National Library of Scotland events are free and take place in our George IV Bridge Building, unless we state otherwise.
List updated: 10 December.
250 years of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
Joint Edinburgh Bibliographical Society and National Library lecture
10 December 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In this lecture, Professor Stephen Brown will discuss the origins of the encyclopaedia under the editorship of William Smellie. He considers Britannica's 'accidental authority' and the unlikelihood of it attaining success and iconic status.
Thursday 13 December
This event is now fully booked.
The Black Rood
Rediscovering Scotland's Anglo-Saxon crown jewel
The Black Rood is one of Scotland's most treasured crown jewels, once of similar status to the Stone of Destiny. It is said to contain a piece of the True Cross and is almost certainly the origin of the name Holyrood. St Margaret brought the Black Rood to Scotland in 1068 when she became queen to Malcolm III. In the reign of Edward I of England it was captured alongside the Stone of Destiny and was presented to Durham Cathedral, but disappeared during the Reformation. In this talk, author David Willem tells the story of this now-almost-forgotten crown jewel and raises the intriguing possibility that it might still exist.
Wednesday 23 January
Free. Book 'The Black Rood' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
What a performance!
Preserving a giant pop-up book at the Library
Conservator Shona Hunter discusses the conservation, exhibition and 3D modelling of the original stage-set for John McGrath's play 'The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil'. First performed in 1973, the play tells the story of Scotland's social and economic history, from the Highland clearances to the discovery of North Sea oil. The set was devised as a giant pop-up book, designed to be portable to allow the play to be performed around the country. Now on display at the V&A Dundee, the book was created by contemporary Scottish artist John Byrne and is made from corrugated cardboard. Come along to find out more about Scotland's largest book, including its creation, repair, display and digitisation.
Tuesday 29 January
Free. Book 'What a performance!' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Sorrow images in the life of Frederick Douglass
In this talk Celeste-Marie Bernier, Chair of Black Studies at the University of Edinburgh, will discuss the many photographs of social reformer Frederick Douglass. Douglass believed photography was not only a means of remembering those who lived and died in slavery. In this talk Professor Bernier sheds light on Douglass's belief that photography was a way to resist white racist strategies to misrepresent African American lives.
Thursday 31 January
Free. Book 'Sorrow images in the life of Frederick Douglass' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.