Born and raised in Alaska, Josh arrived in Scotland in 1992 to study Scottish Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen (MA, 1996). He then undertook doctoral research in the history of the piping tradition of the southern Outer Hebrides at the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh (PhD, 2001).
Josh has performed publicly in the contemporary Gaelic music scene with Na Trì Seudan and Allan MacDonald’s award-winning 2004 Edinburgh Festival recital series, From Battlelines to Barlines. He is currently concerned with leading ground-breaking curricular reform which has helped position Scotland's national conservatoire as distinctive in the UK and wider Europe in the field of tertiary-level traditional music studies. This has been enacted through curriculum enhancement research and implementation, an honorary lectureship at the University of St Andrews, research publications and through the organisation of a themed international conference, 'Pedagogies, Practices and the Future of Folk Music in Higher Education', planned for January 2018 in partnership with the world-renowned Celtic Connections festival.
Josh's PhD thesis was published under the title When Piping Was Strong: Tradition, Change and the Bagpipe in South Uist (John Donald, 2006). His ground-breaking anthology of piping studies in our time, The Highland Bagpipe: Music, History, Tradition, is published by Ashgate under its Popular & Folk Music series (2009).
He has been a postdoctoral fellow of Celtic & Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, and acted as an assistant editor of peer-reviewed journal Scottish Studies.
Joshua Dickson is Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He contributes broadly to the teaching of history and research skills across academic levels, to Gaelic language and song studies and to the pibroch syllabus within the Highland bagpipe curriculum.