Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Hey, Hey, we have a new BSL-signed, Captioned Library Video

We wanted to share the new library video with you - we're absolutely delighted with it!  We hope it will help explain some of the important things about the library here at RCS.

You can find it on YouTube here:

And on the Portal at the library's Help and Support page:-

The captions can be turned on using the CC button on YouTube. 

Our thanks go to our RCS alumnus actor, and to our RCS colleagues for helping us put this all together!

Friday, 27 September 2019

Black History Month - a Research Event at RCS

We're very happy to help promote this research event here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland!

Event: Black History Month (BHM) Doctoral Researchers’ Event
Event Date: 25/10/2019
Deadline for abstracts: 7/10/2019

The Equality and Diversity Forum in partnership with the Research and Knowledge Exchange directorate at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is pleased to present the first Black History Month (BHM) Doctoral Researchers Event to be held at the RCS on 25th October. 

This event is to promote and celebrate BAME researchers and their work.

Call for presentations: We would like to invite abstracts for a fifteen-minute presentation (performances are also encouraged) followed by discussion and questions. This call is open to all BAME arts and humanities doctoral researchers from the UK. The programme allows for 8 presentations and presenters are free to choose whether or not their presentation will directly address the challenges and/or opportunities of being a BAME researcher.

Please send a title and a 250-word outline of your presentation to by Monday 7th Oct.

The event is free to all. If you would prefer to just attend the event or are interested in chairing or moderating please email Please note that there are limited places due to the venue capacity.

Non-BAME doctoral researchers are also welcome to attend and can email

Presentations will be followed by an evening event of poetry, opera and a panel discussion focused on ‘Decolonising the curriculum in the arts.’ All participants will be eligible for a free ticket.

Monday, 23 September 2019

RCS students just LOVE entering competitions - the John Byrne Award is announced

We heard of an award that might interest our students and staff:- 

John Byrne Award

"Creative competition & online platform welcoming entries from everybody over 16 living or studying in Scotland. £7,500 top prize." Enter now via link above.
" ... now open to everybody over 16 living or studying in Scotland PLUS.... have tripled annual prize money to £7500!"

Are you attracted by the idea of Technology in Musical Performance?

We've been asked to circulate this invitation to anyone researching the use of technology in musical performance.  So, here we go:-

Joe Wright would like to let you all know about a new symposium that he's co-organising.  Do share this call for papers amongst any research students and fellow staff members that you think may be interested in participating. The symposium aims to bring together researchers  and practitioners who have an interest in technology in musical performance, with a view to creating a new RMA study group, and opportunities for publication in the new year. Full details are below.

Call for Contribution:

Technology in Musical Performance Symposium (TiMP)

3rd of December 2019 - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University

Technology in Musical Performance (TiMP) is a forum for all who engage with electronics in live music performance. The symposium aims to stimulate discussion and collaboration between performers, composers, sound artists, practitioners, programmers, software developers and sound designers on musical performance with/mediated by technology.

Performative electronics is an area of music that is constantly evolving and developing. Among composers and practitioners, the desire to realise specific musical ideas leads to creative technological solutions. For new developments in music and live electronics to be thoroughly tested and evaluated, dialogue between creators and practitioners is vital.


More info and application instructions at 

Joe Wright, on behalf of the TiMP organisational team

Friday, 20 September 2019

Longer Opening Hours for the Library at RCS

Good news for staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland!

Responding to readers' requests, we shall be trialling longer opening hours in the new term, starting on 30th September.  So if you've always wanted to drop into the library early on Friday evenings ... now's your opportunity!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Are You the Next UK Young Musician of the Year?

Congratulations in advance!

You've got to be in it to win it! - so here's the link you're looking for.  We understand it's run in conjunction with the Mrs Sunderland Festival in Huddersfield Town Hall this year.

Friday, 30 August 2019

How Can We Excite You About Moodle and the Portal?!

How can we excite you about 

Moodle and the Portal?

RCS uses Moodle for teaching and learning, course-related documentation, and the RCS Portal is for useful links relating to other aspects of our working environment.  Both are on web-pages only accessible to the RCS community.  

