Nostalgia in the Twenty-First Century

Project: Research

Project Details


A series of six ESRC-funded one-day seminars (2010-11).

Key findings

• Publication: a special issue of the journal CMC: Consumption, Markets and Culture, co-edited by the five seminar organisers
• Website: - this provides a detailed record of the seminar series, including videos of the presentations by invited speakers
• Knowledge Exchange activity: two ESRC Festival events
• Network: approximately 100 people in total have attended at least one of our events, and we have established a JISC mailing list (NOSTALGIA@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) to facilitate ongoing collaboration and information exchange

More generally, the complex relationships between technology and nostalgia have not been analysed in any depth in existing theory and research, and our seminars raised the profile of this theme, both within and beyond the academic community. We fostered many new research links and forged connections across a range of disciplinary and professional specialisms.

In more detail, our guest-edited special issue of Consumption, Markets and Culture (a Routledge journal established in 1987), is in preparation and will appear in 2013. We have seven articles, most of them from seminar speakers or participants, and a co-authored editorial.

We obtained separate funding for ESRC Festival events in both 2010 and 2011. In 2010 we organised a writing competition and family event, 'Glasgow Remembered: Food and Nostalgia', under the auspices of the Aye Write! literary festival, held at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. In 2011 we ran a photo-essay competition entitled 'Glasgow Schooldays Remembered', and an associated event for children and their families at the Scotland Street School Museum. This was in association with the 'Inspiration' festival of creativity for young people. See details of these events below under 'impacts'.

LEVEL OF INTEREST: When we announced each event, potential participants were invited to fill in an expression of interest form, briefly describing their areas of work and their reason for wishing to attend. We were able to accommodate most of those who applied, though the number of applications for the 20 places varied from 15 to 25 applicants. There were several regular attendees who came to three or four seminars, but each event attracted at least 10 new delegates. Demand was high for the early career/ PGR travel bursaries, and particularly for the presentation slots at the early career event (18 applications received).

FEEDBACK: We distributed feedback forms at each event, asking for comments on communications and on the event itself, and suggestions for the future. Representative comments include: 'very engaged participants & good discussion; outstanding IT support and organisation, relaxed atmosphere which facilitated real intellectual exchange'; ● 'It worked very well – a good range of speakers from different backgrounds and disciplines, plenty of time for discussion, well attended and a fascinating tour' ● 'productive and informative' ● 'thought-provoking; really like the open-ended tone – good intellectual enquiry without specific agenda – works well' ● 'very interesting and stimulating: valuable chance to discuss across disciplines'. While there were no criticisms of the content of events, there were several practical suggestions which we implemented.

Effective start/end date1/01/1030/09/11


  • ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council): £17,293.00


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