural and linguistic policy. She led a report on African migration in Northern Ireland commissioned by the Community Relations Council, and organised a symposium on peace agreements and (mis)communication (in honour of the Nobel laureate John Hume). In 2007, she was invited by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, to prepare a brief relating to culture and language issues in Northern Ireland. Since her arrival to Heriot-Watt University in 2012, Mairead has developed links with national organisations such as the National Library of Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, and international organisations such as POLIN (Museum of the History of Polish Jews). Having collaborated with organisations such as the UN in Geneva, the Scottish-Polish Heritage Project in Edinburgh and the Community Relations Council in Belfast, she is deeply committed to enhancing awareness of the potential of heritage to make a positive contribution to society (see her TEDx talk on Intangible Heritage 2015). From 2016- 2019, she was involved in a HORIZON 2020 European-wide collaborative research project on cultural heritage and social identity and cohesion. For a complete list of Máiréad’s publications, please click here.

Email: Twitter: @mairead_nc 

Ullrich Kockel is Professor of Cultural Ecology and Sustainability at HWU, as well as Emeritus Professor of Ethnology at the University of Ulster and Visiting Professor in Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas. He has a diverse academic and professional background, switching from a career in industrial management (Shell) to academic positions in Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and later Irish Studies and Ethnology. In 2003 he was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences and in 2012 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy. 

Ullrich’s overarching research interest is in sustainable local and regional development, especially the appraisal, planning and management of heritage and other cultural resources, approached from an interdisciplinary perspective rooted in anthropology, cultural ecology and political economy. He has conducted fieldwork and led projects throughout Europe. He is currently leading a work package in a €2.5m Horizon2020 project, CoHERE, on cultural forms and expressions of identity in Europe. For a complete list of Ullrich’s publications, please click here

Email: Twitter: @KockelU

Kerstin Pfeiffer is the Director of Undergraduate Teaching Programmes in LINCS. Her academic background is in literature and history, and her PhD work focused on new theoretical approaches to medieval biblical drama. She is secretary for and co-founder of the BASE (Bodies, Affects, Senses and Emotions) working group at the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) and was the School of Social Sciences representative on Subject Panel B (Design, Visual Arts, Architecture, Creative Writing, Film, Drama & Theatre Studies, Cultural Policy (Policy, Arts Management & Creative Industries), Music, Television Studies) of the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities for 3 years.

Kerstin’s current research interests lie in the area of theatre and performance studies and particularly in the investigation of the afterlives of older dramatic forms and the role of drama in shaping, maintaining and challenging notions of identity and community. She has published on these topics and presented her research at many international conferences. For a list of Kerstin’s publications, please click here.

Email: Twitter: @DrKPfeiffer 

Claudia V. Angelelli is Professor and Chair in Multilingualism and Communication. She is also Professor Emerita at San Diego State University and Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Foreign Studies. Her research sits at the intersection of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and translation and interpreting studies. She designed the first empirically-driven language proficiency and interpreter readiness tests for The California Endowment and Hablamos Juntos (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). She has been PI in research projects in Argentina, Australia, the European Union, and the United States. She has also led ISO 13611: Standards on Community Interpreting and co-authored The California Standards for Health Care Interpreters. Ethical Principles, Protocols, and Guidance on Interpreter Roles and Interventions. She teaches Intercultural Communication in the Workplace and Translation and Interpreting Studies. For a full list of publications, please click here


John Cleary is Associate Professor and Director of Studies for Exchange Programmes. With a background in Applied Linguistics, English and TESOL, John teaches British Culture & Society, Film Studies, Introduction to Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Society and Institutions in Contemporary Europe. He has coordinated many projects on internationalisation, pedagogy and intercultural communication in Europe, Turkmenistan and South-East Asia. For a list of John’s publications, please click here.


