Máiréad Nic Craith

Prof, Prof of Cultural Heritage and Anthropological Studies

  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

1984 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


My academic career began with a lectureship at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, funded as a result of the Irish Government’s commitment to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Subsequently, I was Director of the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster, set up in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement to undertake cross-community research, teaching and outreach activities. In 2012, I was appointed to a Chair in Cultural Heritage and Anthropological Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. I have also held a number of interim positions internationally. In 2010, I held a research fellow at the National University of Ireland in Dublin. I was subsequently appointed to a DAAD guest professorship at the University of Göttingen. I have held honorary professorships at the University of Exeter and the Ulster University. More recently I was a visiting research fellow at Harvard University. I have received many accolades for my publications, including the Ruth Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff research prize for folklife (joint winner).  I was awarded a Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship at the University of Ulster. In 2009 I was elected to the Royal Irish Academy, the highest academic honour in Ireland. I have served on numerous research evaluation panels in Australia, Canada and Europe.

Research interests

I am deeply committed to enhancing awareness of the potential of heritage to make a positive contribution to society (see my TEDx talk on Intangible Heritage 2015). While at the University of Ulster, I collaborated with government and charitable organisations, such as the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages, Derry City Council, Diversity 21, the Ulster American Folk Park, and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Collaborative projects included a commissioned report for Fermanagh District Council on cultural and linguistic policy. I led a report on African migration in Northern Ireland commissioned by the Community Relations Council, and organised a symposium on peace agreements and (mis)communication (in honour of the Nobel laureate John Hume). In 2007, I was invited by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, to prepare a brief relating to culture and language issues in Northern Ireland. Since my arrival to Heriot-Watt University in 2012, I have developed links with national organisations such as the National Library of Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, and international organisations such as POLIN (Museum of the History of Polish Jews). I have collaborated with organisations such as the UN in Geneva, the Scottish-Polish Heritage Project in Edinburgh and the Community Relations From 2016- 2019, I was involved in a HORIZON 2020 European-wide collaborative research project on cultural heritage and social identity and cohesion.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • GN Anthropology
  • GR Folklore
  • GT Manners and customs


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