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Northumbria University Public Lecture Series: Professor Tanja Bueltmann

Northumbria University


Professor Tanja Bueltmann, Professor in History, Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University

Design Building, City Campus East, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Refreshments will be available from 6pm.

Title: Global English, Global Scots: Migration, Ethnicity and Association


While ‘Global Britain’ is a slogan cited often at the moment, people from the constituent nations of the UK have shown great wanderlust for centuries. During the nineteenth-century age of mass migration, migrants from the UK were - in their millions – going out into the world as adventurers, economic migrants and exiles. They took their skills, language and cultural practices with them in the same way migrants do today, making home in new worlds. The forming of ethnic associations, such as St Andrew’s and St George’s societies, quickly became a defining characteristic of the English and Scottish immigrant communities they built around the world. This was a world that was connected: it was through ethnic clubs - and the networks and links they enabled - that both the English and Scots became global. They were citizens of the world, using their ethnicity to establish diasporas.

Within this wider context this lecture charts comparatively the nature, extent and character of English and Scottish ethnic societies in what scholars call the British World. The lecture explores the associations’ main activities, including their charitable work; collective mutual aid; and their national celebration. In particular, the lecture will show that, while ethnic societies at heart, these associations served a range of much wider civic, political and social functions. In combination, the history of these clubs can also inform our thinking about present-day UK identity politics at home.

About the Speaker

Tanja studied at the Universities of Bielefeld (Germany) and Edinburgh for her MA in British Cultural Studies, History and Sociology, and then moved to New Zealand to pursue her doctoral research on the country's Scottish immigrant community. Funded by the New Zealand government, Tanja completed her PhD at Victoria University of Wellington at the end of 2008. Returning to Europe thereafter, Tanja was appointed to join the History team at Northumbria University in early 2009 and was promoted to Professor in History in 2017.

As a historian of migration and diaspora, Tanja’s main research interests are in the cultural and social history of Scottish, English and German immigrant communities. Tanja has long since been keen to engage the wider public with her research, and works with community groups and museums around the world to do so, particularly through a long-standing collaboration with the National Museum of Scotland. Tanja is a prolific commentator on wider social and political issues on migration, and has written for the Guardian and the Conversation among others. 

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Event Details

Northumbria University
Design Building
City Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne


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