PhD students

Chiara Cocco –

Thesis topic: Festivals and folklore through the lens of affect and emotions: the case study of Sant’Efisio in Sardinia, supervised by Máiréad Nic Craith and Kerstin Pfeiffer

Chiara’s research explores the relationship between cultural heritage performance and collective identity construction. Drawing upon previous studies and theories which analysed national and cultural identity construction in sites of heritage and memory (Knudsen, 2011; Arnold-de Simine, 2013; Wight, 2016), in this research the focus shifts from museums to ceremonies. The thesis suggests that dynamic heritage avenues, such as folklore and festivals, could be also considered “places” of identity construction. It also explores the dynamics of identity construction and representation in festivals, through the lens of emotion and affect (Smith, 2006). For this purpose, the research adopts the Festival of Sant’Efisio in Sardinia as its case study, mainly because of its popularity among Sardinian population and visitors, and its longevity (it has been celebrated in the island every year since 1656). Moreover, as a Sardinian woman who has been living in Scotland for over five years, Chiara considers this festival as part of her cultural heritage and Sardinian belonging. Her research is, therefore, also a means through which she can keep connected to her original home despite the physical distance. Twitter: @ChiaraCocco88 

Jos Collins –

Thesis topic: Living Tradition and Cultural Revival: Scottish Folk Drama in the 21st Century, supervised by Kerstin PfeifferGary WestNeill Martin and Donald Smith.

Jos’s research project results from a partnership between the IRC, Celtic and Scottish Studies (University of Edinburgh) and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS, Scottish Storytelling Centre). It examines the reasons behind the resurgence of interest in this old art form and folk custom and its cultural implications. It seeks to investigate the motivations for participants and what these can tell us about modern attitudes to concepts like tradition and authenticity. The main aim of the project is to explore the place of revived folk drama in contemporary Scottish society through the following objectives: to produce a survey of Scottish folk drama activities today; to examine community-led performances and related activities ethnographically; to evaluate the motivations and aspirations of participants and organisers and to assess their contribution to aspects of local identity, ideas of tradition, and community dynamics; to investigate how folk drama as a living practice contributes to developing conceptualisations of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland; and to contribute to the newly emerging ‘Creative Ethnology’ movement led by the three institutions involved. 

Naomi Harvey –

Thesis topic: Collecting and preserving access to Intangible Cultural Heritage within the digital environment: Evaluating New Models for Scotland, supervised by Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel. Co-supervision from heritage specialists is provided by Alistair Bell, Sound Curator, National Library of Scotland and Scotland’s Sounds Project Manager, and Dr Hugh Hagan, National Records of Scotland, whose expertise includes oral history and community heritage. 

This research is funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium Scholarship, 2016-19. It critically examines issues surrounding digital preservation and access to ICH in Scotland, through the case study of Scotland’s Sounds. The project will examine how Scotland’s Sounds can ensure the sustainability of ICH sound collections, encompassing issues of: (1) collecting sound in a digital environment (2) digital access and preservation of sound material; (3) sustainable relationships between creators, community organisations and public institutions. The aim is to provide a theoretically informed critical analysis of the opportunities and challenges that advances in digital technology present for heritage organisations seeking to enhance the value, profile and understanding of ICH. Twitter: @ArchiveGnome

Lucy Lannigan –

Thesis topic: ‘Sustainable Communities and Cultural Heritage Management: A closer look at the Isle of Skye’, supervised by Ullrich Kockel and Kerstin Pfeiffer

With a focus on local communities, this thesis will analyse the sustainability of communities on the Isle of Skye and how concerns over growing tourism have affected the cultural heritage of this island. The aim is to provide practical advice and analysis in order to better manage the relationship between local communities and the tourism industry, in relation to sustainability and cultural heritage management. The theoretical framework will focus on the link between sustainability and cultural heritage management, discussing how we can develop and nurture the future sustainability of communities on the Isle of Skye in terms of heritage and culture. Emphasis will also be placed on external factors such as social and traditional media, as well as the Bridge to Skye, detailing how this has impacted the local communities, tourism industry, overall economy and daily lives of the islanders. This thesis will address the necessity in taking measures to ensure that tourism growth can be effectively managed in the present and subsequent future, in relation to sustainability, to ensure that the cultural heritage of the island is preserved and that the relationships fostered between the local communities and the tourism industry remain positive.

