IASH at 50


UPDATE Monday 16 March 2020

With great regret, we have taken the decision to cancel the IASH 50th Anniversary Symposium Humanities of the Future: perspectives from the past and present, along with the associated reunion celebrations from 23 to 25 April.

Due to the ongoing global spread of COVID-19, not least causing the withdrawal of numerous international delegates, we have taken the decision to cancel the symposium. However, we are still hopeful that the research due to be presented can be made accessible to Fellows, alumni, supporters and the wider public. In the first instance, we are pursuing options to video record, edit and present the papers via our YouTube channel or other online portals. We are also planning to go ahead with the publication of papers as an edited collection, printed under our 'Occasional Papers' banner.

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities was founded in 1969 within the then Faculty of Arts at the University of Edinburgh by Professor John MacQueen, Professor of Scottish Literature and Oral Tradition and Professor Conrad Hal Waddington, Professor of Animal Genetics. In 1970, IASH began to host visitors, and more than 1,200 researchers and creative practitioners from around the world have since undertaken IASH Fellowships.
The academic year 2019-2020 therefore marks the 50th anniversary of the Institute, and we are delighted to offer a wide range of events to celebrate this milestone:

Humanities of the Future: perspectives from the past and present: a symposium and IASH reunion

23rd to 25th April 2020

All IASH alumni are invited to join us for a three-day celebration of the humanities. Events include a one-day conference at the historic Playfair Library on Thursday 23rd April 2020, a reunion dinner, visits to IASH (both at Hope Park Square and our former home at 17 Buccleuch Place), a concert at St Cecilia's Hall, presentations by current IASH Fellows, an exhibition of material drawn from our extensive archive, and much more. Registration is now open for Fellows and alumni of IASH for the 50th Anniversary Symposium and IASH Reunion.

 All activities, including the Symposium Dinner and Ceilidh, are free to attend. If you will be accompanied by partners, guests, family or friends, please complete the form for each person individually, so we have all necessary information about dietary and access requirements.

The draft programme of events across the three days is available here.

A list of suggested accommodation in Edinburgh is available here.

Registration for the Symposium and associated activities is now closed.



Fellows in the garden of 17 Buccleuch Place


IASH@50: an Oral History of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

From its earliest days under Professor William Beattie, IASH has served as a springboard for scholars from around the world. We have collected the stories and successes of the IASH community since 1970. Contributions have included memories, photographs, reflections and anecdotes. Please enjoy our online oral history timeline.

I may have been the youngest Fellow and the only American at the Institute in 1973, invited there to complete a project on Old English poetry that was meant to evolve into a book. I did complete the first chapter, published as an article in 1975, picked up and republished in 1978, and the core of my 1980 applicant’s lecture for a permanent position at UC Davis, where I’ve been ever since. But that particular book was never completed as I moved on to write many other books and articles, mostly on medieval English subjects. My IASH Fellowship was a huge step up into a long and successful academic career, and my gratitude to the Institute is profound.

Professor Marijane Osborn, Visiting Research Fellow 1973


50th Anniversary Fellowship

In September 2019, we launched a new Fellowship scheme to mark the anniversary. One Junior Anniversary Fellow and one Senior Anniversary Fellow will be appointed each year to conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and / or social sciences. If you would like to support the scheme, please contact the Development & Alumni Office at supporter@ed.ac.uk or on +44 (0)131 650 2240.