RCS staff and students are probably aware that there are special library pages on the RCS Portal.  Here's the link, just now:-

It gives you links to our resources, and lots of FAQs and other guides and mini-videos about different aspects of using the library.

If You Thought You Knew All About Us, there's an Important Update!

The Library Equivalent of "Pimp My Ride" ....

You need to know that the library portal is getting a makeover.  Somewhere between a substantial and an extreme makeover.  Much of the same information will be there (it was useful when we wrote it, and is still relevant) - but it will be in different places on a reformatted page.

Don't panic!

When it's all been rearranged and is nice and tidy - and live - we'll tell you all about it.  Today's posting is just to warn you that there are changes ahead.  Change is good.*

*Usually.  But on this occasion, we're pretty confident!

Monday, 26 August 2019

Ethical Drama Wins Edinburgh Theater Prize

On the last day of the Edinburgh Festival.  This New York Times feature will give you an insight into some of the new writing plays doing rather well at the moment ! Ideas for showcase anyone?? 

Credit Lara Cappelli

Click here for NYT feature. 

New York Times Article

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Sharing News: Early Music Monographs (Books) Digitized!

This is a piece of news that we received via IAML (International Association of Music Libraries) and the MLA (the Music Library Association, an  American organisation).  Copying and pasting shamelessly, because this is news that's bursting to get out, we offer you this exciting snippet:-
"The Music Division of the Library of Congress has launched a new site with scans of approximately 2,000 books on music published before 1800.  The scans were made from microfilmed versions of the books."
Karen C. Lund is the Digital Project Coordinator for the Music Division.

Tracing Book Details? COPAC is dead, bring on Library Hub Discover

If you've ever used Copac - the database that brought together all the university and national library catalogues in Britain - then this news affects you!

Copac has been replaced by Library Hub Discover.  It does the same thing (tracing books in libraries), but has other additional features too.  This is the link you'll go to, instead of the old Copac link:-

Read about the changeover - which happened at the end of July 2019 - here:-

"Library hub discover, library hub compare, and library hub cataloguing will make it easier for UK higher education libraries and researchers to access, discover and manage academic collections."

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Scottish Composers, Seize This Opportunity!

Quoting from the Sound-Scotland website:-

Development opportunity for Scotland-based composers

sound is a new music incubator based in North East Scotland, initially set up to give local audiences access to new music. It is now renowned in and beyond Scotland for producing and promoting high-quality work, for its support to composers of all generations and for attracting new audiences through its varied programming and inclusive nature....  [Read about the whole opportunity here.]

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Musical Pedagogues! Remember ISME

Remember we hosted the ISME conference (International Society for Music Education) here at RCS a few years ago?  Well, this year it's in Helsinki.

We've just received the CFP (Call for Papers), so we thought we'd share it with you:- 

"Welcome to the website for the 34th ISME World Conference.
The call for papers is already out and planning is underway for submissions. The submissions process will open later this month. Note: submissions close on 1 October and there can be no extensions, so start your planning now.
In response to feedback from the previous conference, the call for papers outlines several new opportunities to enable members to interact in different ways and to help members connect and engage even more.
The call for performers is also announced. Submissions will open in the next few weeks and closes on 31 August.
Both the venues - Finlandia Hall and the Music Academy (home of the Sibelius Academy, part of UniArts) -  are very close, almost side by side, so the conference precinct is very walkable. The venues are also accessible."
All you need now is the website, so you can follow up these opportunities! 

Monday, 3 June 2019

Are you a Trad Musician, Influenced by English Folk Tradition? A Bursary!

The English Folk Dance and Song Society has just announced a fabulous opportunity. Quoting directly from their tweet, here it is:-

Applications are now open for the Alan James Creative Bursary! If your work is inspired by or draws from traditional English folk music, apply for research and development funding here:

Pianists, Violininsts! International Johannes Brahms Competition

When we receive competition announcements, we share them with our readers!  If you're a violinist or a pianist, this may be right up your street!  (Well, it's in Austria, but you know what we mean ...)

