Applications are invited for Library Fellowships from postdoctoral scholars in any area of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, to examine special collections held at the University of Edinburgh. The University of Edinburgh’s collections include approximately 100km of heritage material including archives, manuscripts, rare books, art, musical instruments and other museum collections. Many of these unique collections have either not been catalogued or not fully researched, presenting novel opportunities to a wide range of scholarly disciplines.
IASH provides an enviable location in one of the world’s most intellectually inspiring cities, together with a dynamic network of international connections. Home to the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh has a rich cultural heritage of scholarship and creativity that continues to the present day. In this haven of libraries and archives, galleries and music venues – all set amid iconic architecture – IASH helps scholars to take the humanities beyond campus to engage the public and work with organisations in a variety of sectors.
The Institute welcomes visiting researchers from across the world. Since 1970, over 1,250 Fellows have stepped through our doors. Up to 30 researchers are in residence at any one time in our amazing – and eclectic – nineteenth-century building just on the edge of the University’s central campus, boasting views of the Meadows. From more than 65 countries, IASH Fellows form a global alumni community, and many career-long connections begin at the Institute.
There are numerous areas of potential focus. At this time we invite applications focused on one of the following:
Scottish Session Papers
In the 18th and 19th centuries every paper going before the Scottish Court of Session in Edinburgh – Scotland’s supreme Civil Court - had to be printed. These papers give fascinating insights into the minutiae of everyday life in Scotland, from disputes over land ownership to discussions about inheritance and business ownership. They also provide rich evidence about women and social groups whose voices are otherwise missing from the historical record. They offer huge potential for interdisciplinary research, particularly through digitisation. With the collections in the Advocates and Signet libraries in Edinburgh, there are about 250,000 individual documents – the greatest hidden printed heritage of the Scottish Enlightenment. The collection is not catalogued and has yet to be researched.
Thomas Nelson archive
We have the records and library of Edinburgh-based educational publisher Thomas Nelson, which give fascinating information about the international business operations of this firm which pioneered new technology. The archive includes some 80 linear metres of archival material in 900 boxes or volumes, ranging in date from the late 19th century to 1960; there are also around 10,000 books which were retained as the office file copies with notes about binding design and new editions. The collection is not catalogued and has yet to be researched.
Arthur Koestler archive
The journalist and political activist Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) created a vast archive of correspondence on every topic from the Holocaust to the death penalty, in which he connected with leading writers and political figures across the world. He was also interested in the fringes of science such as the paranormal, and his experimental ideas are now interesting to a wide variety of interdisciplinary researchers. A controversial figure from many angles, Koestler’s networks have never been fully investigated, although a basic catalogue of the collection is available.
Middle Eastern manuscripts
We have a rich collection of some 700 manuscripts from the Middle East and North Africa in Arabic, Turkish and Persian, dating back to the 9th century AD and from a variety of literary, historical and religious traditions. It is the only such collection of its kind in Scotland and has never had any systematic scholarly study.
Edinburgh, Scotland and the University has had a unique relationship with Malawi from the 19th century as educationalists, researchers, missionaries, business people and health workers from Scotland went to work there. Collections related to Malawi include but are not limited to the papers of Roberts Laws who established the mission at Livingstonia, the papers of Colin Campbell, lawyer, minister in the government and anti-apartheid campaigner, papers of Kenneth MacKenzie, minister and researcher, papers of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, as well as a small collection of the Malawi Writers Group from the 1960s and 1970s. There is also material in the Centre for the Study of World Christianity not only on religion but that document communities and the issues that were being raised such as education, health and welfare. The range of material across these collections covers 20th century politics, education, linguistics, economics, decolonisation, development, infrastructure and changing society. Many of these collections only have basic handlists, and their importance is only just being realised with research being done on decolonisation in the mid-20th century.
What does a Library Fellowship offer?
IASH hosts a lively scholarly community of visiting fellows. It is a supportive environment for postdoctoral researchers, while also offering networking opportunities with successful mid-career and eminent senior scholars. The Institute occupies a historic building with private courtyard and leafy views – perfect for uninterrupted thinking, reading and writing. Yet there is also plenty of opportunity to socialise and share ideas.
In short, a 2020-2021 Library Fellowship provides:
- Research visit at the University of Edinburgh for three to six months
- Bursary of £1,300 per month
- Travel allowance of up to £500
- Dedicated office space at IASH, University e-mail and library access
- Library workspace with privileged access to collections, support from curatorial and technical staff, and access to the facilities of the Digital Scholarship Centre
- An allocated University mentor from the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) or a School within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
- Weekly Fellows’ Lunch to build community
- Collegial work-in-progress seminar series for testing new ideas
- Calendar of engaging events at the Institute and College
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.