Digging into the past

Fellows Bookshelf

An update from interns Katie Graham and Sarah Thew:

KATIE: Now that we’re fully settled into our internships here at IASH, I thought I’d take a brief opportunity to update everyone on what exactly Sarah and I have been up to. The initial stage of preparation for the upcoming 50th anniversary in 2020 has mainly focused on creating a master database of Fellows’ information. This is to ensure all the information IASH holds is up-to-date to ensure everyone is invited to the celebrations and to commemorate all the incredible things Fellows of IASH get up to after their time in Edinburgh.

One thing I have found particularly striking is the vast range of research that has taken place here, with topics covering every corner of the humanities. It has been fantastic to look into the successes of IASH’s alumni and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the development of IASH over the years, and the growth of academia more generally, by looking through some of the Fellows’ work. I have also enjoyed experiencing some of this work in progress through the weekly ‘work-in-progress’ talks, which in just four short weeks have covered everything from the process of becoming a Tamil Tiger in Sri Lanka to the investigation into some interesting African objects held at the National Museum of Scotland (and many interesting topics in-between). I look forward to attending more stimulating talks over the remainder of my time here, and to interacting with many more of the incredible Fellows and staff of IASH.

SARAH: During my first two weeks here, I spent my time sorting through the boxes of ex-Fellows’ files, some of which dated as far back as the 1950s.  I also put aside personal letters, cards and photographs from past Fellows reflecting on their time at IASH. The hope is that these could potentially be used for a display or presentation during the anniversary celebrations. Although it was a long process of sorting, scanning and re-cataloguing these files, it was also fascinating to be able to look back through the history of the Institute and discover some of the academics who have visited and studied here from all over the world.  A particularly interesting find was a letter dated from late March 1986, which actually mentioned the Institute moving from Buccleuch Place to its current residence here at Hope Park Square!

I am now currently working on updating the Fellows spreadsheet with Katie. We each have 623 Fellows to work through, so fingers crossed we get finished in time! Although this keeps us busy, we have still found time to attend the weekly Fellows’ lunches and Work-in-Progress talks. These have allowed us the chance to build on our networking skills and give us the opportunity to listen to some fascinating discussions on a range of topics by Fellows from across the academic spectrum.