 26th International Johannes Brahms Competition
1st to 8th September 2019 in Pörtschach/Austria
All details are on the website - just click on the links.  But here's a quick clip from the organisers:-
The 26th International Johannes Brahms Competition will be held from 1st to 8th September 2019 in the categories piano, violin, voice and chamber music.
The regulations have changed only slightly compared to the past years.
  • Piano: L.v. Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 4, G major op. 58 replaces Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 in the finals.    
  • Violin: P.I.Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 replaces Dvořák, in A minor, op.53in the finals
Registration is possible from March 2019 until July 1, 2019.
The website is currently being redesigned to accommodate this year’s contest.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Geddes Peterson Foundation Award Commemorates Colleague

Sharing details of this award, which the Scottish Music Centre announced yesterday.  John Maxwell Geddes was a much-loved colleague at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - it's great to see him commemorated in this way.

"In memory of our dear friend & colleague composer John Maxwell Geddes, the Geddes Peterson Foundation Award is OPEN for the second year. [...] Please retweet / spread the word for Emerging Classical Composers info at "
Please visit the Scottish Music Centre link above, for full details! 

Monday, 27 May 2019

A Lost Empire!

Why not discover some of Glasgow's lost theatre culture!

Just a 3 min walk from RCS is the former site of Glasgow's most famous theatre. You ever wondered why the 1960s office block on the corner of West Nile and Sauchiehall Street is called ‘Empire House’?  Well this was the site of the world famous Glasgow Empire Theatre a UK mecca for light entertainment and music hall acts.

The Empire was notorious within showbiz circles as "The English comic's grave", if their act was slow or thin. Among those judged this way were Bob Monkhouse, Tommy Cooper, Bernie Winters and Morecambe and Wise. Des O'Connor pretended to faint when the Glasgow audience started jeering his act and was duly dragged off stage.

Glasgow Empire Theatre, known as the Glasgow Palace Empire until the early 1900s, it opened in 1897 on the site of the Gaiety Theatre at 31-35 Sauchiehall Street. It was one of the leading theatres in the UK chain of theatres owned and developed by Moss Empires under the chairmanship of Sir Edward Moss.  It was the largest theatre in the city for many years.

The Empire presented variety, revues, musicals and dance, including Pavlova, winter circus, pantomimes and ice spectaculars especially those produced by Tom Arnold. Over the years many stars appeared including Lilly Langtry, Laurel and Hardy, Sir Harry Lauder, G. H. Elliott, Tommy Lorne, Evelyn Laye, Will Fyffe, Harry Gordon, Robert Wilson, the Logan family and Andy Stewart. Dance bands included Jack Hylton and Joe Loss. Top quality American artistes were greatly welcomed, including the Andrews Sisters and Billy Eckstine. Fats Waller made his European debut in the Empire in 1938. Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray, Frankie Laine, Connie Francis, Eartha Kitt, Howard Keel, Guy Mitchell, Mel Tormé and Liberace were joined

The Empire presented variety, revues, musicals and dance, including Pavlova, winter circus, pantomimes and ice spectaculars especially those produced by Tom Arnold. Over the years many stars appeared including Lilly Langtry, Laurel and Hardy, Sir Harry Lauder, G. H. Elliott, Tommy Lorne, Evelyn Laye, Will Fyffe, Harry Gordon, Robert Wilson, the Logan family and Andy Stewart. Dance bands included Jack Hylton and Joe Loss. Top quality American artistes were greatly welcomed, including the Andrews Sisters and Billy Eckstine. Fats Waller made his European debut in the Empire in 1938. Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray, Frankie Laine, Connie Francis, Eartha Kitt, Howard Keel, Guy Mitchell, Mel Tormé and Liberace were joined by Frank Sinatra, Dorothy Lamour, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Jack Benny and a great favourite Danny Kaye.

Comedian Ken Dodd famously disparaged attempts to psychoanalyse humour with the rebuttal, "The trouble with Sigmund Freud is that he never played second house at the Glasgow Empire after both halves of the Old Firm had just lost!"

