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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Save Our Languages: An Open Letter to the University of Aberdeen

200 alumni have signed a letter calling on management to retain all language degree programmes and staff positions


Professor George Boyne, Principal, University of Aberdeen

Professor Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice Principal

Professor Chris Collins, Head of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

Dear Sirs,

We, the undersigned, are all alumni of the University of Aberdeen. We are proud to have attended such an institution. We are writing to express our deep concern about the coming proposed changes to the School of Language, Literature, Music, and Visual Culture. Should the University shut down some of its language degrees, the closest university to offer these degrees would be 80 miles away in St Andrews. 

In particular, the University of Aberdeen has a duty as a centre of learning in the North East of Scotland to offer key degrees such as languages for students in the region. It is rumoured that courses in Spanish, French, German and Gaelic are under threat. We are concerned that the next generation in the North East of Scotland will be left without the opportunity to learn modern languages and this is likely to worsen the chronic shortage of modern language teachers in Aberdeenshire.

Degrees in languages also present the opportunity to study the history and cultures of the countries where they are spoken, and the compulsory year abroad allows students to explore and become familiar with life in that country. These degrees are an essential part of the educational offering of the ancient universities, and the withdrawal of these degrees would make Aberdeen the only of Britain and Ireland’s ancient universities not to offer these degrees. 

Children and young people in the North East of Scotland would face the structural inequality of underfunded, understaffed and lacking language provision compared to the rest of the country, both in its schools and its universities. Most likely, they would be forced to move away from home in order to undertake a language, reinforcing the gap between urban and rural Scotland in terms of opportunities and access.

Aberdeen has a duty to be both an outward-looking international university, encouraging values such as tolerance, while being able to offer those opportunities to people across the region that it serves. Without a thriving languages department, Aberdeen would be the poor relation of the ancient universities.

The French, German, Italian and Spanish consulates in Scotland have raised these concerns, as have the All Party Parliamentary Group for Modern Languages. We urge the University to reassure the UofA community and the North East more widely that no redundancies are to be made in the languages departments, and that no existing undergraduate language degrees will be withdrawn.


Jack Boag, MA (Hons) History and International Relations, 2022

Thomas Connolly, German and International Relations, 2019

Mark Critchley, MA Hispanic Studies, 2008; MLitt Latin American Studies, 2009

Charlotte Hill, Politics, 2022

Henni Ekola, History and Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2023

Megan Mackay, MA Gaelic Studies and German, 2022

Ivan Kanev, MA German and International Relations, 2022

Adrian Allan, MA (Hons) English and German, 1988

Deborah Postulkova, MA Business Management and German, 2022 

Berit Braun, MA (Hons) Hispanic Studies and International Relations, 2020

Emma Cathro, MA German and Sociology, 2022

Nayden Tafradzhiyski, MA French and German, 2021

Colin Irving, Hispanic Studies, 1994

Rosemary Hindle, MA (Hons) History, 1986

Janine Awunyo, German and Politics, 2023

George Taylor, Energy Transition Systems and Technologies, 2024

David Galloway, MA (Hons) German Studies, 1987

Greg Herman, MA (Hons), 2007; MLitt 2009; PhD 2013

Aaron Neill, PhD Geosciences, 2020

Suzanne Marshall, MA French Studies, 1981

Dr Tim Causer, MA History, 2004; MLitt History 2006

Luna Lindberg, English and Film and Visual Culture, 2023

Daisy Olive Moonflower, English and Creative Writing, 2022

Sorrel Reid, MA German Studies, 2022

Julie-Anne McCutcheon, MA (Hons) Sociology, 2022

Emma Rafferty, Neuroscience, 2016

Amy Richmond, English with Sustained Study in Mandarin, 2021

Beth Jamieson, Law, 2023

Amy Bryzgel, Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, 2013

Magnus Høgenni, MA Politics and International Relations, 2021

Kirsty Low, MA (Hons) Accountancy and German, 2020

Hannah Heinrich, MA French and German, 2016

Anya McCrimmon, MA German and International Relations, 2022

Eilidh Finlayson, MA German and History, 2021

Brigid Lynch, MA (Hons) English and Hispanic Studies, 1999

Lawrence Butler Perks, MA Celtic Civilisation and Gaelic Studies, 2011; MSc Strategic Studies, 2012; PhD Politics and International Relations, 2017;

