IAMHIST Challenge Event: BBC Scotland and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum

BBC Scotland and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum: One-Day Symposium

In association with the International Association of Media and History (IAMHIST) and the University of Glasgow, UK

Hosted via Zoom, University of Glasgow, on Monday 11 October 2021, 9.30am – 4.30pm (BST)

18th September 2021 marks the 7th anniversary of the day the Scottish electorate went to the polls to answer the question, ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’ Although the answer was in favour of remaining in the union, with 55% of the electorate voting No, the 2014 Scottish independence referendum changed the political landscape in Scotland. Indeed, the question is currently dominating cultural and political discourse in the UK in the wake of Brexit, with a possible Indyref2 hovering on the horizon. At the heart of this discourse sits BBC Scotland, the public service broadcaster which not only told the story of the 2014 referendum campaign – providing the lion’s share of television and radio coverage of the campaign – but was also a major part of the story. BBC Scotland occupied a contentious position during the campaign, with its news coverage of the event accused of institutional pro-union bias by pro-independence supporters. This resulted in mass protests outside BBC Scotland headquarters in Glasgow in the months leading up to the vote and there is still an ongoing division between the broadcaster and some parts of the Scottish electorate seven years later.

This one-day symposium will focus on BBC Scotland’s position in Indyref, looking at the role the broadcaster played in creating a narrative about the campaign, it’s potential for shaping cultural memory of the event, and what this might mean for its position if another referendum happens. Programme makers and academics will come together to discuss how the campaign was covered, how that material has been archived, re-used, and might be used, and what lessons might be learnt for the future. Panellists include Ian Small (BBC Scotland Head of Policy), Vicky Plaine (BBC Scotland Head of Archive), Sarah Bromage (Scottish Political Archive), Joanne Taylor (freelance archive producer), Coree Brown Swan (Centre on Constitutional Change), Marina Dekavalla (University of Sussex), Alice Doyle (University of Stirling), Maike Dinger University of Stirling) and Daniel O’Malley (University of Glasgow)

By bringing together media practitioners and scholars to focus on BBC Scotland’s role in the broadcasting and archiving of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, this event interconnects with IAMHIST’s goal of creating a dialogue between industry and academy, and between established scholars and ECRs, to look at history through the lens of audio/visual media, and to consider the cultural impact of a major moment in broadcasting history.


9:30: Welcome

10:00: Panel one: BBC programme makers presentations & Q&A

Panellists: Ian Small (Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs, BBC Scotland), Vicky Plaine (Head of Archive, BBC Scotland). Chair: Jamie Medhurst, (University of Aberystwyth)

11:00: Break

11:15: Panel two: academic presentations & Q&A

Panellists: Coree Brown Swan (Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh) & Marina Dekavalla (University of Sussex). Chair: Ian Goode (University of Glasgow)

12:00: Break

12:15: Panel three: archive presentations & Q&A

Panellists: Sarah Bromage (Scottish Political Archive), Joanna Taylor (archive producer on Yes/No: Inside Indyref). Chair: Mhairi Brennan (University of Glasgow)

13:00: Lunch

14:00: PhD presentations: Alice Doyle (University of Stirling), Maike Dinger (University of Stirling), Daniel O’Malley (University of Glasgow)

15:00: Break

15:30: Round Table – Notes for the Future. Chair: Marcus Ryder, MBE.

16:15: Closing notes

Event Registration

Please sign up to register for this free event here: https://uofglasgow.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZNMAHu_FT_uXXl2lmBJl1A 

If you have any queries regarding the event, please contact the event organiser, Mhairi Brennan, at Mhairi.Brennan@glasgow.ac.uk

IAMHIST Challenge 2021

The International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST) is an organization of scholars, filmmakers, broadcasters and archivists dedicated to historical inquiry into film, radio, television, and related media.

We encourage scholarly research into the relationship between history and the media, as well as the production of historically informed documentaries, audio-visual essays, television series, podcasts, websites and other media texts. We actively support Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and Early Career Media Practitioners (ECMP) through a suite of IAMHIST activities including our annual master class, special events for graduate students at IAMHIST conferences, and awards for scholars/media professionals at the start of their careers.

