TIDES: Mike Danson – Enterprising islanders? A comment on the promotion of localism, foundational economies and community wealth building.

The concentration of retailing to supermarket chains is in contrast to the promotion of localism, foundational economies and community wealth building. The challenges to assert alternatives to this concentration have been accelerated during these times of Covid lockdowns, climate emergencies and Brexit consequences. Appreciating the diversity of challenges and potential responses across the country, Mike Danson offers a comment most especially in regard of island and rural enterprise opportunities and ambitions.

Enterprising islanders?

by Mike Danson

On a particularly wet and windy day in the Hebrides, someone brought homemade scones in for the meeting, a welcome accompaniment to the coffee. However, there were no sandwiches for lunch as ferries were stormbound and so no deliveries possible for a couple of days. Why could colleagues who baked their own scones not make bread and fill with their own ingredients? Deconstructing this brief tale exposes the vulnerabilities of being at the wrong end of extensive supply chains, dependent on distant providers, and yet unable to produce locally sustainably.

After all, crofters and farmers, as with the rest of the community on islands, must be enterprising, innovative and capable of multitasking with self-sufficiency and incomes from several sources the norm. What is limiting the establishment of new businesses to fill the gaps in supplies, substituting local production for imports from the mainland, is one of the main themes in our chapter Margins of Resilience, Sustainability and Success: Island Enterprise and Entrepreneurship[i] and there we have aimed to explain this conundrum. Underpinning the lack of bakers, dairies, butchers, and all the other traditional high street shops in remote villages and townships are the same economic forces which have emptied neighbourhood shopping centres in towns and cities across Scotland: the buying and selling powers of the oligopoly supermarkets. The privileges gained by these mega companies are based on monopoly powers in supply chains, logistics and in retailing with consequences of lower prices for consumers but narrower choices, and fearsome barriers for entry or sustainability for small and medium shops and other local suppliers. Simply, island shops and suppliers cannot compete with these multinational goliaths. Even here in the hills above Inverness, with a mixed community of fairly affluent commuters and families resident long term, the local shop is not the natural place for their daily newspapers, milk and bread: 5 miles away are Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi, Coop all driving down margins and destroying livelihoods.

All this concentration of retailing into these supermarket chains is in contrast to the promotion of localism, foundational economies and community wealth building, which have been accelerated during these times of Covid lockdowns, climate emergencies and Brexit consequences. Appreciating the diversity of challenges and potential responses across the country, our final report A National Mission for a Fairer, Greener Scotland[ii] of the Just Transition Commission in April 2021 made a number of recommendations specific to these remote geographies. Supporting local economies and 20-minute neighbourhoods means encouraging quite different development paths and opportunities in urban and in island locations. Understanding these differences and similarities, and recognising and assessing the (unintended) consequences of how theories, strategies and policies apply in each was the focus of the book Peter de Souza and I edited in 2014: Regional Development in Northern Europe Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues[iii] and specifically about Scottish islands more recently[iv]. Drawing from evidence and experiences from many locations on the northern margins of Europe, we argued that communities could learn from each other across this periphery rather than from the core[v]. Ownership, use and management of local resources, and of land especially, comes out of that research quite naturally and provides a contrast and direction of travel for addressing the long-standing development of the underdevelopment[vi] of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands

The monopoly powers of landowners almost always tend to work against the interests of tenants, crofters, entrepreneurs and small populations occupying large estates as we analysed in a paper for Community Land Scotland Scoping the Classic Effects of Monopolies within Patterns of Rural Land Ownership[vii]. There and elsewhere we argued for land reform on economic grounds, releasing the enterprise and energy of the community to address market failures and to benefit locals and the nation as a whole (see our complementary study on the advantages of revealing the promises of the commons[viii]). However, simplistic cries for more community ownership and asset transfers are grossly insufficient in themselves to address lack of resilience and incapacity to confront the ongoing and increasing threats to island and remote rural lives. Just a change in ownership cannot help overcome the powerful forces of supermarkets, externally owned and managed tourism and service companies. Communities coming out from the long shadows of monopoly ownership of their land will also, and like any community but more so, suffer from internal conflicts and stresses and our analysis of the real issues around such challenges in Sutherland for example are examined here[ix]. Rather, and as we set out in a paper to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, communities which have seen their local cultures, societies and economies degraded and truncated for the last two centuries need helped, supported and encouraged to regenerate and revitalise[x].   