Aonghas MacConnich, MA (Hons) Celtic and History, 1999; PhD Celtic History, 2005

Elisa Taillefesse, English with Creative Writing, 2023

Maria Rasinkangas, English, 2020

Jodie Prentice, MA (Hons) German and Literature in a World Context, 2013

Graeme Sutherland, English, 2022

Robyn Wilkie, MA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics, 2016

Jean Conacher, MA French and German, 1986; PhD German Studies, 1991

Sheila Feldmanis, MA (Hons) French and German, 1986

Kenneth McKenzie, MA Gaelic Studies, 2011

Micaela Edhager, MA (Hons) English and History, 2020

Ruth Wolfe, MA (Hons) French and German, 1981

Catriona Bane, English, 2016

Claudia Sein, MSc Translation Studies, 2017

Gundula Sherman, MA (Hons) German, 1994

Robert Ferguson, BEng Chemical Engineering, 2023

Brian Stobie, MA (Hons) French and German, 1986

Flora Alexander, MA (Hons) English, 1961

Mary Younie, MA History of Art, 2001

Alice, LLB Law and German Law, 2002

Simona Tarpova, MSc Strategic Studies and International Law, 2021 

Lucy Angel, PGDE Secondary Education, 2012

Emily Beever, German and International Relations, 2013

Rebecca Hamilton, MA English and History, 2019; MLitt Creative Writing, 2020 Katriona Armstrong, French and German, 2013

Allison Reid, English with Scottish Literature, 2016

Paula Sledzinska, PhD Irish and Scottish Studies, 2023

Fen Glover, PhD

Derek Paterson, MA (Hons) French and Sociology, 2006

Jacob Campbell, MA (Hons) Politics and Sociology, 2019

Shirley Barr, MA, 1972

Scott Hames, PhD English, 2016

Fraser Mearns, MA (Hons) French and German, 2015

Caroline Campbell, MA French, 1985

Tatiana Shangurova, Celtic Studies, 2022

Eleanor Greenwood, BSc Immunology, 2015

Alex Calder, English, 2018

Paulina Smith

Tina Wolff, MA Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting, 2023

Sara Joswig, English and History, 2023

Judith Lawson, BEd, 2008

Marcas Mac an Tuarneir, MA (Hons) Gaelic and Hispanic Studies, 2008; MLitt Irish and Scottish Studies, 2010

Kay F Gauld, BD, 2009; PhD, 2010

Allan Tanner, MA (Hons) English and German, 2010

Jay Murphy, Modern Thought, 2011

Mark Calder, PhD Social Anthropology, 2015

Daniele Clementi, Archaeology, 2020

Claire Kennedy, French and German, 2015

Tasha Madigan, Gaelic Studies and German, 2016

Katie Allan, MA English, 2022

Shona Littlejohn, Education, 2020

Emma Cairns, MA (Hons) French and Hispanic Studies, 2015

Jessica Olea Macias, MA French and International Relations, 2015

Pauline Alkenas, MA (Hons) Language and Linguistics and Sociology, 2020

Professor Adam Roberts, BA (Hons), 1987

Joshua Lauder, English Literature, 2012

Daniel Juett, Politics and International Relations, 2012

Susan Ruddick, MA History, 2002

Alba Cristobal-Andaluz, French and German, 2023

Sophie Levine, Psychology, 2023

Amy Devlin, English and Gaelic Studies, 2022

Anna Majia-Rist, MA (Hons) English with Language and Linguistics, 2022

Ian Grosz, BSc (Hons) Environmental Geography, 1987; MLitt Creative Writing, 2019; PhD Creative Writing, 2023

