When the idea of setting up an organisation for students of Celtic Studies in the British Isles was first mooted by a group of students in Edinburgh in December 2012, it seemed doubtful that the idea would get off the ground, never mind that within three short months we would have hosted a successful conference with around fifty delegates from every part of these islands, as well as further afield. Still less did we imagine that a year later a proceedings volume would be in production and that planning for a second conference would be well underway.
     The Association is intended as a counterpart to similar organisations for undergraduate and graduate students which exist for many other academic disciplines at national and international levels. It was felt that there was a gap in the British Isles for such an association: there were organisations for professional Celticists but little ‘to encourage and bring together Celtic students both academically and socially, to support Celtic students and the academic field of Celtic Studies, to promote the study of the Celtic languages, literatures, histories and cultures, and to represent all Celtic students and to campaign on their behalf’, as the adopted constitution puts it. The need for such an organisation is particularly great in our field given the fact that institutions which run courses in Celtic Studies broadly understood are widely scattered geographically and that the topics offered vary greatly from university to university. A student studying medieval Welsh literature, for example, might never in the course of her or his studies encounter topics like modern Gaelic sociolinguistics; it was therefore believed that it would be beneficial and stimulating to bring young Celticists of diverse interests and experiences together to share their work and to meet one another informally.
            The group of students who took the first tentative steps to set up the Association were brought together by their involvement in a public campaign to safeguard the resources and ethos of the Celtic and Scottish Studies department in Edinburgh University. It was suggested that holding some kind of student conference might be a good and positive way to showcase the importance and vigour of our field and the innovative thinking of the students. In view of the fact that departments and faculties in many universities have faced challenges, both financial and insitutional, in the past, and will no doubt face them in the future, it was felt that an organisation to represent and bring together Celtic Studies students from many universities would be beneficial to the field as a whole. While the Association is a non-political organisation, it is committed to campaigning for the interests of students of Celtic Studies in matters of direct relevance to them.
            In the event, the inaugural conference was a great success, with students present representing institutions in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, Germany and the Netherlands. A dozen papers were delivered, on topics including mediaeval and modern Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic literature, history, music and folklore, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic sociolinguistics, and Manx and Welsh historical linguistics. Since the conference, launch events have been held at the National Eisteddfod in Wales and at the National Mòd in Scotland, and interest in the Association continues to grow. The second conference in Aberystwyth in March 2014 was a great success with copies of the first volume of Proceedings being sold (2013 & 2014 papers). 

         Subsequent conferences were held in Falmouth, Cornwall (2015), Galway (2016), Glasgow (2017) [2015, 2016 and 2017 Proceedings], and Edinburgh (2018 & 2019) [2018 Proceedings; 2019 Proceedings to be published soon]. As the Association grew, we have been increasingly more present at Celtic Studies events such as the XVI International Congress of Celtic Studies in Bangor, Wales (2019), and we have organised events such as Sgrìobhadh acadaimeagach sa Ghàidhlig (Academic writing in Gaelic) in 2019 as part of Seachdain na Gàidhlig (Edinburgh Gaelic Festival). We also try to be present online through our Facebook and Twitter, in order to support and encourage Celtic Students all over the world by sharing news, events and tips.

            The next conference will be held in Dublin (2020). Visit our conference website for more information.

2013/2014 committee

President ~ Jacob Ellis (Aberystwyth University)
Secretary ~ James January-McCann (Aberystwyth University)
Treasurer ~ Kirstie DeKrey (Aberystwyth University)
            ~ Kate Leach (Aberystwyth University)
President Emeritus ~ Christopher Lewin (University of Edinburgh)
Ordinary members ~ Elen Ifan (Bangor University)
            ~ Abigail Price (Bangor University)
~ Allan Maden (University of Edinburgh)
~ Jamie Wallace (University of Glasgow)
~ John Ó Liodáin (National University of Ireland Maynooth)
~ Conal McShane (University of Ulster)

~ Jody Coogan (University College Cork)

Original Constitution

1. Name and aims

1.1. The name of the association is ‘Association of Celtic Students of Ireland and Britain’, herein referred to as ‘the Association’. Translations of this name shall be made into all modern Celtic languages. The name can be changed only by a three quarters majority vote at a General Meeting.

