Where are they now?

Craig Lamont (2016 Winner)

You won the Ross Roy medal in 2016. What was your doctoral project?

I was very grateful to win the Ross Roy medal in 2016 for my PhD thesis on Georgian Glasgow. The full title, Georgian Glasgow: the city remembered through literature, objects, and cultural memory theory was completed in 2015, following a three-year Collaborative Doctoral Award shared between the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Life (AHRC: PI Prof. Murray Pittock).

The main collaborative element was the planning behind a major history exhibition in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, titled How Glasgow Flourished: 1714-1837. Opening in 2014, this focus on Glasgow’s Georgian heritage coincided with the city hosting the XX Commonwealth Games, and, as such, was a great opportunity to showcase a long-neglected period of Glasgow’s past. My thesis helped drive several strands which the exhibition focussed on, including literary and philosophical developments in the city as well as political and religious cultures. My thesis undoubtedly benefitted from this collaboration, as I was able to support my arguments with emerging theory as well as tangible narratives derived from collection policy and object curation.

What have you been doing since then?

Since the PhD finished I’ve found myself in a variety of roles. Firstly, I worked freelance for the National Trust for Scotland as they sought historical research and context for their development of one of their key properties in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Gladstone’s Land is one of the oldest buildings on the High Street/Royal Mile, and is the only surviving seventeenth-century arched shop frontage. My research spanned from around the time of Mary, Queen of Scots to the 1940s, as I sketched out a cultural history of the city (and that building especially).

This happily coincided with some work I was doing as a Web Developer in a Royal Society of Edinburgh funded project headed up by Prof Murray Pittock: ‘Allan Ramsay and Edinburgh in the First Age of Enlightenment’. During this project Murray and I developed an interactive online map of eighteenth-century Edinburgh, focussing on the flourishing cultural and social networks in which the Scots poet Allan Ramsay was involved.

Following this I was hired to initiate a pilot Bibliography project at the Centre for Robert Burns Studies in the University of Glasgow. Working with colleagues from the University of South Carolina (where the Ross Roy Collection of Burns material is held) and the National Library of Scotland I was tasked with producing a new descriptive bibliography of the early editions of the Bard. This meant consulting and describing (poem by poem, song by song) each Burns edition from the first in 1786 to the beginning of his legacy period (1802, four years after his death). You can view the PDF file here, completed after doing more work with a Royal Society of Edinburgh grant in 2017-18.

Following the completion of this pilot phase in the summer of 2016 I successfully interviewed for a Maternity post to cover the Lecturer in Robert Burns Studies (Dr Pauline Mackay) in the Scottish Literature subject-area at Glasgow. I enjoyed a very rewarding ten months of teaching and supervision while happily tying up some loose ends in my own research.

Do you still work on Scottish literature in any capacity?

I am still very much involved in Scottish literature to this day. I do the occasional lecture in Scottish Literature, especially when the topic intersects with some of my research specialisms. My daily routine is very much research focussed. From July-December 2017 I worked as a full-time Research Associate in the AHRC-funded project ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’ (PI Prof Gerard Carruthers), focussing on the correspondence of the Bard (so, transcribing manuscript letters, collating texts, etc). From January 2018 I had the opportunity to join another AHRC project: Murray Pittock’s ‘The Collected Works of Allan Ramsay’. From then on, I have been working on both projects as a research associate. As they are both geared towards major new editions – Burns through OUP and Ramsay through EUP – I am very fortunate to work on the textual editing, bibliography, and cultural history of two of Scotland’s major literary figures.

What are your future plans?

For the next 2-3 years I hope to see out the work of these great editing projects. I have recently been given a contract with EUP to produce The Cultural Memory of Georgian Glasgow, very much based on my PhD thesis. I hope to see this in print in the early months of 2021. When my writing on this is complete I hope to turn my attention to a few more research strands, especially in the fields of cultural memory and bibliography. There are several conferences on the horizon and many good opportunities to enhance my understanding of Scottish literature, so we will see how things pan out.

Corey Gibson (2012 winner)

You won the Ross Roy medal in 2012. What was your doctoral project?

My PhD thesis, with English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, was a critical study of the work of folklorist, poet, political activist, translator, songwriter, and latter-day folk hero, Hamish Henderson (1919-2002). A great anti-fascist, socialist, campaigner for national self-determination, and advocate for an unmediated people’s culture, his work is perhaps more relevant now than ever. Certainly, his star seems to have risen further since I took on this research project in 2008. Drawing from his written work, rather than from the lore that has grown up around him, I identified a moral-intellectual agenda running though Henderson’s long and varied career: from the war poetry to the public ‘flytings’; the translations of Antonio Gramsci to the travellers’ tales and children’s skipping rhymes.

