Death In Scotland Conference Review

The conference was a wonderful experience, so many fantastic talks and so much thought provoking discussion. I met so many interesting people from many fields and I must commend the attendees for creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in which to share research and encourage interdisciplinary co-operation.

Below is a list of the panels, lectures and sessions I attended:


Plenary Lecture
Professor Jane Dawson
‘”With one foot in the grave”: death in life and life in death in Reformation Scotland’ 

Parallel Sessions
Session 2: Royal deaths: representation and the manipulation of memory

2.1 Professor Nigel Llewellyn
‘Migration and Communication: Monuments to Scots in early seventeenth century England’

2.2 Tiffany Christensen
‘The Scottish Right: The Mary Queen of Scots monument and the Inception of Scottishness’

2.3 Dr Victoria Whitworth
‘The King who died in Kirkwall: The life, death and afterlife of King Hakon IV of Norway’

Parallel Sessions
Session 3: Royal and aristocratic deaths: representation in art and literature

3.1 Dr Terri Sabatos
‘The Memorial of James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray: Murder, memory and bloodfeud in early modern Scotland’

3.2 Claire Harrill
‘Queen Margaret and Saint Margaret: The Death of a Queen and the Birth of a Saint’

Plenary Panel
‘Children’s Deaths’
Mr John Birrell, Mrs Angela Dunn, Rev. Dr Mark Newitt and Dr Julie Rugg (Chair)


Plenary Lecture
Professor Richard Fawcett
‘The Architectural setting of prayers for the dead in later medieval Scotland’

Parallel Sessions
Session 7: Archaeological accounts of the dead in Edinburgh and Irvine

7.1 Dr John A. Lawson (co-author Dr Sorina Spanou unable to attend)
‘Recent excavations of Medieval and Post-Medieval urban cemeteries in Edinburgh’

7.2 Ruth Whyte
‘ Life and death at Cunningham Poorhouse: Osteological Study’

Parallel Sessions
Session 8: Funerals of the elite: rituals, academia and material culture
8.1 Professor Andrew Spicer
‘The Material Culture of Funerals in Early Modern Scotland

8.2 Dr Lucy H. S. Dean
‘Processions, Vigils and Knightly Accoutrements: Some Aspects of Scottish  Royal Funeral Ceremonial, c. 1214 – 1542’

8.3 Miles Kerr Peterson
‘An Academic Response to Death: Marischal College’s Funeral Oration for George Keith, the 4th Earl Marischal, 1623’

Parallel Sessions
Session 11: Death and disposal: cremation, architecture and medical history

11.1 Professor Hillary J. Grainger
‘Private Perspectives: The Architecture and Design of Scottish Crematoria 1975-2011’

11.2 Dr Megan Coyer
‘The Medicalisation of Death in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine

11.3 Dr Glenys Caswell
‘Indigent funerals in 21st century Scotland’

Plenary Lecture
Professor Sarah Tarlow
‘Beliefs about bodies: contradictions and conundrums in Early Modern Scotland’

Parallel Sessions
Session 12
: Looking anew at the monuments and landscape of Govan Old 

12.1 Professor Stephen T. Driscoll
‘Home is where the Hoggie is; Creating the Royal Cemetery at Strathclyde in Govan’

12.2 Dr Susan Buckham
‘The significance of Govan Old as a burial landscape’


Parallel Sessions
Session 16: Death and identity: nationhood in Scotland and its Diaspora

16.1 Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell (co-author Dr. Brenda Appleby unable to attend?)
‘Markers of Ethnicity: The Immigrant Scots and Cemeteries in Northeastern Nova Scotia

16.2 Hilda Maclean
‘Gilding the thistle: Amplification of Scots identity in Australian Cemeteries’

16.3 Kirsten Carter-McKee
‘The memorial landscape of Carlton Hill: Public and Private commemoration’

Plenary Lecture
Dr Lizanne Henderson
‘Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead; Robert Kirk’s Lychnobious People’

Plenary Panel
Summary and Avenues for future research
Dr Arnar Arnarson, Professor Stephen Driscoll, Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Sarah Tarlow (Chair)

If anyone would like a copy of my notes from these talks, please send me an email. Do note that any errors in these notes are likely to be my own in recording what was said/misunderstanding the data, rather than any fault of the researcher! Similarly I would love to read notes from the sessions I could not attend, so if anyone has some they would be happy to share, please get in touch!

I also excited to hear that publication of the papers from last year’s conference is in the pipeline and that there is likely to be a third Death in Scotland conference next year. Perhaps I shall have completed my research at Glasgow Necropolis in time to submit an abstract to present at that one…

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the organisation of the conference, especially Peter Jupp; to whom I wish a speedy recovery and the best of health. Also to Susan Buckham, who did a fantastic job of stepping into the breach and ensuring that the whole event went smoothly.

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