Alastair Mackie –

Thesis topic: ‘Becoming a smaller part of a larger whole: changing perceptions of European identity in the Scottish independence movement’, supervised by Katerina Strani and Ullrich Kockel.

This thesis explores how the perception and understanding of European identity has changed in Scotland since 2014. Is the adaptation of European identity for the purposes of supporting independence merely a political, strategic use of collective identity, or has the debate on EU membership resulted in a wider transformation of the role of Europe in identity formation in Scotland? By means of ethnographic fieldwork, this project aims form a better understanding of the function of Europe within the identity formation of people in Scotland since the Brexit referendum. The thesis aims to link the ethnological study of European identity to concepts of vulnerability and shelter from small state studies. If Scotland were to become an independent state it would be considered a small state in Europe. Due to their size, small states have less resources than larger states, making them more vulnerable to their external environment. Small states may seek ‘shelter’ with larger states or international organisations to counteract their vulnerability. The thesis will ask how perceived vulnerability influences the formation of European identity and whether European identity offers a form of shelter by being conceptualised as a support for Scottish independence. Twitter: @asbmackie

Catherine McCullagh –

Thesis topic: ‘Curating Heritage for Sustainable Communities in Highly Vulnerable Environments: The Case of Scotland’s Northern Isles’, supervised by Ullrich KockelDonna Heddle and Ian Tait.

Catherine is undertaking practice-based research with people in the archipelagos of Orkney and Shetland. Her research is funded through an SGSAH ARC Studentship. The research practice is a project to co-curate a virtual museum of the Northern Isles, and is funded by Museums Galleries Scotland, the Hugh Fraser Foundation and Shetland Museum and Archives. Catherine’s interests include creative ethnology; exploring the radical politics of co-curation as a mode for communities mobilising shared authority and cultural democracy towards more socially just and sustainable futures; collaborative deliberation of value formation and social learning for sustainable development; identity-work; and developing new ways of knowing and working through praxis. For more information on Catherine’s background and research, click here. Twitter: @kittyjmac and @NorthernNousts

Marc Romano –

Thesis topic: Brexit and Heritage Futures in Scotland: The Auld Alliance – Establishing a Counter-Heritage, supervised by Katerina Strani and Máiréad Nic Craith

As one of the longest relationships in the history, the Auld Alliance challenges the recent Brexit discourse, which seeks to establish a new geography outside of Europe. In its pursuit of a separatist utopia free from bonds of European policy, Brexit offers a fictionalised geography that denies Scotland’s seven centuries of European cultural belonging. Marc’s PhD research is an exploration of the Auld Alliance as a re-reading of Scotland’s heritage discourse with a view to establishing a counter-heritage (to that which lies in the wings post-Brexit), one that establishes an identity that cannot readily disentangle itself from European culture. In a country where almost 20% of its population are in fact from foreign origin and in which 5% of the total population came from European Union, such political discourse endangers its multicultural stability. Perhaps it is reflection of why Scotland voted to remain at 63%.  

Ozge Yalinay –

Thesis topic: Interpreting Istanbul Grand Bazaar as a traditional marketplace: contemporary cultural discourse, supervised by Babak Taheri and Máiréad Nic Craith This research is intrigued by work of cultural discourse scholars, including Foucault, Said and Bakhtin, whose theory of cultural consumption space provides with the conceptual vocabularies such as ‘orientalism’ and the ‘third space’. These spaces are unusual, anti-structured and exceptional. Framed within such notions, the material and imaginary landscape of Istanbul Bazaar offers such venue for cultural consumption experience in non-Western context. The primary aim of this study is to bring together contemporary cultural discourse in a traditional marketplace, with particular focus on the Istanbul Bazaar, testing the usefulness of such theory as an interpretive framework in a specific exceptional space in non-Western context. More specifically, this study aims to offer insight into an understanding of Western consumers’ journey and experience, examining the dynamic process that flows from pre-visit to post-visit. The mixed-method approach is used to collect data from both visitors and locals in order to answer the aim of this study. The qualitative approach is applied using observation, netnography and interviews, while the quantitative approach is applied using questionnaires. For a list of Ozge’s publications, please click here.