Where distance from distribution depots and low concentrations of demand offer insufficient margins to supermarkets even with their economies of scale and scope, then local shops and suppliers are faced with appreciably higher costs to be passed onto their customers. Over the last 50 years, greater expectations and increased opportunities on the mainland have led to changing habits amongst populations everywhere. This has had repercussions in young people’s career choices, their hopes and aspirations in terms of education, jobs, culture, health, entertainment, consumption and so on. Of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, all but 6 lose their younger people (18-30) to the big cities especially through leaving for university, with only the commuter zones around these cities eventually recovering through older age groups (30 plus) moving out from the centres. Without ‘graduate jobs’ to return to their home communities suffer ageing, loss vitality and a downward spiral. Many decades of clearances, monopoly ownership, truncated job ladders, environmental and ecological degradation are exacerbated by these changing external forces which then impact directly on the home island. In turn this increases dependency on these same outside resources and drivers from the distant core of the economy. Concomitantly, the ever more integrated national economy diminishes local capacities to intervene or to stem these global tides leading to further decline and in turn compromising capacities to resist or mark out a better future.

Simplistic and distant calls for more community ownership and for asset transfers without addressing not only the power imbalances but also critically the need to support and rebuild resilience of remote rural and island communities actually threatens to continue and indeed exacerbate long term trends of their peripheralization and marginalisation.

Against this depressing tableau of heartache and degeneration, undoubtedly some islands and islanders have undoubtedly carved out a more prosperous situation, establishing successful businesses, networks and new niches while retaining their own identities. Islands such as Arran and the Orkney archipelago and the Sleat peninsula present interesting case studies while a number of entrepreneurs and enterprising communities have created viable and sustainable export-oriented ventures The unique selling points core to the latter companies are critically based around their ability to sell premium products into luxury markets: food and drink, experiential tourism, expensive health and cosmetic product and services. Notably, none of the examples we cite in recent publications[xi] is aiming to sell to local islanders but rather to confirm their involvement and integration into the world of high value customers wherever they may be.

In the accompanying video talk on the impacts of Brexit, the external forces acting on the islands are exaggerating all the negativities apparent in the dysfunctional and incomplete economies and communities of Scotland’s islands. It cannot be underestimated how disruption to accessing the essential markets of the agriculture, shellfish and seafish producers of the northern and western isles threatens the very existence of many businesses, crofts, farms, families and communities, and therefore the cultures and societies of our most peripheral and marginal places and peoples. Yet, returning to those comparisons with our Nordic neighbours, often confronting even more extremes of climate, topography, soils and access, there are glimpses of what could be achieved and how the visions of better, greener and fairer futures might be delivered by and with these island communities (see footnote 3).

[i] Mike Danson and Kathryn A. Burnett (2021) Chapter 9 ‘Margins of resilience, sustainability and success: island enterprise and entrepreneurship’in Scotland and Islandness. Explorations in Community, Economy and Culture, eds. Kathryn A Burnett, Ray Burnett and Michael Danson, Oxford, New York: Peter Lang.

[ii] Just Transition Commission: A National Mission for a Fairer, Greener Scotland, Scottish Government, https://www.gov.scot/publications/transition-commission-national-mission-fairer-greener-scotland/.

[iii] Mike Danson and Peter de Souza (eds.) (2014) Regional Development in Northern Europe Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues, London: Routledge.

[iv] Mike Danson (2021) Chapter 6 Regional and Island Economies of Peripheries and Margins: ‘Nordic and Celtic’ Comparisons, in Scotland and Islandness. Explorations in Community, Economy and Culture, eds. Kathryn A Burnett, Ray Burnett and Michael Danson, Oxford, New York: Peter Lang.

[v] See Chapter 1: Introduction ‘Periphery and marginality: definitions, theories, methods and practice’ and Chapter 16: Conclusion ‘Concluding and looking at the border’ of Mike Danson and Peter de Souza (eds.) (2014) Regional Development in Northern Europe Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues.