The record for the longest running show in the city is held by The Andy Stewart Show, twice-nightly with a change of programme each six weeks, for 26 weeks in 1961 and again in 1962, with 400,000 tickets sold each year.

The final curtain came down on the theatre on 31 March 1963 with a cast that included the Red Army Choir, Duncan Macrae, Robert Wilson, Iain Cuthbertson, Albert Finney, Rikki Fulton and Andy Stewart. This city lost its most famous theatrical landmark the following year. So next time you pass the Empire house you can imagine the screams and tears of performers as they failed to entertain the Glasgow public.
For more information visit this website below.

Click here

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

An Indelible Impression?

Archives and Collections – Object of the Month – May 2019

The RCS Archives and Collections contain a wonderland of fascinating and unusual objects. These include a visitor book signed by Charles Dickens and various musical instruments that have survived centuries of use. However, some comparatively recent artefacts are fading into the mist of time much more quickly. One such item is the Archives and Collections Object of the Month, for May 2019.

Dr Tommy Smith (now Head of Jazz at RCS) commissioned the acclaimed Scottish poet Edwin Morgan to write a set of poems about famous figures from Scottish history, which Dr Smith then set to music in a song cycle called The Sons and Daughters of Alba. Morgan faxed the poems to Smith, and these original (if that’s the right word) faxed copies now reside in the RCS Archive. It is one of these works, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ which is on display in the Whittaker Library. You may need to step in close to read it, but it will be worth the extra effort! The poem describes the eventful life of Mary Stuart, from her childhood to her infamous execution.

There is an irony in a poem about a woman who left a profound mark on Scottish identity and culture being presented on a medium which is rapidly erasing itself. Early fax machines often used thermal (heat transfer) printers when receiving and reproducing information, with rolls of thermal paper as their printing medium.  This meant that whatever was reconstituted as a fax (facsimile or copy) could only be in black and white, but it also meant that whatever was printed would fade over time, and eventually become unreadable. It’s almost as if the words are being swallowed by the “Swirling mist on Inchmahome” described in the poem.

While it is still visible, why not pop over to the Whittaker Library to take a look at this rare work from one of the most prolific and accomplished Scottish poets of all time.

Want to know more?


Monday, 20 May 2019

Endangered! The ability to empathise?

How do you feel? How well can we tell?  

According to a 2010 study from the University of Michigan, the ability to empathise declined by 40% over the past three decades.  Is this important? Should we be concerned?

This month's featured e-resource is The Moral Dimensions of Empathy.  It outlines the ways in which empathy is important in meeting the demands of morality. RCS staff and students can read the whole book online at  

You can look for the book on the library website using the "Search Catalogue Plus" option.

NB if you're not using a library PC, use the "login via Shibboleth" option and use your RCS username and password to access.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Glenda Jackson as Lear! Discover Shakespeare Unlimited podcasts!

Glenda Jackson as Lear


Glenda Jackson as King Lear in King Lear, 2019. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.


Discover the Folger Shakespeare Library podcasts. One such podcast is to be found on the latest episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, the Tony-, Emmy-, and Academy Award-winning actress Glenda Jackson talks about the intricacies of her performance as the title character in the new Broadway production of King Lear directed by Sam Gold. 

Click here to listen to the Podcast

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

International Workshop for Actors and Performers!

Ever wanted to do an international performance workshop with some of the best directors and artists there are?

Between 22 July – 5 August 2019, in Venice, this is such an opportunity.

Biennale College – Theatre is a selected group of performers/actors who will undertake a series of workshops leading to a performance.
 Biennale College – Theatre 
The Biennale College – Theatre project is a true factory of ideas that explores the potential of theatre in terms of languages, codes, techniques, and technology in the theatre sciences. These workshops are led by key figures in European theatre/performance and technical experts from around the world. You are too late to apply for this year but you could pop it in your diary to apply for next year with a deadline in April. Please note, if you are selected for this you would need to be self funding in terms of travel and accommodation.

Click here for website