InterTrainE project – October 2019 newsletter

One year on, and our team grew by two members! Kate Sailer from CLP gave a birth to a boy in May 2019 and Kalli Rodopoulou from EELI also gave birth to a boy in July 2019. 

Congratulations to both!

For the rest of us, it’s business as usual. The 3rd InterTrainE partners’ meeting took place in Helsinki on 12-13 September 2019.

As always, all partners participated and we were joined by our External Evaluator, Dr Jim Crowther. We are very grateful to our external evaluator for his feedback and guidance so far. His expertise and engagement with the project are invaluable.

It’s been a very busy time, as we finished our 3rd intellectual output – Curriculum on Intercultural Education which has also been translated in all partner languages (Finnish, Italian and Greek).

We discussed the 4th intellectual output (IO4 – Training material for online use). Work is already under way. Georgia Zervaki from EELI, the IO4 leader, presented the timeline for material development and Monica Miglionico from Studio Risorse showed us some concrete examples of material developed so far.

Marja-Liisa Helenius (LFI) presented the updates on the InterTrainE platform (Moodle), which is starting to take shape, at least it in its technical form.

Katerina Strani (HWU), as coordinator, was tasked with updating the partnership on internal evaluation, peer reviewing and external evaluation, both by Dr Jim Crowther and by the EU.

We are very pleased to announce that our Progress Report satisfied the funder and there are no issues to address! As we are approaching the completion of the first half of the 26-month project, we are busy preparing the documents for the Interim Report to the funder.

The project is on track, and the timeline is as follows:

IO5 (Training guide for Adult Educators) – December 2019

IO6 (Course Syllabus) – January 2020

IO4 (Training material for online use) – April 2020

The Joint-Staff Training Event (JSTE), which will test the course material with non-project participants from the partner countries (both educators and learners) will take place in Rethymno, Crete, 04-08 May 2020. Our next project meeting will take place on 07 and 08 May in Rethymno, which will give us the opportunity to look at the JSTE and the feedback and plan the necessary changes to the course.  

More updates on the JSTE will be sent later on in the year. Watch this space!

The partnership had dinner at a traditional Karelian restaurant in Helsinki. Thank you Marja-Liisa Helenius for the hospitality J

See you in Rethymno in the Spring, where we will be testing the InterTrainE course material!

For more information about the project, please visit our website, which includes information and updates on our project, as well as all Intellectual Outputs to date. The website is available in all partner languages – English, Greek, Italian and Finnish.

Updates are published regularly on social media. To make sure you don’t miss out:

Like us on Facebook

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Follow us on Research Gate

For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS


Tel: +44 131 451 4216

Language exchanges made simple

LINCS is glad to announce that this academic year (2019-20), a Language Tandem app will be running after the huge success and very positive feedback received last year. This app is intended to get Heriot-Watt students (and staff, if they so wish) in touch so that they can practice their languages.

Language Tandem App – what is it?

Language Tandem App is designed and developed for and by Heriot-Watt University students under the guidance José M Conde and Liz Thoday (LINCS) and Santiago Chumbe (MACS).  

The app aims to help language learners find conversation partners. Think Tinder, but with languages!

How does it work?

It’s very easy. You just need to sign up with your Heriot-Watt University email account. The first page you encounter should look something like this:

To sign up you’ll need your HWU credentials, and once you’re in, you’ll need to create a profile. We recommend that you create a profile that represents who you are. Don’t be shy, let others know what your interests are, it could be anything from football to manga. Once you find someone that matches your profile, say hi to them, get a conversation started and in no time you could be meeting socially to practice your foreign language.