[vi] Mike Danson (1991) The Scottish economy: the development of underdevelopment?, Planning Outlook, 34:2, 89-95, DOI: 10.1080/00320719108711898.

[vii] Mike Danson (2020) Scoping the Classic Effects of Monopolies within Patterns of Rural Land Ownership – A Discussion Paper https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/scoping-the-classic-effects-of-monopolies-within-patterns-of-rural-land-ownership-a-discussion-paper-2/

[viii] Mike Danson and Kathryn A. Burnett (2021) ‘Current Scottish land reform and reclaiming the commons: building community resilience’, Progress in Development Studies, 21:3, forthcoming.

[ix] Mike Danson, Janette Wyper and Geoff Whittam (2019) ‘Satellites to Sutherland-not quite coals to Newcastle!’, 17th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference – Inverness, https://inverness.impacthub.net/conference-programme.html.

[x] Mike Danson (2015) Empowered Community-Led Inclusion – Community Resilience, Report to

Strengthening Communities Directorate, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Inverness.

[xi] Kathryn A Burnett and Mike Danson (2016) ‘Sustainability and small enterprises in Scotland’s remote rural ‘margins’.’ Local Economy 31:5, 539-553. doi:10.1177/0269094216655518; Mike Danson ‘Gàidhlig, Gaeilge, Cymraeg and føroyskt mál: minority languages as economic assets?’ in Language Revitalisation and Social Transformation, eds. Huw Lewis, Wilson McLeod and Elin Royles, London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.

Scotland and Islandness – new edited collection

Scotland and Islandness: Explorations in Community, Economy and Culture (2021) Edited By Kathryn A. Burnett, Ray Burnett and Michael Danson

Peter Lang – Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XIV, 262 pp., 2 fig. b/w.

Studies in the History and Culture of Scotland

Scotland’s islands are diverse, resourceful and singularly iconic in national and global imaginations of places ‘apart’ yet readily reached. This collection of essays offers a fascinating commentary on Scotland’s island communities that celebrates their histories, cultures and economies in general terms. Recognising a complex geography of distinct regions and island spaces, the collection speaks to broader themes of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, narratives of place and people, the ideas and policies of island and regional distinctiveness, as well as particular examinations of literature, language, migration, land reform, and industry. With a view to placing ideas and expressions of islandness within a lived reality of island life and scholarship, the collection provides a multidisciplinary perspective on the value of continued and expanding research commentaries on Scotland’s islands for both a Scottish and an international readership. 

This book should instantly appeal to scholars of Island Studies, Scottish Studies, and Regional Studies of northern and peripheral Europe. Readers with particular interests in the sociology and history of Scottish rural and northern Atlantic communities, the cultural histories and economies of remote and island places, and the pressing socioeconomic agenda of small island sustainability, community building and resilience should also find the collection offers current commentaries on these broad themes illustrated with local island examples and contingencies.

Available in Hardback, PDF and Ebook.


Social justice: community land, energy and forestry event SCIS @ENGAGE

Laig Bay, Eigg K A Burnett SCIS

A Social Justice Approach to Community Land, Energy and Forestry
 Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Book here: https://www.engage.strath.ac.uk/event/597

Registration from 9:30 am
Venue: The Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde

This event aims to evaluate the current policy and practice of land reform in line with aspirations of social justice and with particular focus on forestry and energy. Bringing together experienced land reform researchers, journalists and public representatives, with community organisations and energy, labour and law academics.

There will be talks from Andy Wightman, MSP, Lesley Riddoch, author; Peter Peacock, former MSP and land reform campaigner;  and  Angela Williams from the Knoydart Foundation and Director of Community Land Scotland.  Followed by panel and audience discussion with contributions from Tiffany Kane, Operations Manager, organiser and campaigner for Common Weal and Kathryn A. Burnett, School of Media, Culture and Society, University of the West of Scotland is Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Island Studies<https://scotcis.wordpress.com/about/>.

The event is supported by Scottish Universities Insight Institute and is dedicated to the memory of John Booth of the Isle of Eigg renewable energy system. We are delighted to be joined by representatives from the island at the event

Who should attend?
We encourage all with an interest in land reform, community energy, forestry and tackling social inequality to attend.