Nathan Zuliani

Morven Craib, French Studies, 2023

Tiziana Küber, 2016

Melanie Whitter, Person Centred Counselling, 2023 

Liam Spicer, French Studies, 2014

Laura Hannot, Languages

Darryl Peers, MA English, 2019

Laura Gegiu, MA International Relations and Sociology, 2015; MSc European Politics and Society, 2016

Caroline de Jong-Anderson, MA French Studies, 2015

Kenneth Graham, Finance and German, 2018

Annika Simonsen, Language and Linguistics, 2018

Monica Burns, MLitt Creative Writing, 2018

Dr Eva Hayes de Kalaf, PhD Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2019

Ella Toeyrylae, MA Hispanic Studies and German, 2020

Charlie Audou, MA French and History, 2021

Ainsley McIntosh, English and Scottish Literature, 2010

Miriam Schlüter, English and Creative Writing, 2020

Ian Macartney, English, 2020

Victoria Chisholm, PGDE Primary Education, 2016

Kate Macdonald, MA (Hons), 1985

Savannah Pearce, English Literature and Spanish, 2022

Joanne Havinden, English, 2002

India Robson

Dylan Pearce, Real Estate and Finance, 2021

Nathalie Kemp, MA English, 2007

A. Sophie Lauwers, PhD Philosophy, 2023

Scott Stephen, PhD English, 2011

Emilija Augutyté, MA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 2022

Dr L Muir, MA (Hons) French and German, 2006

Emma Sutherland, French and Psychology, 2022

Neil Thomson, MA (Hons) Economics and International Relations, 1982

Matthew Lee, PhD, 2023

Sarah Naumann, MA (Hons) French and German, 2010

Jack Sunderland, MA (Hons) French and German, 2015

Anna Liggat, BSc Tropical Environmental Science, 2002

Andrew Saunders, MA, 1996

Matthew Angell, Politics and International Relations with French, 2021 

Kyla Shirlaw, MA European Management Studies, 2003

Erika Fülöp, PhD, 2008

Melanie Wilson

Malte Froemchen, MGeol Geology, 2020

Feliks Levin, PhD

Scott Kemp, MA English and German, 2020

Kerri McEwan, French and Gaelic, 2014

Grant Costello, Politics and International Relations, 2015

Elles Smallegoor, PhD English Literature, 2010

Oliver Duncan, MA French Studies, 2023

Kirsty M Stewart, MA (Hons) Gaelic Studies, 1996

Axel Koehler, MA (Hons), 2002

Kristin Gjersvold, MA History of Art, 2011; MLitt Scandinavian Studies, 2012

Asha Rennie-Eaglesfield, MA (Hons) Celtic Studies with Linguistics, 2011

Friederike Wipfler, Economics and International Relations, 2016

Katie Seal, MA (Hons) French and Gaelic Studies, 2014