“I found the app very useful, I was able to speak with my match in the foreign language I am studying (Spanish) and they spoke to me in English to improve, giving each other feedback as we went along.”
(anonymous feedback)

The idea is for students meet regularly and practice English for, say, 30 minutes, and another language (there are many to choose from!) for another 30 minutes. This is a brilliant opportunity for people who need an extra little bit of conversation practice, and for this reason, we’ve created a platform where you’re in control, you decide who you want to meet up with, and you decide what languages you want to practice!

“Very useful as it is a great way to find people that are able to help you and want to chat in a casual setting”  (anonymous feedback)

LINCS teaching mobility at Hanoi University (HANU)

By Ramon Inglada

Between August 18-25, Ramon Inglada, Assistant Professor in Spanish and Translation Technologies in LINCS, had the priviledge of carrying out a teaching mobility in Vietnam, at Hanoi University (HANU), under the framework of the Marco Polo international cooperation programme between Asian and European universities.

During his stay in Vietnam, Ramon, who is also the LINCS Director of Studies for Incoming Exchange Students, attended several meetings with HANU’s international office staff. The main purpose of these meetings was to analyse and compare how the academic exchange programmes work in both institutions. Ways to further promote international cooperation, not only between Hanoi University and Heriot-Watt University but also in more general terms between European and Asian academic institutions, were also discussed.

One of the sessions on computer-assisted translation tools delivered by Ramon Inglada during his stay at HANU

Ramon was also offered the possibility of collaborating with the Spanish and English departments at HANU. His activities there included the delivery of several sessions, both in English and Spanish, and in one case in front of an audience of more than 100 students, about professional practices in translation and on translation technologies (mainly computer-assisted translation tools and machine translation). The languages departments at both Hanoi University and Heriot-Watt University have a very strong focus on translation and interpreting, and these sessions were therefore considered to be very relevant for HANU’s cohort of final year language students.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Cuc Phuong, Vice President of Hanoi University, presents Ramon Inglada with his certificate of participation in the Marco Polo project.

This extremely valuable teaching mobility experience with an Asian university was very useful to explore further cooperation opportunities between the two institutions and also to raise the international profile and standing of Heriot-Watt University.

More information on the Marco Polo project, which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, can be found here:

Intercultural Research Centre Symposium 2019

By Katerina Strani and Chiara Cocco

Photo courtesy of Stefan Schäfer, Lich (], from Wikimedia Commons *

After the successful event in 2016, it was time to hold another Intercultural Research Centre (IRC) Symposium this year, themed “Scotland at a Crossroads – Heritage past and futures”. This was the IRC’s flagship research event, in which we investigated the challenges faced by Scotland in the light of recent political events in the European context, with particular focus on culture, communities and heritage.

The event took place in March 2019 and included presentations by IRC members and guest speakers, a lecture delivered by our keynote speaker Dr. Tuuli Lähdesmäki on cultural heritage in Europe, and a round-table conversation about the implications of Brexit for Scotland. The symposium concluded with a cultural event and performance kindly sponsored by the Confucius Institute, followed by a wine reception.

We started with a multilingual welcome by IRC Director Mairead Nic Craith and Acting Director Ullrich Kockel. One of our Deaf PhD students, Sanchu Iyer kindly showed the rest of the audience the BSL signs for ‘Scotland’, ‘heritage’ and ‘Brexit’. The sign for Scotland definitely had its roots in bagpipes; the one for Heritage reminded us of the act of passing something on, and the one for Brexit gave the impression of a small part breaking out of a larger whole.

First up was IRC member Dr Gina Netto, whose presentation was focused on ‘Heritage, Migration and Brexit’.

Gina argued that the social, political, economic and cultural landscape of the UK has been profoundly shaped by its heritage of colonialism, its involvement in the slave trade, post-war reconstruction and more recently, by its membership of the EU, all of which have contributed to major migratory flows.  Public concerns around levels of immigration have often led politicians to respond with promises to reduce immigration to the ‘hundreds of thousands’ and to ‘take back control’ of its borders. Gina’s presentation considered the central role of race and migration in the events leading up to the 2016 EU referendum, the impacts of the outcome and how the UK may move forward in addressing these heavily contested issues.