This is an event that is open to the public.

Benefits of attending
This events brings together some of the most respected voices in Scottish Land reform along with community representatives and researchers who have been focusing on localised energy and forestry projects. This promises to be a provocative session that places the idea of social justice firmly at the centre the debate designed to inform future policy and practice.

Brian Garvey
Department of Work, Employment & Organisation
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 548 3999
email: brian.garvey@strath.ac.uk

Mapping Small Island Communicative Ecologies Seminar SCIS@UWS

Mapping Small island Communicative Ecologies Papoutsaki Jan 18Invitation to Research Seminar Creativity and Culture HUB,

School of Media, Culture and Society  

Wednesday 17th January 2018

14:00- 15:00 UWS Ayr Campus  GT 45

A/Prof. Evangelia Papoutsaki, UNITEC, New Zealand

Mapping Small Island Communicative Ecologies

Islands have a unique micro-communicative ecology makeup and distinctiv geographical and socio-cultural identities. This research seminar introduces the concept of island communicative ecology illustrated with examples from research conducted in several islands in the Pacific region.

The communicative ecology approach refers to the various forms, resources, activities, channels and flows of communication and information used by an island or group of islands or communities within islands. Mapping as a methodology enables a broader comprehension of the complexity of specific island communities and allows for the exploration of the various types of communication activity island people are engaged in (locally, trans-locally, intra-island, inter-island, trans-peripheral, national etc.), the resources available and the understanding of how these can be used in sustaining island communities.

In this seminar, several borrowed concepts, theories, terms and approaches from communication studies will be explored within an island context: communicative ecology, and communicative ecology layers (social, technological, discursive), communication infrastructure theory, communication action, storytelling network and storytelling agents, rhizomas and community media.

The presenter explores how the communicative environment forms part of existing island communities’ structures; identifies key communicative practices that contribute to sustaining islands sociocultural cohesion; explores the role of media, in particular community radio, in localized information flows unique to the islands; and identifies future areas of research of value to the field of Islands Studies especially through the application of the communicative ecology mapping approach.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki to Ayr campus for this research seminar. This seminar is open to all UWS staff and students and all are very welcome. Please email Lesley-Anne (lesley-anne.niven@uws.ac.uk) or myself (kathryn.burnett@uws.ac.uk) for any further information you may require.  Evangelia will be delighted to speak with colleagues on any aspect of her global work on media and communication in a range of key sectors and international settings (including diaspora and migrant identities, HIV/Aids, Climate Change, and participatory methods for community engagement). There is time set aside after the seminar for colleagues to meet with Evangelia further.

For further information on Evangelia’s extensive global experience and expertise in media, communication and community research and policy please refer here:



Communicative Ecologies Research Seminar Jan 2018

ENGAGE: Community Renewable Energy

Eigg compress 3 Eigg compress 2

Join colleagues from the University of Strathclyde,  Heriot Watt University and the University of the West of Scotland as they present research assessing community renewable energy potential in Scotland and Brazil.  The Scottish aspect of this  community partnership work was undertaken in 3 pilot sites across Scotland, including the isle of Eigg. If you would like to learn more about the Community Renewables Assessment Network  (contact: either brian.garvey@strath.ac.uk or paul.tuohy@strath.ac.uk) and for more information on this Engage University of Strathclyde event, please see below:

We are delighted to invite you to the Community Renewable Assessment Network event taking place during Engage with Strathclyde, on Tuesday 2nd May 2017, from 2pm to 4.30pm. Please pass on this invitation as appropriate.
This event will highlight work aimed at enhancing local social, economic and environmental benefits from Community Renewable Energy projects. This event introduces a new approach for the assessment of potentials for these projects and processes and tools for use by Community groups themselves and associated support organisations to support maximisation of Community benefits. Pilot deployments in Eigg, Kinlochleven and West Whitlawburn (Cambuslang) and rural settlements in Brazil will be presented.