Claire Burt, MA (Hons) French and Hispanic Studies with Teacher Education, 2007

Hannah Nicholson, MLitt Creative Writing, 2017 

Barry Mitchell, MA Economics and International Relations, 1995

Pauline Krings, German Literature and Linguistics, 2014

Jamie Smith, History, 2016

Daniel Simpson, Film and Visual Culture with Hispanic Studies, 2013

Dr Chris Heppell, PhD Visual Culture, 2016  

Gill Russell, PhD Biochemistry, 1984

Rachel McIver-Holmes, History and Gaelic Studies, 2009

Sean Holmes, History and Management, 2008

Kirsty, Gaelic and Politics, 2019

Bria Masson

Christine Klien, MA Gaelic Studies, 2011

Margaret Menninger, PhD

Eloise Grey, PhD, 2020

Blair Robertson, Chemistry, 2014

Véronique Heynsbroek, MA English Literature and Gaelic, 2013; MLitt Gaelic, 2015

Maisie Haggart, Mental Health Nursing, 2022

Emmet Taylor, PhD Early and Medieval Irish, 2023

Rachel Geddes, History and Gaelic Studies, 2015

Lee Raye, MA (Hons) Celtic Studies, 2011

Graeme Campbell, MA (Hons) French and Hispanic Studies, 2006

Saoirse McIntee, Community Music with Gaelic Language, 2022

Heike Pichler, PhD English Sociolinguistics, 2009

Kursheed Ahmad, PhD English, 2021

Beverly Gall, MA (Hons) German Studies, 1991

Fiona Urquhart

Laura Mackie, MA (Hons) German Studies, 2002

Alison Passe, PhD French Studies, 2019

Stephanie Benzies, MA (Hons) English and French, 2017; MLitt Film and Visual Culture, 2018

Dr Nicky Imrie, German and History of Art, 2002

Blair Bowman, Hispanic Studies, 2013

Laurie Raye, MA Religious Studies, 2011

Gregor Duncan, MA French and Hispanic Studies, 2009

Rebecca Drummond, MA Hispanic Studies and Mathematics, 2007

Shonagh McLennan, PGDE Gaelic and History, 2012

Sam Appleton, MA German and International Relations, 2006

Amy Orr, German and Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2022

Keava McMillan, PhD Visual Culture, 2017

Timothy Tuckley, MA French Studies, 2010

Andrew Sutherland, MA Psychology, 1999

Catriona Forbes, MA (Hons) French and German, 1991

Professor Graeme Macdonald, English and Sociology, 1991

Aino Betts, Hispanic Studies, 2017

Alex Downing, MA English Literature and German, 2015

Katherine Miller, French Studies, 2002

Isabella Fausti, Film and Visual Culture and Philosophy, 2016

Alyssa Corrao-Bal, MA French Studies, 2017

Sophie Roulston, MA French and German, 2019

Anja Meyer, Mathematics, 2016

Kate Ferrier, MA English Literature with Creative Writing, 2020; MLitt English Literature, 2021

