50 years of IASH in Edinburgh

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

The academic year 2019-2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Institute, and we are delighted to offer a range of events to celebrate this milestone. NetIAS members are warmly encouraged to join us for the following events:  

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

23 April 2020, Playfair Library, Old College, Edinburgh  

Our anniversary celebration meeting, to mark fifty years of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, looks back and forward by half a century to understand how the conception and practice of humanities research is developing. IASH welcomed its first Fellows in 1970 to respond to the possibility that humanities research was changing: becoming more interdisciplinary, more likely to require external funding, and likely to depend on broad international scholarly networks. The Institute was a way to realise these possibilities. IASH is now far larger and more wide-ranging than the initial model ever anticipated; it embraces the arts, law and the social sciences as well as the classical humanities, and welcomes scholars from across the globe.


But the situation of the Institute continues to develop, in part because of new possibilities and themes. Currently, IASH is strongly encouraging work in the digital humanities, calling on emerging methods to carry out and extend customary forms of humanities research and exploring endeavours which are more or less unthinkable without digital connectivity and forms of digital analysis. Many Fellows are working in the area of environmental humanities, re-examining the links between cultural practices and ecological change. Systematic attention to the environment is also part of the widening-out and recognition of diverse perspectives which has been such a key feature of change within the academy in the last fifty years. The humanities are also involved in new conversations with informatics and the natural sciences about the nature and specificity of being human and the ethical and legal innovations that may be required to handle humans’ interventions into human nature.


This celebratory meeting will therefore offer conversations about the trajectory of the humanities, arts and social sciences, and encourage anticipations towards the next fifty years to prepare IASH and the scholarly community for key trends in humanities futures. The event will feature a keynote by distinguished humanities scholar Professor Rosi Braidotti (University of Utrecht) and contributions from other guests including Fellows present and past.


Scottish Playwrights in the 21st Century

Since 2003, IASH collaborated with the Edinburgh International Festival and the Traverse Theatre to commission new works from some of Scotland’s most exciting playwrights. Creative Fellows have included Douglas Maxwell, David Harrower, Rona Munro, Jo Clifford, Linda McLean and Clare Duffy. We will celebrate our many playwrights-in-residence at a very special evening of readings during the Edinburgh Festival. The exact date in August 2020 will be confirmed soon.