Lunch and registration is available from 1pm, the program is:
2.00 Introductions, Kendra Briken, Kathryn Burnett Co-Chairs
2.10 Rationale for new assessment tool, Brian Garvey
2.30 Energy systems and the environment, Paul Tuohy, Elsa Joao, Russell Pepper with Eigg case study
2.50 Discussion and Break
3.20  Local economy and renewable energy, Scotland and Brazil, Mike Danson
3.35   Energy, health and wellbeing with Kinlochleven case study, Joanne Macfarlane
3.50   Future directions for new assessment tool 1: brownfield sites in Scotland, Richard Lord
4.00   Future directions for new assessment tool 2: agrarian reform settlements, Sao Paulo Brazil
4.15   Conclusion-community to community knowledge transfer, and discussion, Brian Garvey
There will be the opportunity to get involved in a Community Renewables Assessment Network going forward. The work so far has been funded by Scottish Universities Insight Institute, the ESRC Newton Fund and EPSRC.
Come along, learn new approaches, reflect on your own practice, share some of your knowledge and join the debate.
Registration and lunch / refreshments will be available from 1.00pm.
If you would like to attend this event, please register at: https://www.engage.strath.ac.uk/event/415
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.
Best wishes
The Team

The Conversation: Professor Mike Danson “Learning from Eigg”

Professor Mike Danson in The Conversation on island resilience and human capital as exemplified by the community of Eigg.

“In March, after a short fieldwork trip to Eigg, I found myself stormbound for three days. Ferries only land every other day, so this enforced delay confirmed how vulnerable and yet resilient such communities are. That the people of Eigg can take such disruption in their stride is testimony to islanders’ resilience generally, but it also demonstrated the capacity to accommodate visitors, to ensure those living alone were kept warm, fed and well.”

“What was revealed was the rich human capital, the resourcefulness of the people of Eigg and the way in which the residents led by the Trust have grown into managing and developing this community. Work and incomes are critical to the survival of such communities, yet the islanders voted against a fish farm development in line with their Green Eigg eco-commitment.”

Read full article here: Danson, M 2017 What other communities can learn from this islander buy-out in Scotland’s Hebrides, The Conversation 7th April 2017

“Harvesting knowledge: gleaning experience”

Eigg Craft Beer 2016KB Compress Eigg crafts poster 2016 KB compress.jpg

Sustainability, small island food and health enterprises

“At a time of major policy challenges around food, practical challenges faced by local initiatives and personal challenges faced by many individuals and families, it is reassuring that these are being addressed through the application of the collective knowledge and experience of local communities, practitioners, planners and academics across the country.”

See a short article in FareChoice 73 on our work on small island community, food and health related enterprise: https://www.communityfoodandhealth.org.uk/publications/fare-choice-73/

This commentary is provided as “An insight into the world of research provided by the members of the Scottish Colloquium on Food and Feeding … incorporated within the British Sociological Association’s food study group http://www.britsoc.co.uk/study-groups/foodscoff-(scottish-colloquium-on-food-and-feeding).aspx

Thanks to colleagues at both the Scottish Colloquium on Food and Feeding and at scoff  (BSA) for this inclusion.

For more information on Community Food and Health (Scotland) please visit their website at: https://www.communityfoodandhealth.org.uk/about-us/

Community Food and Health (Scotland) was established, originally under the name Scottish Community Diet Project, as a result of recommendations contained in the 1996 ground breaking government strategy “Eating for Health: A Diet Action Plan for Scotland”. The task identified was the need to ‘promote and focus dietary initiatives in low-income communities and bring these within a strategic format’.

Our aim remains to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity, ability and confidence to access a healthy and acceptable diet for themselves, their families and their communities.

We pursue this aim by ensuring the experience, understanding, and learning from local communities informs policy development and delivery. Communities, planners and policy makers are encouraged and enabled to constructively engage with each other in addressing inequalities in food and health.

CFHS works with both geographical communities (eg. neighbourhoods, villages) and communities of common interest (eg. users of mental health services, travellers), the common feature being that the work is focused on those communities that suffer disadvantage and would benefit most.

CFHS runs programmes of work around information, engagement, practice development, capacity building, inclusion and impact, within an approach that has recently been referred to as an assets-based approach; in other words, where local communities are seen as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

CFHS is funded through the Scottish Government and in April 2013 became part of NHS Health Scotland, following 16 years as part of Consumer Focus Scotland, formerly the Scottish Consumer Council. NHS Health Scotland is a special Health Board with a national remit to tackle health inequalities.”



