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Understanding the Scottish Diaspora

2014 is the Year of Homecoming, when people of Scottish descent are encouraged to return to Scotland to celebrate their ancestry and explore their roots. Scotland, like Ireland, is keen to reconnect with the Scottish diaspora: Scots and the descendants of Scots resident overseas.

Westward Around The World The Scottish Diaspora Tanja Bueltmann Northumbria UniversityDr Tanja Bueltmann’s research is part of a growing scholarship on that diaspora.  Her work exploring the role of Scottish associations and clubs in preserving Scottish identity in foreign lands has informed the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Project. The project - part of Homecoming 2014 - involves 25 communities around the world creating embroidery panels that document their Scottish connections.  As an advisor to the project, Bueltmann was able to demonstrate to the tapestry makers the importance of Scottish associations to the diaspora. This resulted in the suggestion of developing a thematic panel on Scottish associations for the Tapestry. Dr Bueltmann was able to use her Scottish community connections in New Zealand to help the tapestry team engage with this group. Bueltmann has also advised on elements of the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition currently planned as part of the commemorations of the centenary of World War 1. To enhance the exhibition visitors' understanding of the meaning of military Scottishness amongst the diaspora, the organisers wanted to explore Scottish military culture within the wider context of Scottish ethnic clubs and societies, and thus asked Dr Bueltmann to advise the project given her expertise in the field.

New York Tartan Day Parade The Scottish Diaspora Tanja Bueltmann Northumbria UniversityThe next phase of Dr Bueltmann’s public outreach work is an on-line project to collect stories from the Scottish diaspora. Using social media she is connecting with people from all over the world and inviting them through an online questionnaire to give their perspective on what Scottish identity means to them http://mystory.thescottishdiaspora.co.uk/. This project ties in with Dr Bueltmann’s ongoing research on the Scottish diaspora.

Additional Information
Scottish Diaspora Blog
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Band practice prior to New York Tartan Day Parade from scotsdiaspora on Vimeo.

Case studies


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Northumbria Research Link

Northumbria Research Link (NRL) is an open access repository of Northumbria University's research output.

The Scottish Diaspora Blog Tanja Bueltmann Northumbria University
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Scottish Diaspora Blog

The Scottish Diaspora Blog is the digital home for Dr Bueltmann's work on the Scots abroad. There are regular posts on the history of Scottish migration and the experiences of Scots abroad, as well as a number of learning resources.

Humanities Research
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Department of Humanities Research

Research in Humanities is divided across two distinct areas: English (Literature, Language and Linguistics and Creative Writing) and History. Alongside these research areas we also have our American Studies research grouping, which draws on researchers from both English Literature and History.

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