1.2. The Association was founded in Edinburgh on the 14th December 2012.

1.3. All modern Celtic languages and English will be official languages of the Association.

1.4. The purpose and mission of the Association is to encourage and bring together Celtic students both academically and socially, to support Celtic students and the academic field of Celtic Studies, to promote the study of the Celtic languages, literatures, histories and cultures, and to represent all Celtic students and to campaign on their behalf.

1.5. ‘Celtic’ and ‘Celtic Studies’ in this document are to be understood to refer to all courses of study and fields of academic or cultural interest within Celtic, including Irish studies, Welsh studies, etc.

1.6. The Association is for all undergraduate and postgraduate students of Celtic Studies, and of individual modern, mediaeval or ancient Celtic language, and any student with an interest in the subject.

1.7. The Association is an apolitical organization. The terms ‘Ireland’ and ‘Britain’ in the name of the Association have geographical reference and carry no political significance.

2. Membership

2.1. Members of affiliated student societies are automatically members of the Association. To affiliate with the Association, the secretary of the society in question must send notification to the secretary of the Association.

2.2. Student delegates at the Association’s conference who have paid the registration fee are members of the Association.

2.3. Individual students who are not members of an affiliated student society can become members of the Association by registering their name and address with the secretary. They must re-register each year.

2.4. Student members of the Association have a vote in General Meetings.

2.5. Academics and non-students may be associate members of the Association, but do not have a vote in General Meetings.

3. Conference, General Meetings and Committee

3.1. Each year in the spring a conference shall be held in an institution of higher education, organized by local Celtic students with help from the local academic department, student association, Celtic society etc. The conference shall be the main academic, administrative and social event of the Association.

3.2. The conference shall include the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association, where the committee shall be elected.

3.3. The quorum for the AGM shall be eight.

3.4. Since the committee will potentially include members based in geographically disparate locations, deliberations of the committee will be mainly conducted by a closed group on a social networking site or an electronic mailing list which shall be expressly for this purpose, and be visible to and contain only committee members. Committee meetings may be conducted by Skype or other similar media.

3.5. The committee shall choose the location of the next conference within three months of the Annual General Meeting. Possibilities for the location should however be discussed at the conference.

3.6. Changes to this constitution and all other motions can be carried by a simple majority at a General Meeting, unless it is stated in the constitution that a supermajority is needed.

3.7. The committee shall be elected by raising hands. All candidates shall address the meeting to explain why they should be elected, and they shall be nominated by themselves or another member present, and seconded by another member present. Candidates shall leave the room while the vote is taken.

3.8. The committee shall consist of the following positions:

3.8.1. The President shall be ultimately responsible for the conduct and business of the Association. He or she shall chair meetings, and coordinate all the activities of the committee. The President shall keep records of the Association, including membership of previous committees.

3.8.2. The Secretary shall be responsible to the President for communications and administration of membership, conference registrations and abstract submissions, etc.

3.8.3. The Treasurer shall be responsible to the President for the finances of the Association.

3.8.4. The President Emeritus is the previous year’s President. He or she shall advise the new committee members, provide continuity and supervise business pertaining to the previous conference, such as proceedings.

3.8.5. Ordinary members shall assist the President, Secretary, Treasurer and President Emeritus.

3.9. The committee shall include both undergraduate and postgraduate students as far as possible.

3.10. The committee may appoint a sub-committee to organize the conference.

3.11. The AGM shall proceed as follows:

3.11.1. Brief report from the President.

3.11.2. Changes to the constitution, if required.

3.11.3. Brief discussion on the direction of the Association.

3.11.4. Nominations for President.

3.11.5. Brief speeches from candidates for President.

3.11.6. Election of President.

3.11.7. Elections of other positions likewise.

3.11.8. Closing statement and vote of thanks.

3.12. The new committee take office upon the close of the conference.


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