My PhD thesis (successfully examined Dec 2013) bridges the gap between medieval and early modern to provide the first long-term study of continuity and change in representations of Scottish royal authority through three key royal ceremonies: inaugurations/coronations, funerals, and weddings (with consort coronations). It places these ceremonies within the complexities of their political context, including frequent minor accessions, early violent deaths, absentee kingship, Anglo-Scot and Scotto-European relations, cultural movements, and political and religious upheavals in Scotland from 1214 to 1603 to address the gaping holes in the Scottish historiography of ceremony.
The scope of the study has also provided the framework for a diverse range of further research into royal ceremony and its place as an essential platform for the dissemination of royal power. Subsequent projects will take a variety of directions including a multi-faceted investigation of Scottish ambassadorial interaction and the ‘king abroad’. This research would explore avenues such as the ceremonial and political interactions of medieval Scottish monarchs in England such as Alexander III and Margaret (c.1250–1275) and David II following his captivity in the fourteenth century, as well as the impact of both short and long term English and European entourages in Scotland.
It is also hoped that a monograph focusing on the Stewart dynasty and their rising prominence on the wider European stage would be later proposed to Ashgate’s Society of European Renaissance Festivals Research Monograph Series (working title: Ambassadors, Entourages and Monarchs Abroad: The ‘Front Line’ of Royal Stewart Representations of Authority, 1371–1590). A preliminary case study for this aspect of the project is being undertaken for a conference paper to be presented at Kings and Queens 3 (Winchester, July 2014) on the ambassadors and entourage of James V in France in 1536-7.
Other potential projects/ avenues I'd like to explore include a fuller exploration of the use of space in ceremonial, the use of ceremony in minorities and during prolonged absentee monarchy, the role of the herald in ceremony through a comprehensive survey of the heraldic manuscripts, and an exploration of the more ‘everyday’ local level royal ceremony in Scotland, such as traversing the realm, justice ayres, and religious and seasonal festivals.
As well as studying at Stirling I was the co-chairperson of the History and Politics Postgraduate Society from Sept 2010 – Sept 2012. With fellow postgrad, Katherine Buchanan, we organised two workshops (June 2011/Feb 2012) followed by a two day conference (held Aug 2012) on the subject of ‘Representations of Authority’ in the widest sense. We are now co-editing a collection of essays inspired by the conference, which includes both speakers and invited contributors, titled 'Medieval and Early Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and Britain' (forthcoming with Ashgate in 2015). I have also been involved with two online journals and undertaken a range of teaching assistant work.
My research interests include History, Ceremony, Ritual and Performance, Art History, Kingship (Medieval History), Queenship (Medieval History), Queenship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Scottish History, Scottish Culture, Scottish music, Medieval Scottish Literature, Medieval Tournaments, Cultural Studies, Social History, Courts and Elites (History), Pageantry, Mayoral Shows, Civic Processions, Royal Entries, Cultural History, European History, Early Modern History, Historiography, Narrative, Parliamentary Studies, Scottish Literature, Medieval Chronicles, Absolutism, and Court Studies