Next, IRC member Dr Lina Fadel presented “I belong, I belong not: Brexit, me, and a ‘Boy Named Sue’”.

In this presentation, Lina addressed the question: ‘what does Brexit mean for our cultural and national identity and belonging in Britain?’ Lina explored the portmanteau word ‘Brexit’ and its cultural and spatial implications more closely, particularly its ‘alienating’ stance for people like herself (a naturalised UK citizen) who have ideals drawn from multiple cultures and whose Britishness does not come with the historical and nationalist repertoire that would enable them to identify with ‘the make Britain great again’ and ‘to have our cake and eat it’ discourses or express their Britishness in such linear ways. “We are constantly trying to form new identities in this liminal, in-between (also referred to by post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha as ‘third’) space where ideologies and cultures continue to collide”, Lina argued. Is Brexit itself a ‘third space’ that allows us to negotiate meaning, representation and identity in a global world? And how can we reconcile our multi-layered identities and cultures, both heritage and host, and move forward when Britain has decided to go back to the ‘good old days’? When asked her how she can belong to Britain as a recently naturalised British citizen, Lina responded that, through her research, she has talked with many British-born citizens who don’t feel they belong to or identify with Britain today. It was a powerful and thought-provoking presentation and argument.

IRC member and Symposium organiser Dr Katerina Strani was next, and she presented some thoughts on “Multicultural citizenship: Challenges and Opportunities”.

Katerina began by exploring the concept of citizenship as commitment to a specific polity and to a set of rights of obligations, which is why it is also connected to legitimacy (Bauboeck, 2010; Kockel, 2010). Such a commitment implies belonging, both in terms of a personal sense of belonging and in terms of ascribed belonging (from the state). Katerina used her own case as an example of a Greek citizen (she never misses an opportunity to talk about her hometown of Thessaloniki) who is also a Scottish citizen, voting for Scottish Parliament elections and for the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014. This citizenship-belonging nexus (Bauboeck, 2010) means that citizenship can never be culture-blind (Nic Craith, 2004; Habermas, 2005), and indeed the connection between culture and citizenship has been studied by sociologists, cultural studies and politics scholars. The profusion of new publics, diasporic and increasingly diverse, led to a reconsideration of citizenship not only from a multilingual, but also from a multicultural perspective. Kymlicka (2010) widely introduced the concept of multicultural citizenship in multination states, initially focusing on Canada. Kymlicka’s multinational and post-national approaches were discussed in Katerina’s talk, which led to a critical consideration of multiculturalism v. interculturalism v. polyculturalism in contemporary societies, where “culture is more important than ever” (Fukuyama, 2017). The Scottish case of civic citizenship was presented, together with the New Scots strategy, before concluding on the main challenges and opportunities of multicultural citizenship. Challenges include the need to recognise and thematise the liminality of migrant publics as part of culturally enriched hybrid publics (Strani, 2020 forthcoming); how to be more inclusive for those who “do not belong”, e.g. asylum seekers, or those participating in informal networks of “uncivil society” (Ruzza, 2009). The opportunities in societies where citizenship is multilingual and multicultural, and therefore people’s existence is legitimised through their commitment to certain values, include flourishing communities, a redefinition of ‘common interests’ and enrichment of public life. 

Dr Emma Hill from the University of Edinburgh presented her research on ‘New’ Scots?  (Re)Writing Somali Narratives in Scotland.

Emma’s paper offered a critique of the narratives of ‘newness’ applied to people of Somali backgrounds living in contemporary Scotland.  Drawing on research from her PhD thesis and further archival work, Emma’s paper: (1) traced how Somali people are discoursed as ‘New Scots’ and (2) argued that Somali histories in Scotland in fact extend to the twentieth century.  Connecting to ongoing discussions about Scotland’s role in Empire and its mobilisation of race, Emma argued that the erasure of Somali-Scots’ histories obscure Scotland’s colonial legacy, and adversely impact Somali-Scots’ experiences of citizenship in Scotland today.

