Many of the academics that we consulted advised to categorise content based on broader themes which contain interdisciplinary perspectives. In addition, to bring themes together, we chose to use streets as starting points. This is because streets are binding threads that incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives. E.g. they bring together people, objects, physical features and buildings which in and of themselves can be explored through interdisciplinary lenses.

This course prototype has therefore been designed to have students study one street in one week. The street will contain broad themes that incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives relating to the street and its surrounding areas.


A thematic approach can be applied to any street in Edinburgh. The themes are designed to bring together perspectives and knowledge from a variety of disciplines and explore a local/global challenge related to the theme using that street as a starting point. Content will be delivered online in forms such as recordings of lectures, videos, articles etc. and these can be curated from different schools contributing content for relevant themes.

For example, for themes such as ‘Birth and Rebirth’ when studying Leith Walk, content can be curated from a range of subjects such as Geography, Architecture and Civil Engineering. After gaining an introductory understanding, students can then explore issues such as gentrification and the rise of community activism around this. The issues studied will differ from street to street and will depend on the themes for each street.

Here are a few indicative themes we have come up with for a few streets.

Birth and Rebirth
  • Looking at the evolution of the area of Leith using concepts such as degeneration, regeneration, and gentrification.
  • Understanding the links between the above processes and community activism around issues such as housing crises.


Manufacturing a city
  • Using Leith’s historical reputation as a hub of various industries (shipbuilding, whaling, etc) as a starting point to explore the role of industry in the growth of Edinburgh.
Lives of Leith
  • Understanding Leith’s different communities and their spaces.
  • Exploring the wider relationship between immigration and Edinburgh using Leith as a focus.
Lenses on Leith I-Lights Camera Leith!
  • Taking a look at representations of Leith in Film and Literature.
  • Evaluating the representations and misinterpretations and understanding its implications.
Lenses on Leith II- Let’s Paint Leith
  • Exploring various forms of street art on Leith and understanding its relationship with community-building.


Building a City
  • Taking a geological perspective to understand glaciation, topography, and landscape.
  • Understanding the relationship between geology and different styles of architecture and buildings.
A day in the life of…
  • Taking a look into the everyday lives of people from medieval times to the present, with a focus on settlements, occupations and everyday life.
  • Exploring the role of tourism and its impact on residents of Edinburgh.
Becoming EnlightenED
  • Understanding the significance of the Scottish Enlightenment through the lives of famous thinkers.
  • Evaluating the modern-day relevance of the Enlightenment.
Who wears the Cr0wn
  • Taking a historical perspective on the evolution of power from medieval times to Edinburgh’s role in political changes such as Brexit.
  • Understanding the relationship between different ‘seats of power’ like the Castle and Parliament.
Living and Dying
  • Understanding the use and abuse of capital punishment in Edinburgh.
  • Understanding the relationship between urban planning, sanitation and public health issues that continue to affect citizens of Edinburgh.


The Rocks Beneath Our Feet
  • Taking a look at the geological features of Blackford Hills and understanding its geological connections to the other hills in Edinburgh.
Hilly Havens
  • Exploring the connections between different kinds of habitats, flora, and fauna with a focus on conservation.
  • Understanding the connections between green spaces in Edinburgh, well-being, and sustainability.


‘Second star to the right, and straight on till morning’
  • Exploring the history of the Royal Observatory and its connections with the university.
Souls of Science
  • Using King’s Buildings as a starting point to explore the lives and contributions of various scientists and individuals.
  • Exploring the issue of representation of marginalized groups in STEM fields.
Inventing and Reinventing Edinburgh
  • Understanding the relationship between scientific research and investments in related fields to the progress of Edinburgh.
  • Critically evaluating the local and global significance of research-based in Edinburgh.


(Note: The list of themes and related issues provided here is by no means exhaustive or final. The intention is to show how this idea for the thematic study of streets can be made interdisciplinary in the above manner. )