Creative Economies Engagement Fellowships

Creative Economies Engagement Fellowships

The Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH), is delighted to announce the launch of an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded initiative – The Creative Economies Engagement Fellowships. SGSAH will appoint between three and six fellows to this scheme from six exciting projects detailed below.

These fellowships are funded through the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) and aim to:

  • support the career development of talented early career researchers and nurture future leaders
  • support the broader skills development of high-calibre recent doctoral graduates or early career post-doctoral researchers in the arts and humanities, particularly in relation to working with creative economy partners to support the wider impact of research
  • support projects which will contribute to the Creative Economy; and
  • support research which is cross-disciplinary, collaborative and innovation-oriented.

Application Process:

Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae with details of three references and covering letter (no more than three pages) outlining how they meet the criteria for this project. Applications should be submitted to

The closing date for applications is midnight on Wednesday 12th December 2018.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be on Monday 7th January 2019.

Celtic Art Futures

Project title: Celtic Art Futures

Employing organisation: University of Stirling

Academic PI: Dr Sally Foster, History

Partner: Groam House Museum

Duration: 6 months

Project Brief

The University of Stirling is offering a Fellowship opportunity to facilitate new engagements with Celtic Art for the creative industries, with a specific focus on collaboration between individual craftspeople and the museum sector. It will expand the cultural and creative ecosystems and places that support the creative sector, linking an HEI, non-academic institution (Groam House Museum) and individuals. The emphasis will be on Scotland and independent craftspeople, but wider learning points are envisaged.

Through replication, reworking and re-invention of early medieval sculptures, metalwork and manuscripts, ‘Celtic Art’ has spawned imitations across the world, not least in its British and Irish homelands. The challenge is that many of the products are poor quality, and often regarded as kitsch. The meanings people attach to these commodified Celtic designs are also often bound up with local and political identities. But what might it mean for such an art form to find a market in the twenty-first century beyond that of tourist boutiques, the sentimental needs of the diaspora, neo-pagans and the far right (Williams 2017)? We do not understand how such Celtic art is perceived by contemporary artists, craftspeople and industrial designers, or the people who buy, use and live with their products.

To what extent is modern interpretation of the symbology shaping and limiting what is produced, and for whom? How can artists have inspirational encounters with the original art objects that might enable greater individual creativity, skill and talent, and a new generation of products and buyers that are empowered to look at Scotland’s traditional Celtic art in a new light? The aim of this Fellowship is to revitalise creativity, innovation and productivity by facilitating new engagements with Celtic Art for the creative industries.

Full Specification

Digitisation Strategy for Shetland Museum’s Recognised Textile Collection

Project Title: Digitisation Strategy for Shetland Museum’s Recognised Textile Collection

Employing Organisation: University of Glasgow

Academic PI: Professor Lynn Abrams, History

Partners Organisation: Shetland Museum and Archives

Project brief

In 2013 Shetland Museum was awarded national recognition for its Textile Collection, comprised mainly of 19th and 20th century knitwear and woven fabrics. This collection is in demand by designers, makers, historians, and the general public as a source of inspiration, enjoyment and craft development and learning. As yet the collection remains publicly inaccessible in digital formats.

This project assesses whether it is possible to design appropriate digitisation strategy(ies) for medium and small rural museums which work in harmony with individual collections, limited resources and local creative economies and craft practices. 

An initial assessment of Shetland Museum and Archives’ recent acquisition of two large and nationally important textile donations has raised questions as to the most appropriate digitisation framework for local cultural and living heritage collections. Many small museums remain unsure of the best way to proceed with the digitisation of living heritage collections and uncertain as to how the strategies adopted by larger organisations are relevant to them.

This project, focusing on the textile collections of Shetland museums, offers an ideal opportunity to investigate and assess the impact of digitisation on rural museums holding living heritage collections. The findings of the investigation will be disseminated as a framework, or template, from which small rural museums, in the early stages of their digitisation planning, can maximise content creation, sharing and use, as well as realise their own organisational objectives.

Full Specification

Framing heritage through play: Gameful design for place-making in urban environments

Project title: Framing heritage through play: Gameful design for place-making in urban environments

Employing organisation: University of Glasgow

Academic PI: Dr Michael Given, Archaeology

Partner: Edinburgh World Heritage

Project brief 

This fellowship project will investigate the implementation of gameful design practice in a community-focused heritage context and will examine whether game-like experiences have the capacity to deliver and enhance essential characteristics of a dynamic heritage (Silverman et al, 2017). How can game-like experiences stimulate new forms of engagement with neglected heritage?

The Fellow will partner with Edinburgh World Heritage to use gameful design principles and methods to design experimental digital interventions which allow new forms of engagement with heritage at Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh. This is an urban burial ground with a history of vandalism and anti-social behaviour, and is viewed as an ‘at-risk’ site (

The Fellow will work closely with Edinburgh World Heritage and will use gameful design principles to design a mobile application that uses immersive audio to deliver social experiences. The game will be based in the graveyard of Greyfriars, but will be translatable to other heritage sites. The platform will include an interface that can be used by future researchers to include new data. The project will promote knowledge exchange between commercial, heritage sector and academic partners by promoting the outputs of this research via a dedicated project website.

Full Specification

From Measurement to Learning in Heritage, Health and Wellbeing: Innovative Approaches for Improving Understanding and Productivity.