What have you been doing since then?

In 2012-14 I was a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and then at UC Berkeley under the US-UK Fulbright Commission programme. I then became lecturer in modern English Literature at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, also spending a few months at the University of Virginia as a research fellow and visiting scholar. I left the Netherlands in 2018 to take up my current job, as lecturer in twentieth-century Scottish literature at the University of Glasgow. In this time I’ve published my book on Henderson, The Voice of the People (EUP 2015), which was shortlisted for the Saltire Research Book of the Year, and went to paperback in 2017. I’ve also published articles and book chapters on various aspects of the politics of modern and contemporary Scottish literature (on poststructuralism and balladry; Hugh MacDiarmid and Malcolm X; literary culture and the 2014 referendum; war poetry; class and nationalism; the politics of folk revivalism).

Do you still work on Scottish literature in any capacity?

Yes! As lecturer in twentieth-century Scottish literature in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow, I’m part of the only autonomous university subject area in the world exclusively dedicated to teaching and researching Scottish literature. I teach on big historical survey courses, as well as more specialised honours courses (my new one’s called ‘Scottish Fiction under Late Capitalism’), and I supervise postgraduate research projects in modern and contemporary Scottish literary studies. I’m very privileged to get to do what I do.

What are your future plans?

I’m in the early stages of a new research project titled ‘Dreaming the Daily Darg’ looking at representations of working lives in modern and contemporary Scottish literature. In particular, I’m really interested in combining analyses of literary depictions and oral histories, and thinking about how our picture of modern Scottish literary history changes as we get our hands dirty in the everyday-ness of things, and in ideas around ‘making a living’. It’s somewhere the national paradigm doesn’t hold much sway. I have various other research projects up my sleeve, but they’re all very politically engaged, and particularly concerned with promoting neglected writers, especially radical and experimental working-class artists.

Ainsley McIntosh (2010 Winner)

You won the medal in which year? What was your doctoral project?

I was awarded the inaugural Ross Roy Medal in 2010, and had the privilege of being presented with it by Professor Ross himself. Building on the work of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels, my doctoral project offered a model for a scholarly edition of Walter Scott’s second extended narrative poem, Marmion (1808). This was the first attempt that had been made to produce a reliable critical edition of the text, which was accompanied by an extended essay on its genesis and development, its publishing history, a critical evaluation of the poem’s initial reception, and an engagement with the poem in light of current critical thinking.

What have you been doing since then?

After spending a year on a fixed-term contract as a teaching fellow at the University of Aberdeen, in 2010 I was appointed as research fellow on a pilot project to investigate whether the model that I provided for editing Marmion could be applied to other Scott poems. This preliminary investigation proved that the model could be extended beyond Marmion and, based on these findings, a full edition of Scott’s poetry is now underway led by Professor Alison Lumsden at Aberdeen. In 2018 a revised version of my doctoral thesis was published by Edinburgh University Press as the first of ten volumes of the Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott’s poetry. What excites us most about this edition is that it will get the academic community and beyond reading and talking about Scott’s poetry again.

Do you still work on Scottish literature in any capacity?

Yes, I work as an independent academic researcher with a primary focus on Walter Scott and Scottish Romanticism. I have published articles on Scott and on the nineteenth-century Scottish female writers Susan Ferrier and Mary Brunton. However, I have a broad interest in Scottish literature of all periods, and especially twentieth-century Scottish fiction and poetry.

What are your future plans?

In the next few months I look forward to starting work on a second volume for the Scott poetry project, editing Rokeby (1813). I have also begun work on a monograph on Scott’s poetry, which remains a relatively neglected area of Scott studies. The longer that I read and work on Scott’s poetry, the more astonishing it seems to me that he has been all but written out of critical constructions of the Romantic period, and this is a position that I am determined to challenge. The problem has, of course, arisen in large part because of the lack of adequate (or any) versions of his poetic works, and so a critical reappraisal is especially timely in light of the work that the team are currently undertaking on the poetry edition. My book will examine Scott’s poetic responses to the events of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, thereby uncovering synergies between Scott and his fellow Romantics whilst simultaneously contextualising his poetic oeuvre within the literature of the long eighteenth century and within Enlightenment discourses of community and sympathy.

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