The Institute for Advanced Studies 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. Beginning the following year, IASH began to host visitors, and more than 1,300 researchers and creative practitioners have since undertaken IASH Fellowships.
Today, IASH serves the 12 Schools of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences by developing people, partnerships, projects and programmes across the College and beyond.
A detailed interactive timeline of the Institute's history, including many artefacts from our extensive archive, is available at https://www.iash.ed.ac.uk/timeline. You can also read Charlotte Lauder's history of IASH in the History of Universities: Volume XXXI/2, titled Constructing Hidden Narratives: The History of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), at the University of Edinburgh, 1969–2013.
Directors of IASH
Professor William Beattie CBE, Honorary Director 1972 – 1980
Keeper of Printed Books in the National Library of Scotland 1931 – 1953; Librarian of the National Library of Scotland 1953 – 1970.
Professor David Daiches CBE, Honorary Director 1980 – 1986
Professor of English at Cornell University 1946 – 1951; Lecturer in English and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge 1951 – 1961; Professor of English at Sussex University 1961 – 1977.
Professor Peter Jones, Deputy Director 1980 – 1986, Director 1986 – 2000
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor John Frow, Director 2000 – 2004
Darnell Professor of English at the University of Queensland 1990 – 1999; Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh 2000 – 2004; Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Melbourne 2004 – 2012; Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney.
Professor Susan Manning, Director 2005 – 2013
Lecturer in English at Newnham College, Cambridge 1984 – 1999; Grierson Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh 1999 – 2013.
Professor Pauline Phemister, Deputy Director 2009 – 2012
Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Jolyon Mitchell, Acting Director 2013, Academic Director 2014 – 2016
Professor of Communications, Arts and Religion at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Jo Shaw FRSE, Director 2014 – 2017
Professor of European Law and Jean Monnet Chair of European Law and Integration at the University of Leeds 1995 – 2011; Professor of European Law and Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Manchester 2001 – 2004; Salvesen Chair of European Institutions at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Steve Yearley FRSE, Director 2017 – 2022
Director of the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum 2006 – 2013; Professor of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Lesley McAra CBE FRSE, Director 2022 –
Professor of Penology at the University of Edinburgh; Assistant Principal Community Relations.