Season 3 of the Celtic Students Podcast: Some Reflections

    The third season of the Celtic Students Podcast has come to an end and I am happy to be able to reflect in this blog post on what has been a fantastic season. Once again, the podcast has brought together students, academics and community members to discuss a wide range of topics relating to Celtic Studies. The diversity of places, themes and sectors mentioned across the season reflects the wide approach to Celtic Studies that the Association of Celtic Students promotes. This approach is one centered on the Celtic languages and all aspects of their use past and present. In keeping with our commitment to promoting these languages, this season has featured bilingual episodes with Cornish, Manx and Irish, as well as poetry reading in Welsh. This has allowed speakers of these languages to hear more content in their language, while allowing people who are less familiar with the languages but who can understand English to hear them being spoken and gain that familiarity. While this is a feature of the podcast we are always looking to develop, I am glad that listeners will be able to hear Irish, Manx, Cornish and Welsh this season. We are delighted with the continued engagement with and support for our podcast that has been shown throughout the season. We have reached the huge milestone of 10,000 total plays as a podcast, which is a massive achievement.

    Now that the season is finished, I thought it would be good to provide a recap for our blog readers, with a link to each episode. I recommend catching up on any episodes you may have missed!

    In Episode 1, Kensa Broadhurst (PhD Student, Exeter University) interviewed Mark Trevethan, who is Cornish Language Lead at Cornwall Council. In this bilingual episode in Cornish and English, we were introduced to Mark’s role and the various projects he is involved with to promote Cornish from the Council. It is a fantastic episode for those interested in language promotion and revitalisation, particularly in Cornwall.

    In Episode 2, Thyra van Veen interviewed Britt van Asselt and Pierre Faure, who both recently finished their master’s research in Celtic Studies at Utrecht University. Britt and Pierre told us about the process of completing their master’s theses and share some of their results surrounding Early Ireland and Middle Breton. This episode is perfect for those interested in studying for a master’s degree in Celtic Studies.

    In Episode 3, Erin McNulty (PhD Student, University of Glasgow) interviewed Isla Callister, who is a Manx speaker and fiddle player based in Scotland. This bilingual discussion (Manx and English) focused on the Manx music tradition, as well as the creativity of the contemporary musicians who are building on this tradition. This is a brilliant episode for all interested in traditional music on the Isle of Man and beyond.

    In Episode 4, I interviewed John Walsh and Bernadette O’Rourke, who together wrote the book ‘New Speakers of Irish in the Global Context: New Revival?’ (2020). We discussed, in Irish and English, their work on the new speaker concept and new speakers in Ireland and in other countries. I would particularly recommend this episode to those interested in the sociolinguistics of Irish and other Celtic languages.

    In Episode 5, Nina Cnockaert-Guillou (PhD Student, University of Cambridge) brought us back to Utrecht to learn more about the XVIIth International Congress of Celtic Studies, taking place in Utrecht in July 2023, from two of the organisers, Nike Stam and Aaron Griffith. As well as discussing the history of Celtic Studies at Utrecht University, they offer us a glimpse of what we can expect at next year’s Congress.

    In Episode 6, I spoke to Máire McCafferty, who is a PhD student working on the project ‘Youth Engagement in European Language Preservation’. In this bilingual discussion (Irish and English), we talked about the activities organised within this project surrounding Irish, Welsh and Catalan, as well as Máire’s doctoral research on Irish-language summer colleges. This episode is particularly relevant to those interested in language promotion and revitalisation.

    In Episode 7, Nina Cnockaert-Guillou interviewed Seosamh Mac Cárthaigh, who is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. They discussed Seosamh’s experience carrying out an internship at the British Library in London, where he worked on the digitalisation of the Library’s collection of pre-1600 Irish manuscripts. Anyone who is interested in working with medieval manuscripts will especially enjoy this episode.

    In Episode 8, Emmet Taylor (PhD Student, University College Cork) spoke to Adam Bierstedt, a scholar in the field of Norse Studies, about the appropriation of Celtic stories and images by the far right and what we can learn from Norse Studies in dealing with this problem. This episode acts as a passionate plea to everybody to seriously consider how Celtic Studies is being used in order to fuel white supremacy and how we can fight against that.

    In Episode 9, Nina Cnockaert-Guillou talked to Llewelyn Hopwood, who is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford. Llewelyn’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the sounds of medieval Welsh poetry and aims to shed light on how certain attitudes towards language speakers can be detected by listening to these sounds. This episode will stand out to those interested in medieval poetry, sound and language attitudes.

    In Episode 10, I spoke to two other members of the committee of the Association of Celtic Students, Stiofán Ó Briain (PhD Student and Teaching Fellow, University College Dublin) and Erin McNulty (PhD Student, University of Glasgow) about the upcoming Celtic Students Conference at the University of Glasgow (March 30 to April 1, 2023). Based on Stiofán’s experience as Conference Chair of our Conference in 2020 and 2021, and Erin’s work as Conference Chair of the 2023 Conference, we discussed what people can look forward to next spring.

    While the season is now officially over, these episodes will remain available for the foreseeable future and we hope that they will continue to be enjoyed. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback as to what you would like to see in the podcast going forward so that we can build on what we have achieved in our first three seasons. We really appreciate all of our listeners’ support, which we feel not only through the ever-increasing number of podcast plays, but also through the engagement we see with the podcast on social media. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for listening. To finish this post, I want to also extend my thanks to everybody who participated as hosts and guests on the podcast this season. The season would not have been possible were it not for the continued hard work of the members of the Association of Celtic Students who were happy to interview guests and edit those interviews. We really appreciate the guests who have given their time to share their work and their thoughts with us too. I understand it can be difficult to balance the many tasks and responsibilities in our lives, and the fact that so many people come together every year to make each podcast season a reality means a great deal to us. A special thanks must go out to Nina Cnockaert-Guillou, who not only contributed as a host to the podcast three times this season, but also played a huge part in promoting the podcast as Social Media Officer of the Association and was always there for support as I transitioned to the role of Podcast Editor. Thank you all so much. 

Alexandra Philbin

PhD Student (University of València) and Editor of Season 3 of the Celtic Students Podcast


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