The Book Blog

August 13, 2009

David Hill- Visit of Professor Ivan Area, University of Vigo

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidrhill @ 9:32 am

Late July saw the visit of Professor Ivan Area, Vice Principal of the University of Vigo, Galicia, to Edinburgh Napier University, with Linda Gunn and I acting as hosts/minders for the day. Professor Area’s university, like ours, is making important efforts to record and promote the local Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). His visit therefore provided a useful opportunity to both learn from the Galician experience and to offer some of our own thoughts and experiences of developing an inventory of Scotland’s ICH.

First stop of the day was a morning meeting at Museums Galleries Scotland. Professor Area elected to meet us straight there, and we were slightly concerned he wouldn’t find it, his hotel being located at the opposite end of a city centre that is not currently well disposed towards ease of navigation. However, we shouldn’t have worried, as he turned up, accompanied by wife Cristina, seemingly unfazed by Edinburgh city centre’s current homage to chaos theory.  Museums Galleries Scotland commissioned the initial report on ICH in Scotland and were able to share with Professor Area some of their expertise in this area: many thanks to Chief Executive Joanne Orr and team for providing the time for this.

David Forsyth, Senior Curator, Scottish Social History and Diaspora at the National Museum of Scotland was our genial host for the next part of the day. David provided a fascinating guided tour of the Museum, after which he was our guest for lunch at the museum’s rather good restaurant. I’m not certain what Galician expectations were for Scottish cuisine, but I’d like to think they were pleasantly surprised, at least on this occasion, even if we committed the cardinal sin (at least in my mind) of not having time for postprandial coffee.

After lunch, we returned to an eerily quiet Craighouse where Professor Area had an appointment with Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Peter Easy. My vital supporting role at this point consisted in trying to dissuade Cristina from sampling the university coffee, an area of Scotland’s ICH that, in my view at least, is best left well alone. Linda had other ideas though, and her evidently superior rhetorical skills won the day. I’m just hoping the incident has not caused any lasting damage to Galician-Scottish relations.

The day ended with light al fresco refreshments and discussion on George Street and then a fond farewell to a very useful and enjoyable experience. I’ve always fancied a trip to Galicia….


August 10, 2009

Dr Linda Gunn – out and about

Filed under: Conferences,Events — fhartree @ 9:47 am

At the end of May this year I went to Alcalá de Henares near Madrid to present a conference paper on national identity in contemporary Irish drama.  Apparently, Spain is the country with the second most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (cities whose historic centres have the UNESCO World Heritage designation) and Alcalá is one of them.  As the project I’m currently working on (Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland) is also related to UNESCO, I was able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’– cultural identity and cultural heritage.

Alcalá is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote”, and home to one of the most prestigious universities in Spain (dating from the 16th century) and – according to the tourist blurb – gives visitors ‘a glimpse of life in Castilia during the Spanish Golden Age’.  Some nice bars too.

VIII International Conference of the Spanish Association for Irish Studies 28th- 30th May 2009


I was also fortunate enough to attend the SHARP conference in Toronto this year and must point out (see Dave McCormack blog) that, in addition to visiting many Diners and hostelries, three of us did a conference session on the use of digital databases. Yes. Anyway, those crazy SHARP dudes made it a sell-out gig.


Before leaving Toronto I was told I had to go to UNESCO in Paris the following week! This was to wind-up some work we’ve been doing related to the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland (this is what my SHARP paper on ‘digital databases’ was on). Had to get all the Toronto washing done pronto on returning home – you can’t go to Paris with dirty underwear, can you?

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