Current Scottish land reform and reclaiming the Commons: building Community Resilience

INDIGO international symposium,
January 20th 2016
KU Leuven, Leuven, Campus Arenberg

Mike Danson Heriot-Watt University and Kathryn A Burnett University of the West of Scotland


Land and community ownership and management of assets are fundamental to economies and societies throughout northern Europe, and especially to those on the periphery and margins of the continent (Danson and de Souza, 2012). In a move to reduce the contrasts with the Nordic countries, recent changes in land ownership in Scotland have created spaces within which local people can nurture and develop the collective capabilities which will help their communities to sustain and grow. Achieving such fundamental change locally necessarily has involved coming together and acting as a defined community, with governance structures recognised by the State under dedicated land reform legislation. As elsewhere, the specific type and nature of economic and social development depends on the particularities of each community buy-out but all of the cases in Scotland are based on community ownership of the commons, confirming that the ‘commons’ are critical to understanding the processes and outcomes of people taking over their most basic of assets in these remote geographies – land and property. Further, all have demonstrated enterprise, innovation, initiative and planning to realise repopulation, improved housing, employment and business growth, and regeneration of the natural flora and fauna (Burnett and Danson, 2014).


This paper offers an historical and contemporary perspective of land ownership in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as both a reason for marginality and as a constraint on development. Theoretical perspectives underpinning the analysis are introduced and applied to recognise the origins of cooperative and community activities within these communities as being grounded approaches to meeting the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (Hardin, 1968) in harsh and difficult environments. It is argued that, alongside historical legacies and social norms, the long-established particular local institutional arrangements to address the peculiar physical, social and political contexts have created the foundations for subsequent community buy-outs of privately and state owned land and property. The forms and nature of these developments are assessed within the rules and property rights literature, as articulated in particular by Ostrom (2008) and Schlager and Ostrom (1992), to analyse the processes at work which have created opportunities for collective economic development within these communities. This is followed by an outline of the fundamental changes that have been taking place in land ownership, and the developments contingent on this, in remote and difficult to access areas of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Current moves to introduce more widespread land reform legislation and community empowerment are considered, with a particular focus on where the transfer of public assets and responsibilities is involved.

The discussion addresses the challenges faced by isolated communities and community volunteers in meeting expectations of different stakeholders and local members of the community, in delivering ambitious aspirations and plans, and in sustaining energies and consensus. The paper complements the other contributions on “Ploughing up the Landed Commons”: by considering the lived experiences of small fragile communities on the periphery which are differentiated by their geography, histories and assets (broadly defined to include natural and human heritage), before concluding with suggestions for policy recommendations and ideas for further research.


Burnett, K. and Danson, M. (2014) ‘Entrepreneurship and enterprise on islands’, in Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Volume 4) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.151 – 174, eds C Henry and G McElwee.

Danson, M. and de Souza, P. (eds.) (2012) Regional Development in Northern Europe: Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues, Abingdon: Routledge.

Danson, M., Callaghan, G. and Whittam, G. ‘Economic and enterprise development in community buy-outs’, in Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues in Northern Europe, eds M Danson and P de Souza, Abingdon: Routledge.

Hardin, G. (1968) ‘The tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162(3859): 1243–8.

Ostrom, E. (2008) Governing the Commons. The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schlager, E. and Ostrom, E. (1992) ‘Property-rights regimes and natural resources: a conceptual analysis’, Land Economics 68(3): 249–62.

Scotland’s Islands Bill progresses.

Empowering our islands. 23th August 2016Uig Bay, Skye

Minister Humza Yousaf announced that legislation to empower Scotland’s island communities is to be progressed:

“Our islands make a significant contribution to Scottish life from both a cultural and economic perspective. As such, I am immensely proud to be able to announce that I am bringing forward an Islands Bill less than a year after my predecessor launched the Government’s consultation on potential provisions.

“We have placed the aspirations and needs of our island communities at the centre of our empowerment agenda. Drawing on the work of both the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group and the consultation findings, the Bill will provide lasting benefits for all our island communities for generations to come.