In 2020, the IAMHIST board launched a biennial IAMHIST Challenge for ECRs/ECMPs who are interested in organising a local event on a media-and-history topic. This can be a one-day symposium, a master class, a workshop or other comparable activity. The aims of the Challenge Scheme are two-fold: to explore and/or showcase new and innovative research, practice and methodologies in the field; to support researchers to develop further their professional networks and their acquisition of research-related and transferable skills.

Eligibility Criteria

The Challenge Scheme is open to MA and PhD students, and colleagues who identify as ‘Early Career’. IAMHIST generally defines ‘early career’ as within 5 years of PhD award (or similar professional training), but is flexible in its interpretation of the category. Anyone who is currently registered as a graduate student or holds an academic post in a higher education institution is eligible to apply.

Proposals should demonstrate their originality and relevance to the field of media and history. A selection committee, assigned by the Executive Council of IAMHIST, will select a maximum of TWO proposals and issue each with a grant of up to 1,500 USD.

How to Apply (Proposals must be submitted on the official Challenge Application form, which can be downloaded here: IAMHIST Challenge 2021 Application Form.

Proposals (max 2,500 words) should include

  • A concise project title.
  • A short introduction on the topic and its relevance to the field of media and history.
  • The proposed date on which the event will take place.
  • A preliminary practical outline of the event: line-up of invited speakers, what their contribution will be (paper, keynote, coaching etc), debates and roundtables, hands-on session.
  • A preliminary budget (incl. any additional funding you might have). The budget should make clear the amount of money you would expect from IAMHIST (up to a max. 1,5000 USD) and how the grant will be used.
  • The composition of the scientific and organizing committee (if applicable).
  • A rationale – give a clear explanation about why IAMHIST should sponsor the event.
  • An official letter of institutional support (not included in the word limit), written by the Graduate School programme director or, if ECR, Director of Research for your School/Department. This should attest the applicant’s ability to successfully carry out the event and confirm the institution’s support.
  • A short CV and contact details of the applicant/s (not included in the word limit).


Call for proposals will be launched February 28st 2021. Proposals should be sent to IAMHIST Director of the Challenge Scheme Dr Melanie Bell (m.j.bell@leeds.ac.uk) by May 30th, 2021. The winner(s) will be notified by June 30th 2021. The event needs to take place before December 30, 2022.

Regulations IAMHIST Challenge

  1. We welcome proposals on a wide variety of media historical topics.
  2. The principal initiator of the event should be a grad. student or early career researcher. You can only apply as a postgraduate student (Masters/PhD) and/or in the first 5 years after obtaining your PhD. Early career media professionals are equally eligible.
  3. Individual applicants and/or their institutions should be IAMHIST members.
  4. Proposals should be in tune with the IAMHIST mission to encourage and facilitate research in the use of audio-visual media and materials as sources for the study of history and the social sciences, including research into the development and impact of audio-visual media in mass communication, to further research into the use of audio-visual media and materials at all levels of historical education; to improve the preservation of audio-visual materials as documents and to improve access to archival institutions and collections housing audio-visual materials, to promote the international exchange of information and the development of international projects within its field of interest.
  5. The event should take place within 12 months of the initial deadline for proposals.
  6. If, in the course of the organizational process, the event changes substantially and no longer abides to the rules set for the IAMHIST challenge, IAMHIST retains the right to withdraw its support.
  7. The event should be branded as an IAMHIST event and the IAMHIST Challenge logo should be used on all public documents regarding the event. The event will be advertised through the IAMHIST website and social media (contact the IAMHIST social media contact Dr Llewella Chapman to promote your Challenge event). All information to make this promotion possible should be provided by the event organizers in a timely fashion.
  8. The decisions of the IAMHIST selection committee (regarding the acceptance of proposals and the attribution of grant money) are final. The committee reserves the right not to award the prize.
  9. A maximum of six weeks after the event, a complete financial report (including receipts) and substantive debriefing should be sent to the IAMHIST Director of the Challenge Scheme (Dr Melanie Bell). This should include a testimonial and photographs of the event for the IAMHIST website.

IAMHIST Challenge: Winner announcement

Congratulations to the winners of the IAMHIST Challenge scheme, Veronica Johnson (NUI Galway) and A. N. Korporaal (University of Kingston, UK). The Selection Committee were impressed with the ambition and scope of their proposals which promise to bring together a range of voices from academic, archival and filmmaking communities. More details on their events will be posted on the website in due course.

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