Scottish associational culture in Africa in the early 20th century

In Africa, like elsehwere around the globe, Scottish clubs and societies were a common development soon after the first foot fall of Scots on the continent. Contrary to popular assumption, and while there was a strong concentration, such associations were not restricted to southern Africa. By the early twentieth century we find societies in Salisbury Read More

Tartan Day

‘We are the better Americans for the Scottish heritage.’ John Foord’s assessment in the foreword to Black’s exploration of the Scots’ role in making America is clearly celebratory in tone, but nonetheless has currency. At an official level, the importance of the Scottish contribution to the development of America was acknowledged in 1998, when a group of Scottish Americans, supported Read More

The St Andrew’s Society of New York

In North America St Andrew’s societies were at the heart of Scottish club culture. These societies were not simply set up, however, to offer migrants a means to interact socially, or to celebrate Scottish culture. At the core of the activities of St Andrew’s societies lay the provision of charity for fellow Scottish migrants in Read More

Scottish emigrant letters from New Zealand

George MacDonald’s mother started writing to her son, who had emigrated to New Zealand, in 1885. That, commented his sister Margaret, who was also communicating with her brother, was a complete novelty in itself since their mother had never sent a letter before. The mother’s desire to maintain communication with her son helped her overcome Read More

The monumental poet: Burns statues in New Zealand

Throughout this week and over the weekend many a Scot around the world will join in a toast to Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns. But Burns is not only remembered through these toasts, there are also a good number of visible reminders, with statues of the poet traceable all over the world, from Vancouver in Read More

Join me Down Under

Interested in the history of Scottish migration and the migrants’ community life and culture after arrival? Then come and join me to learn more. Hokitika, 3 February 2016 Talk: ‘Scottish Migration to the West Coast’, followed by walk to Burns statue on Cass Square for a twilight poetry session 7pm, Carnegie Gallery, Hokitika Museum click Read More

The role of migrant networks

Networks served as risk minimisers and sources of comfort, two purposes that can already be traced in relation to the voyage out. George Sutherland, for instance, wrote positively about the presence of fellow Scots aboard his ship heeaded for New Zealand; he was especially pleased to learn of the ship’s six Scottish engineers: ‘none’, wrote Read More

Happy St Andrew’s Day 2015

St Andrew’s Ball’s have been celebrated around the world since the nineteenth century, with a few earlier examples pointing to the ball’s roots. I have written about these balls in detail – in fact, an image of a St Andrew’s Ball is on the cover of my last book. It was, therefore, a particular pleasure Read More

It’s a winner! Saltire Society Research Book of the Year

I am absolutely delighted that Clubbing Together has been selected as the winner of this year’s Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award—my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Saltire Society and also my publisher, Liverpool University Press. Clubbing Together is my first book after the one stemming from my PhD, and, as such, Read More

Saltire Literary Award showcase, Dundee

I was thrilled to hear a little while ago that my latest book, Clubbing Together, has been shortlisted for a 2015 Saltire Literary Award in the ‘Research Book of the Year’ category. This year there are a number of shortlist showcases throughout Scotland – a collaboration between the Saltire Sociaty and Waterstones – and I was Read More

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