After a short coffee break, it was time for our keynote lecture by Dr Tuuli Lähdesmäki from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The lecture was entitled ’Europe at a Crossroads: Cultural Heritage in the Creation of a European Narrative’

Postmillennial Europe has faced various political, economic, social and humanitarian challenges and crises that influence how Europeans deal with the past, present and future of Europe. These challenges and crises have also shaken the foundations of the EU and strengthened criticism of its legitimacy and integration processes. Simultaneously, the ideas of European cultural roots, memory, history and heritage have gained a new role in European politics and policies. The EU’s increased interest in the European past and shared cultural heritage can be perceived as the EU’s attempt to tackle some of these recent challenges and crises – including identity crises – in Europe. How does the EU utilize the idea of cultural heritage in the creation of a European narrative? How is the idea of Europe constructed in the EU’s heritage policies and initiatives? The lecture discussed these topics by using the most recent EU heritage action, the European Heritage Label, as a case study.

We were honoured to welcome Dr Lähdesmäki as our keynote speaker. Her thought-provoking case-study led to lengthy discussions which went on during lunch.

After lunch, it was time for Dr Jennie Morgan from the University of Stirling to present her talk, entitled “Grappling with ‘Profusion’: A Crossroad for Assembling Alternative Heritage Futures Through Museum Collecting”

Museums, Jennie argued, as with people in their homes, are increasingly faced with the ‘profusion predicament’. That is, the challenge of grappling not only with large quantities of material things, but seemingly infinite possibilities for choosing what might be acquired and retained for the future. Compounded by shrinking space in which to display and store it all, this leaves some collections staff asking if museums simply have ‘too much stuff’ to reasonably handle? This short provocation, grounded in ethnographic research undertaken in collaboration with University of York colleagues Professor Sharon Macdonald (project director) and Harald Fredheim (researcher), introduced key issues to the Symposium’s ‘crossroads’ discussions, including sustainability, collecting-futures, and heritage values. By briefly looking at what fuels the Profusion predicament, and a range of responses from museums (especially those tasked with collecting from the recent past and contemporary everyday life), Jennie’s fascinating paper prompted us to consider both the specific heritage futures that are shaping yet also being made by museum collecting in Scotland and the wider UK.

The heritage theme continued with IRC member Cait McCullagh, whose presentation was entitled “Weathering the storm: Heritage-making as learning for sustainability in uncertain waters”

Orkney and Shetland, Cait argued, were once central in international flows of people, goods and ideas.  Now, their open economies, high youth out-migration, and ecosystems abraded by climate change indicate a precarity only further compounded by Brexit.  Cait’s research explored Northern Isles inhabitants’ concepts of aspects of their heritages as ‘ecosystems of memory’, sustaining situated, resilient responsiveness in the face of such extrinsic uncertainties. The praxis, based on a co-curation mobilising ‘deliberative value formation’, elicits social learning concerning the usefulness of collaboratively, consciously deliberating heritage-making, identity-work and future assembling for learning about the formation of behaviours and decision-making in other socio-political processes. Cait also asked ‘what part does/can/should this sentimentality play within current value judgements?’

Moving on to ‘dark’ heritage and in particular Intangible Cultural Heritage, Prof Alison McCleery from Edinburgh Napier University gave a bold and thought-provoking talk on “Throwing light on a ‘dark’ side of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and its responsible management