Project title: From Measurement to Learning in Heritage, Health and Wellbeing: Innovative Approaches for Improving Understanding and Productivity.

Employing organisation: University of Stirling

Academic PI: Professor Sian Jones, Environmental History & Heritage

Partner: Historic Environment Scotland

Project Brief

The University of Stirling is offering a Fellowship opportunity in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland to explore the relationship between heritage, health and wellbeing. The project will question how the unique tangible and intangible relationships between people and historic environments contribute to health, wellbeing and productivity. As an overarching theme, the Fellowship will ask how innovative and critical approaches to conceptualising and measuring these complex relationships may be developed in future.

The relationship between health, wellbeing and culture has gained prominence on the agendas of governments and cultural organisations over the past ten years. However, much work remains to be done around measuring and evaluation, particularly in terms of integrating quantitative and qualitative data, and ‘subjective’ wellbeing assessments with frameworks that attempt ‘objective’ measures. Multi-level governance and the divergence between UK and Scottish government frameworks (economic productivity versus ‘inclusive growth’) creates further complexity in terms of how productivity and sustainability are understood, as well as the link between culture and wellbeing.

The aim of this Fellowshipis therefore to explore the links between heritage, health and wellbeing, with a specific focus on the historic environment and people’s relationships to place. It will provide an opportunity to take stock of existing evidence and to develop innovative frameworks for evaluation and learning, including integrating quantitative and qualitative data. In the process it will be important to critically engage with how the links between heritage, wellbeing and productivity are conceived in current frameworks. Ultimately the Fellowship aims to provide an assessment of current evidence to increase understanding and inform future research, thus contributing to more productive approaches to health and wellbeing in the heritage sector.

Full Specification

Future Heritage: Mobilising Cultural Assets through Youth Engagement and Digital Artefacts

Project title: Mobilising Cultural Assets through Youth Engagement and Digital Artefacts

Employing organisation: Glasgow School of Art

Academic PI: Dr Lynn-Sayers McHattie, Innovation School

Partner: Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Duration: 10 months at 0.6 FTE

Project Brief

This Fellowship aims to explore the relationship between design-led innovation and cultural traditions with a focus on engaging with young people to develop contextually located ‘future heritage’. The project seeks to reimagine “heritage assets” as digital artefacts that embody and express cultural assets and support their ongoing innovation as future heritage.

Working in partnership with GSA and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and in collaboration with cultural heritage organisations, the Fellow will develop the future heritage research agenda through applying a participatory design approach. In line with this, youth engagement is a core objective of the Scottish Government (2018a), supporting organisations to involve young people in local and national decision making. Seeking to develop innovative perspectives on future heritage in rural and island economies, the project will engage with young people living in the Highlands and Islands and support them to innovate heritage assets from across the region. Recognising the precarious nature of heritage assets and the tacit knowledge embedded in local communities, the project positions digital technology and specifically, a heritage-centred exploration of the digital domain as a means of interweaving young people’s reflections on the past, insights from the present, and aspirations for the future. In addressing these innovation challenges the project is framed around the following potential research questions:

Thematically concerned with unpacking the role of heritage in placemaking, the Fellow will investigate how young people’s experiences of and interactions with cultural heritage can support innovative approaches to reinterpret, reimagine, and redesign such assets with relevance for wider audiences and publics towards transforming, empowering, and sustaining Scottish society through culture (The Scottish Government, 2018b). In this manner heritage assets can operate as a conduit beyond economic models to facilitate relational exchanges in communities towards the revitalisation of local economies.

Full Specification

Playing in the Archives: Game development with Aberdeen’s medieval records

Project title: Playing in the Archives: Game development with Aberdeen’s medieval records

Employing organisation: University of Aberdeen

Academic PI: Dr Jackson Armstrong, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy

Partner: Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives

Hours of Work: Full-time for six months or part-time pro rata (to be agreed upon offer of appointment)

Contract type: Fixed term, funding limited

Project Brief

This Fellowship explores the interaction between archival heritage and gaming technology. Working in partnership with University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, with mentoring support from Intelligent Plant, a digital services company, the Fellow will investigate how Aberdeen’s UNESCO-designated medieval records can reach new audiences online and world- wide through engagement with the digital sector and the video games industry. The main objective is to build partnerships for follow-on projects with commercial potential, while exploring how games designers access historical information.

A major digital humanities research project Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers has recently completed a digital transcription of these records covering the period 1398-1511 ( The Fellow will explore gaming development as a way of widening access to this archival heritage particularly among young people.In the UK, an estimated 32.4 million people play videogames. This represents a large audience that heritage organisations can reach through games. Game-players are likely to be receptive to history based on the prevalence of historical and pseudo-historical settings in games. This project aims to highlight the ability of games to make people think about history in new ways, and Scottish history in particular is an excellent vehicle for this as it is already proven to generate worldwide interest, not least in broadcast media.

In order to build partnerships for follow-on projects with commercial potential, the Fellow will collaborate with Scotland’s game creators using the rich digital resource from Aberdeen’s archives, and use games to engage this new audience of visitors to Aberdeen with its medieval heritage. In developing the project in line with his/her interests and career development the Fellow will build a suite of outlines of potential games based on or inspired by Aberdeen’s medieval records, and explore the scope for engagement with tourism in the city through gaming while investigating how games designers access historical information.

Full Specification