Dr Feena Tóibín, PhD Gaelic, 2021

Sandra NicLeòid, MA (Hons) Gaelic, 1990

Dianne Taylor, Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2020

James Eglinton, LLB (Hons) Law, 2004

Heather Green, LLB Law, 1986; PhD 1995

Nancy McGuire, MA, 1997; MLitt, 1998; PhD Gaelic Studies, 2001

Mary McDonald, MA English and History, 1969

Gisele Ledingham, Gaelic Studies, 2009

Jacqueline Booth, Celtic and Gaelic Studies, 2010

Sarah Finlay-Smith, History, 2018

Gordon Cameron, MA (Hons) Gaelic Studies, 1996

Anna Roberts, MBChB Medicine, 2011

Katherine Trail, LLB Law, 2012

Ruth Cameron, PGDE English Teaching, 2013

Anna Fancett, English, 2007

Carol Smith, MA Gaelic Studies, 1995

Margaret Roberts, Gaelic Studies, 2012

Sarah Sutherland, MA (Hons) Gaelic, 2011

Ina Knieselies, PGDE Modern Languages, 2020

Katie Wight, MA (Hons) Celtic Studies, 2002

Daniel Wall, MA (Hons), 2002; MLitt, 2004; PhD, 2008

Caroline Hood, LLB (Hons) Law, 2008

Coll Murchison-Macdonald, Accountancy, 2006

Yvonne Gunn, MA (Hons) Gaelic Studies, 2000

Anna Karbowska, LLB Law, 2011; MLitt Business and Art, 2013

Angela Weir, Gaelic Studies, 1998

Ross, French Studies, 2023

Eilidh Dennis, French and German, 2004

Victoria Maciver, PGDE Gaelic Education, 2009

Fiona Mackenzie, MA, 1982

Elsa Papa, English Literature and German, 2020

William Creed, MA English Literature, 2017

Lindsay Dombrowski, PhD Celtic, 2010

Julie Robertson, MA French Studies, 1995

Annchris Maclean, MA Gaelic Studies, 2005; PGDE Gaelic Teaching, 2009

Alessa Raine Catterall, BMus Music, 2014

Rebecca Ritchie, MA (Hons) French and German, 2018

Alasdair Allan, PhD Scots Language, 1998

Elizabeth Joss, French Language and Literature, 1969

Dr Hugh Dan McLennan, PhD, 1998

Pat MacLeod, BEd Celtic Studies, 1983

Timothy Currie Armstrong, PhD Gaelic Studies, 2009

Adam Shaw, Hispanic Studies and International Relations, 2013

Lina Jaara, MA Politics and International Relations, 2018

Antonia Uri, French and Hispanic Studies, 2019

Gabriela Domené López, MA Anthropology and Archaeology, 2018

Marion Griffiths, MA (Hons) Gaelic Studies, 2008

Mairi Nicol, MA French and German, 2019

Kathleen Renwick, European Cultural Studies, 2003

Catherine Adamson, French and Politics, 2002

Rachel, Gaelic and Linguistics, 2008

Peter Burnet, Cultural History, 1990

Megan Paterson, MA French and Hispanic Studies, 2019

Steven Kellow, MA Gaelic Studies and Politics, 2016

Alexandra Boyes, Politics and International Relations, 2020; Strategic Studies and International Law, 2021

Roxanne Mackie, History of Art and German, 2014

Des Scholes, Gaelic and French, 2007

Margaret Mackay, MA (Hons) Gaelic Studies, 2002

Judith Taylor, MSc, 2009

Silvia Leith, PGDE French, 2012

Noemi Noel Dilibarajah, Translation and Interpretation, 2023

Ngan Nguyen, MLitt Creative Writing, 2020

Isabella Engberg, MA (Hons) English and German, 2020

Marlee Kirilova, History, 2022

Dorota Chomicz, MA Pedagogy

Jillian Ormerod, English with Creative Writing, 2023

D. Sutherland, MA (Hons) French, German and English

Mairi Henderson, Celtic Studies, 2002; Irish and Scottish Studies, 2003

Paul Mathers, MA German with Music, 2022

Alwin Leene, Film and Visual Culture, 2020

Anna Wilson, Psychology and Gaelic, 2007

Tomas Pizzaro-Escuti, MA History and IR, 2021

Carolyn Bailey, MA (Hons) German and International Relations, 1994

Gemma Reid, French and Hispanic Studies, 2016

Martyna Biorka, MA English, 2016; MLitt English, 2017; PGDE, 2021

Martin Raymond, MA (Hons) English and History, 1979; MEd, 1981

Kirsty Stanton, MA Archaeology, 2018; MSc Archaeology, 2019

Andrew Mackillop, MA History, 1991

Jan Murdoch, MA, 1983

Katie McGhee, History, 2023

Saskia Schulze, French and Hispanic Studies, 2019

Hazel Seymour, French and Linguistics, 2012

Dr Lynzi Duncan, MA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, 2008; MRes Political Research, 2012

Kristie Opperman, MA French and Hispanic Studies, 2011

Catriona Grainger, German and Philosophy, 2011

Catherine Dunn, MA (Hons) Celtic Studies, 1972

Sara Misuri, History of Art and Film and Visual Culture, 2023

Elaine Scott, MA French Studies, 2013

Jennifer Hamilton, History and Film and Visual Culture, 2021

Helen McGinley, MA (Hons) German and Russian, 1992

Federica, MA English Literature and Creative Writing, 2020

Alison Sinclair, MA (Hons) French and Hispanic Studies, 1992

Pamela Adam, BD (Hons), 1994

Gabija Paskeviciute, History and Politics, 2021


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