The concept of ‘dark tourism’ is these days increasingly well known, Prof McCleery stated. Less so the notion of dark ICH, with general perceptions of ICH reflecting a particular range of quaint, wholesome and apparently benign folk traditions, often rooted in rural communities. These largely reflect the domains of the UNESCO Convention on the ICH (2003) and are expected to be accessible to the general public, and increasingly also open to the tourist gaze. However, a range of living cultural traditions lies outside this consensual ideal implicit in both the UNESCO framework and its implementation by national and local agencies. Although not signed up to the Convention, and arguably just because of that, Scotland is not exempt from the increasingly challenging but nevertheless imperative responsibility of ‘policing’ its ICH. Prof McCleery’s presentation explored the complex challenges, for both agencies and academics as well as for ICH practitioners and for society at large, of managing often conflicting expectations in respect of examples drawn from this range of ‘controversial’ ICH in Scotland and beyond. The chair had to stop us from discussing Prof McCleery’s presentation because we were pressed for time, but the conversation on this fascinating topic went on during the coffee break.

After a coffee break, it was time for David Francis, Director of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) to present his paper on “Traditional Music as Heritage”.

David explored a paradox of the heritage discourse – that, on the one hand, the designation of an aspect of nature or culture as ‘heritage’ is a form of ‘enclosure, commodification and colonisation’ (Weber 2015), and, on the other, a means by which access is enlarged. Since the folk revival of the second half of the twentieth century greater access to traditional music in Scotland has seen it become a creative resource and a source of meaning for many, but also a point of tension, in terms of uses of heritage, between those whose main interest is in preservation and authenticity and those whose main interest is its possibilities for personal artistic statement. David also paid tribute to Jimmy McBeath, when reflecting on the conflict between authenticity and cultural appropriation. We listened to a short song by Jimmy McBeath during David’s presentation.

Next up, IRC member Marc Romano presented a paper entitled “Scottish national identity in an era of change, the power of movies and TV shows”

Following the Brexit referendum, the question of national identity and belonging was raised and challenged particularly in Scotland where their origins are strongly aligned with Europe. Marc’s paper explored the redefinition of contemporary Scottish identity through the use of movies and TV shows, using the newest film version of Mary Queen of Scots and Outlander as interesting case studies.

Last, but definitely not least, IRC member Alastair Mackie presented his research on “Becoming a smaller part of a larger whole: new expressions of European identity in the Scottish independence movement”

The EU referendum and the ensuing negotiations on Brexit have resulted in Britain entering a liminal phase of change without a foreseeable ending, Alastair argued. Within this transformational context, European identity is being understood in new ways and with new meanings. For some it is a defiant expression of connection: a root and a route to the rest of Europe; for others it is also an expression of disconnection between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom and is incorporated into the support for Scottish independence. Alastair’s presentation explored results of an ongoing PhD research project on the perception of European identity in post-Brexit Scotland with a particular focus on the relation between European identity and small state vulnerability.

After a short break, it was time for our round table discussion on The Impact of Brexit in Scotland. The Moderator was Mrs Ann Packard FRSA HonFRIAS, Chairman, RSA Fellows (i) Borders and (ii) Media, Creative Industries, Culture & Heritage Networks.

Members of the panel were:

Luke Devlin (Heriot-Watt University)

Anthony Salamone (Scottish Centre of European Relations)

Dr Mairi McFadyen (Local Voices and the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics)

Prof Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University)

Dr Cristina Clopot (Heriot-Watt University – University of Hull)

Svenja Meyerricks (Centre for Human Ecology)

The round table discussion brought useful insights from a range of disciplines interested in heritage, Scotland and Brexit. There was talk of liminality, uncertainty and loss at all levels. A dynamic redefinition of identity was also explored in the context of vulnerability and division.

After a long day of thought and discussion, it was time for our cultural event, kindly sponsored by the Heriot-Watt Confucius Institute. The event included:

A Chinese zither performance

A traditional tea ceremony

Chinese calligraphy

Whose name is this? Answers on a postcard! 🙂

Chinese paper-cutting

Our talented Confucius Institute colleagues gave our keynote speaker Dr Tuuli Lähdesmäki  a paper-cut portrait to take home with her as a gift.

We tweeted throughout the event using the hashtag #IRC2019 – however we soon noticed that we shared this with the equally successful International Rubber Conference Organisation that was taking place on the same day J

Until our next IRC Symposium in 2021 !