There are some fairly obvious ways to make contacts in the academic world, and then there are some downright strange ones. In 1998 I was doing the Masters work that led to my infamous Pictish paper, and in doing this I was working steadily through James Bannerman’s Studies in the History of Dalriada (Edinburgh 1974), which is really quite important. For various domestic reasons I was trying to work at home as much as possible so I had it on loan from the Cambridge University Library, and it got recalled, which is a service they provide if you need a book that someone else has borrowed. So I gave it back and once I could stand it no longer recalled it myself, after a day or two of which it got recalled again. At this point I was pretty sure, firstly that someone else was working on a topic close to mine, and secondly that this would be a damn sight easier if we were in actual contact and could organise round the book, so this time when I took it back I left a note with my e-mail address on tucked into the book. A few days later, accordingly, I got a mail from the other user, who turned out to be she who is now Dr Clare Downham of the University of Aberdeen. I have never actually met Dr Downham but our acquaintance persists very vaguely and consequently, I assume, she has asked if I would plug a conference that she’s organising. I’m very happy so to do, and as their entire website appears to be a Word document, I reproduce it here. I shan’t be able to go myself: the weekend after Leeds, and a prior trip nearly as far north, is going to have to be a home one. It looks good, though, and if you’re nearby or interested in such things I imagine you may want to know. How you actually find out more or register, I’m not entirely sure, as there is no such information on what I’ve been given, but Dr Downham would presumably be the person to contact. Here it is anyway:
The Celtic Department at the University of Aberdeen in conjunction with the ‘Friends of the Book of Deer’
22nd-23rd July 2009
‘Cultural Icons of Medieval Scotland’
public lecture and conference
This event will highlight the cultural achievements of the medieval North and the objects which help us define the identity and early history of Scotland.
22nd July, 6pm, Public Lecture: King’s College (KCG8)
David Dumville (Aberdeen) The Book of Deer: A monument of North-Eastern book production?
23rd July, 8.45-9.15 am, Conference registration, James McKay Hall, King’s College – free of charge – all welcome
(Exact titles of papers to be confirmed nearer the time)
Session 1: Chair – Alan Cameron (Book of Deer Project)
9.15 Alex Woolf (St Andrews) Introduction: Cultural Icons of Medieval Scotland
9.30 Heather Pulliam (Edinburgh) The Book of Deer and Pictish Art
10.00 Dauvit Broun (Glasgow) Gaelic notes in the Book of Deer
Session 2: Chair – Colm O’Boyle (Aberdeen)
11.10 Ewan Campbell (Glasgow) The Stone of Destiny
11.40 Jane Geddes (Aberdeen) The Pictish Stones of St Vigeans, Angus
12.10 Raghnall Ó Floinn (National Museum of Ireland) The Monymusk Reliquary
13.00 Lunch break
Session 3: Chair – Sally Foster (Historic Scotland)
14.15 Susan Youngs (Oxford) St Ninian’s Isle Hoard, Shetland
14.45 Gareth Williams (British Museum) Skaill silver hoard, Orkney
Session 4: Chair – Alastair Macdonald (Aberdeen)
16.00 Ted Cowan (Glasgow) Declaration of Arbroath
16.30 Peter Davidson/Jane Stevenson (Aberdeen) Aberdeen Breviary
17.15 Louise Yeoman (BBC) Closing remarks
17.30 End of Conference
This conference is sponsored by the Research Institute of Irish-Scottish Studies, Aberdeen; and The Friends of the Book of Deer.
Note: All lecture halls and facilities are on ground floor level and are accessible for wheel chair users.