Event – film screening and panel discussion

THE LAST STORYTELLER (2002) Written and Directed by Desmond Bell  (52 min)
Event date: Friday 17 February
Time:  13:00
Location: G.03, 50 George Square


Synopsis :  An imaginative look at the tradition of folk lore collection in Ireland in which film maker, IASH Fellow Des Bell draws upon the magic of silent cinema to retell some of the uncanny tales collected by  Sean O Eochaidh for the Irish Folk Lore Commission.

There will be a panel discussion after the screening.

Louise Milne, art historian and film maker, holds posts at Edinburgh College of Art and in the Film School at Edinburgh Napier University. She is the author of ‘Carnivals and Dreams; Pieter Bruegel and the history of the imagination’.

Liv Willumesen is Professor of History at the University of Tromsoe in Norway. She is a witchcraft scholar and the author of ‘Witches of the North. Scotland and Finnmark’

Desmond Bell, film maker and cultural theorist, is a visiting fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. His film ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’ was selected for the World Film festival, Montreal and broadcast on Irish television.

Margaret MacKay (Chair) , is Honorary Fellow in Celtic and Scottish Studies and the University of Edinburgh and has extensive fieldwork experience of folklore collection.

The film represented Ireland in the 2003 Venice International Film Festival and was screened on RTE television.

Organised by Celtic and Scottish Studies and IASH


Shamanism and Cunning Folk
Traditional and Modern Perspectives                                  shaman

31st October 2015

Edinburgh College of Art, Main Building, J.05



10:00 – 10:30: Registration and tea / coffee

10:30: Louise Milne University of Edinburgh
The Restructuring of the Self in Shamanic Visions

11:15: Jenny Butler University College Cork
Cunning Folk in the Irish Context: Wise Women,
Fairy Doctors and the Consequences of Contact with the Otherworld

12:00: Magnus Course University of Edinburgh
Changelings: alterity beyond difference

12:45 – 14:00: Lunch break

14:00: Maria Magdolna Tatár Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, Oslo
Fighting Evil in Rivalry between Lamas and Shamans

14:45: Lidia Guzy University College Cork
Gurumai tradition of Koraput: Shamanism of Middle India

15:30: James Kapalo University College Cork
“This dream is the dream of the Mother of God” Dreaming and Charming in Contemporary Gagauziya

16:15 – 17:30: Discussion

New session – 1st Talk

22 September 2014

Conference Room, 27 George Square

5.15 pm

Speaker: Martha McGill

Subject:  “The Folkloric Ghost in Early Modern Scotland.”


From the ethereal wraith to the corpse-like revenant, the ghosts of

early modern Scotland varied widely. This talk will explore the

diverse roles they played in popular culture, making use of the

fragmentary evidence from ballads, court records, pamphlet literature

and folklorists’ accounts. It will consider the differences between

Lowland and Highland ghosts, and look at how ghosts intertwined with

phenomena such as witches, fairies and second sight apparitions. Elite

discourses on ghosts evolved significantly between the Reformation and

the nineteenth century, and the talk will also analyse how (or

whether) popular stories changed as a result. An under-researched

topic, ghosts offer a valuable window into early modern religion and

folk culture.


Martha McGill is a fourth-year PhD History student, working on a

thesis entitled ‘Ghosts in Enlightenment Scotland’.

Afterwards will going for dinner at Vittoria on George IV Bridge and

attendees of the talk are most welcome to join us.