“I believe that this demonstrates our strong and continued support for our island communities and our desire to deliver quickly on the election promises set out in our manifesto. I now look forward to working with the various island communities and representatives in bringing this into effect over the next year.”

The Islands Bill follows a period of consultation and debate on Scotland’s islands futures and it is proposed that the legislation be brought forward and delivered during the next 12 months, within the first year of the new parliamentary session.

The local authorities of Shetland (Shetland Islands Council) , Orkney (Orkney Islands Council) and the Western Isles (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), along with a number of key island and ‘remote peripheral region’  related organisations,  have  variously called for greater control over local matters and raised key isses and debate on Scotland’s islands long term  social and economic future not least through the campaign, Our islands – Our Future, in the lead up to 2014’s Scottish independence referendum.

See source: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Empowering-our-islands-2945.aspx

‘Renewable Energies’ SCIS @UWS at Island Dynamics Conference Unst, Shetland

Investing in Small Island Recovery:  Archipelagic Approaches to Sustainable Living

20 April 2012, North Unst Public Hall

Sustainable Development and Renewable Energies: Perceptions and Powers in Island Communities.

Paper by Geoff Whittam (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland), Kathryn A. Burnett (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland), and Mike Danson (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland)

This paper examines the development of renewable energy schemes in the islands of the north west of Scotland, and in particular explores the impacts of different forms of community, cooperative, corporate and private ownership and investment on the distribution of benefits to local people. Using asset management approaches to analyse how alternative ownership patterns of land and resources and of renewable energy initiatives may affect local communities, it seeks to identify the advantages and costs of pursuing different models of development based on these contrasting forms of ownership. Attention is also paid to how local communities engage with these debates and decisions by analysing the public discourse on proposed renewable schemes, with reference to digital broadcast, print, and new media forms. The paper therefore addresses three key issues: which renewables projects are chosen and how are they structured and managed; what revenue flows are generated and how are these distributed; and finally, in relation to the above, some comment on how ‘public’ perceptions are both constructed and managed across media forms in relation to renewable energy and island communities in Scotland.

Scottish Island Studies research chapter in Community Media edited collection

Kathryn A. Burnett and Tony Grace (2009) ‘Community, Cultural Resource and Media: Reflecting on Research Practice’  in Gordon, Janey (ed.) (2009) Notions of Community:  A Collection of Community Media Debates and Dilemmas; Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. 310 pp., 5 ill.

ISBN 978-3-03911-374-3 pb.

This volume gets beyond simple descriptions of the values and processes involved in community media and is deliberately seeking argument and structured debate around the issues of this vibrant sector of the media. The contributors examine the dilemmas that have emerged within this sector and provide an incisive overview. The chapters use case studies and data research to illustrate the major debates facing community media, along with a sideways look at the dilemmas that community media practitioners and their audiences must engage with.
This collection provides an international perspective and covers the traditional formats as well as newer media technologies. It also gives some intriguing examples of community media, which get beyond simple good practices.


Contents: Janey Gordon: Introduction – Saba ElGhul-Bebawi: The Relationship between Mainstream and Alternative Media: A Blurring of the Edges? – Lawrie Hallett: The Space Between: Making Room for Community Radio – Janey Gordon: Community Radio, Funding and Ethics: The UK and Australian Models – Kathryn A. Burnett/Tony Grace: Community, Cultural Resource and Media: Reflecting on Research Practice – Katie Moylan: Towards Transnational Radio: Migrant Produced Programming in Dublin – Gavin Stewart: Selling Community: Corporate Media, Marketing and Blogging – Michael Meadows/Susan Forde/Jacqui Ewart/Kerrie Foxwell: A Catalyst for Change? Australian Community Broadcasting Audiences Fight Back – Kitty van Vuuren: The Value and Purpose of Community Broadcasting: The Australian Experience – Pollyanna Ruiz: Manufacturing Dissent: Visual Metaphors in Community Narratives – Janey Gordon: The Mobile Phone and the Public Sphere: Mobile Phone Usage in Three Critical Situations – Jason Wilson/Barry Saunders/Axel Bruns: ‘Preditors’: Making Citizen Journalism Work – Dimitra L. Milioni: Neither ‘Community’ Nor ‘Media’? The Transformation of Community Media on the Internet.