Gary West


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Examples of previous themes supervised include:

‘Exploring New World Perspectives on “Style” and “Authenticity” in Gaelic Dance-Music of the 21st Century’
'Survival and Revival in the Lowland and Border Bagpipe Tradition'
'The Piping Tradition of Ontario, Canada'.
'Ethnology and National Identity'
'The Contemporary Role of the Kilt and Tartan in the Construction and Expression of Scottish American Identity'.
'Scottish Competition Bagpipe Performance: Sound, Mode and Aesthetics’
'An Ethnological Approach to Landscape and Identity'
'A Highland Estate: Continuity, Change and Identity'
'Negotiating the City: oral and visual narrative perspectives'. 'Ethnological Perspectives on Oral and Visual Narrative'
'Women's Wartime History in the Scottish Italian Community'
'The Pipe Band: Origins and Development'

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Gary West was born and brought up in Highland Perthshire, attending Pitlochry High School and Breadalbane Academy, before moving to Edinburgh at the age of 18. He was the first person to graduate from the University of Edinburgh in the newly launched degree entitled Scottish Ethnology and Scottish Historical Studies, in 1988. Following a brief and ill-judged period as a banker, he returned to the School of Scottish Studies to undertake a PhD, and was later appointed to the staff there as a lecturer in 1994.

From the age of 7 he has been highly active within the field of traditional music, learning his trade with the innovative Vale of Atholl Pipe Band with whom he won both the Scottish and European Championships. On settling in Edinburgh he moved sideways into the folk music scene, joining the band Ceolbeg in 1988, and the so-called ‘Scottish folk supergroup’, Clan Alba, in 1993. In more recent years he has played and recorded with a variety of musicians, and has toured widely in Europe and North America. Since 2002 he has presented the weekly specialist programme on BBC Radio Scotland, Pipeline.

His research interests centre around the general theme of the use of the past within the present, and include traditional music, heritage, revivalism, oral history and the conceptualisation of tradition. A good deal of his research is practice and performance based and this is reflected in a varied portfolio of output forms. 


Administrative Roles

2004-06 – Undergraduate Director, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

2006-08 – Senior Director of Studies, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

2006-08 - Academic Misconduct Officer, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

2006-12 - Member of Planning and Resources Committee, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

2007-2010 -  Member, University Undergraduate Studies Committee

2007-10 - Member, College of Humanities and Social Science Undergraduate Studies Committee

2006- present – Member, University Undergraduate Appeals Committee

2009- 2012 – Head of Celtic and Scottish Studies

2011 – present - Director, European Ethnological Research Centre, University of Edinburgh

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2000

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988


  • M Music
  • Traditional Music
  • Revivalism
  • Scottish
  • Celtic
  • D204 Modern History
  • Scotland
  • Oral History
  • Historical Ethnography


Dive into the research topics where Gary West is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 6 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.