Research Recommendations


A relational approach (focusing on strong, weak/intermittent and constructed connections) provides new insights into the ways in which people inhabited and experienced Scotland in the nineteenth century. Integrating nineteenth-century culture in Scotland into a multipolar and dynamic web of relations to understand how people inhabited and experienced Scotland in the nineteenth century, exploring Scotland’s global, national and local interrelatedness, is crucial. By engaging general audiences through work with the heritage sector (e.g. collections, museums, galleries, archives, and tourism), this will benefit society by informing debate about Scotland’s past, present, and future.


In this new world of borders and markets, the drive towards combining multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of cultures in order to better understand the critical complexities and opportunities inherent in our shifting global landscape is ever more urgent. Multi-lingual research carried out in collaboration with specialists in a particular country’s culture, history, politics, art and literature will be the starting point for new perspectives on Scotland and Europe in the long nineteenth century. Funding from Scottish funding councils will be crucial to ensure new research can be undertaken in order to pave the way for new knowledge and the understanding of Scotland’s past and present, in order to better prepare for its future.

New approaches and projects

  • Engage with interdisciplinary research
  • Foster collaborative research
  • Give attention to under-used sources
  • Connect local practices with global developments

Sample research questions

How did ideas circulate, and how was circulation influenced by, for instance, language learning, translation, spaces of sociability (literary salons; cafés; societies), migration, print culture, including ephemera (posters; postcards) and life writing?

  • To what extent did people negotiate tensions—played out also elsewhere—in relation to transnational literary and political movements, national allegiances, and religious conflict?
  • How did local traditions and transnational practices inform the performing arts?
  • How far were nationalistic and internationalist strategies consciously harnessed—through great exhibitions, major infrastructures, touring performers—to showcase people’s place(s) in the world?
  • By what mechanisms did different places engage in scientific, medical, technological and philosophical exchange?
  • In what ways did leading figures in medicine, science and technology engage with civil society and how were the new ideas and practices disseminated and absorbed in difference geographical and cultural contexts?
  • What perceptions were held of Scotland and Europe in relation to health or scientific knowledge at this time, and how far did these bespeak modern-day concerns about science, morality, the nature of progress and the importance of transnational collaboration for the common good?
  • How did people experience landscape and position themselves within this with regards to nature?