University staff and students take to the stage at Celtic Connections

Staff and students from Scotland’s newest University will be taking to the stage at Scotland’s most famous winter cultural festival in the New Year, Celtic Connections. Featuring a mix of music, language, history and archaeology, the University of the Highlands and Islands will showcase its students and academics to audiences gathered in Glasgow from all over the world as a proud education partner.

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University students Euan Smillie and Murray Willis perform at Celtic Connections 2012

“We’re really excited about our involvement in the programme this year,” explained James Fraser, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The partnership makes great sense as many of our courses and research outputs reflect the traditions, culture and heritage of the Highlands and Islands.

“We are delighted to increase our involvement this year during the 40th anniversary celebration of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI. It’s nearly two years since we became a university, and we hope that with academic partners of the calibre and prestige of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, we can attract potential students from the whole of Scotland and further afield to study our specialist subject areas such as history and archaeology, Gaelic and music at campuses all over the Highlands and Islands.”

The University’s varied programme of music and free lectures and discussions begins on Saturday 19th January when students will present an exciting joint project between Tobar an Dualchais - set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings - and the University to create a new musical suite to celebrate Scotland's heritage of song and music. Under the direction of Julie Fowlis, Oscar-nominated for her song Touch the Sky from the Disney-Pixar movie, Brave, and tutor Anna-Wendy Stevenson, this concert will feature cross-genre collaborations between students working on the innovative new BA (Hons) Applied Music, who are based all over the Highlands and Islands.

Three free lectures and a lively discussion on the origins of our tongue begin on Wednesday 23rd January at the BBC in Glasgow where Margaret Mary Murray, Head of service at BBC Alba, will talk about Gaelic language in the media. Dr Iain MacInnes from the University’s Centre for History presents his lecture on royal punishment of rebels, traitors and political enemies in medieval Scotland on Thursday 24th January; and on Thursday 31st January, audiences can hear Julie Gibson of the University’s Department of Archaeology present "Rising Tides: Climate change and the loss of our coastal heritage", accompanied by music composed by BA Applied Music students. Using Orkney as a case study, where one third of all known sites are threatened, Julie’s lecture will travel, island by island, looking at the loss, and showcasing some of the potential for investment. All of these lectures are FREE but are ticketed from

In addition on Wednesday 30th January, there’s a chance to exchange views with some eminent Scottish language experts, when the University’s Dr Donna Heddle, Director of the Centre for Nordic Studies and Professor Rob Dunbar, Director of Soillse, with guests Dr Christine Robinson, Director of Scottish Language Dictionaries and J Derrick McClure, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, debate the origins of Scotland’s indigenous languages.

For more information on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig @40 at Celtic Connections and the rest of 2013 go to . Tickets for all events are available at

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Alison Lochhead
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01463 279222