SRUC Islands Webinar: Mike and Kathryn present on islands enterprise research

Enterprising Islanders. The promotion of localism, foundational economies and community wealth building.

Danson, M. and Burnett, K.A. SRUC Islands Webinar Series Invited Talk. June 2021

Big thanks to SRUC @RuralPolicySRUC, Dr Jane Atterton and colleagues for the Islands Webinar series invitation and really great to have all questions, examples, observations, and ‘where and what next ‘comments and feedback from webinar participants.

The wealth of island community knowledge, activity and energy is crucial in any wider policy and evaluation process; so too is the opportunity to connect, bridge and share old and new history and experiences. Thank you: loads “to think with” and “to do with” together!

Please see the recent book, a collection of island studies essays for further linkages discussed in part in our talk Scotland and Islandness (2021).

See also our invitation to submit an idea or suggestion for our Tides essay series. This series in the 2020-2021 Year of Coasts and Water is just launched this month. Do look at the information on how to get in touch and offer a note of interest to contribute a short essay or commentary to our Tides focus online:

The first Tides essay was by Mike on this very theme of Enterprising Islanders. The promotion of localism, foundational economies and community wealth building. June 1st 2021.

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,

[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

[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,

[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.

Elisabeth Holm presents paper on ‘Language learning and migration: Voices from blue-collar workplaces in the Faroe Islands’

Elisabeth Holm, University of the Faroe Islands, presented to The Role of Universities in Addressing Societal Challenges and Fostering Democracy: Inclusion, Migration, and Education for
Conference , hosted online by the University of Akureyri, Iceland March 25th – 26th, 2021. Elisabeth’s paper was entitled” ‘Language learning and migration: Voices from blue-collar workplaces in the Faroe Islands’ and was developed from her doctoral research at Heriot Watt University, Scotland.

For a publication relating to this work see here:

“Mikladalur, Faroe Islands” by DavideGorla is licensed under CC BY 2.0

An image above of houses on a coast. The photograph image is from the Faroe Islands. The photographer is Davide Gorla.

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:

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<>.

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

“Whichever way I look I see a clouded horizon”: Compton Mackenzie SCIS Research Paper at MeCCSA 2019

MECCSA 2019, University of Stirling


Kathryn A. Burnett, University of the West of Scotland and Ray Burnett, Scottish Centre for Island Studies

“Whichever way I look I see a clouded horizon” wrote Mackenzie once of his uneasy relationship with the island of Herm, in the English Channel.  D.H. Lawrence’s tale (pub.1928) of the “the man who loved  islands” is reputed to be greatly informed by the complex affections and affectations of  – amongst many descriptors – writer, broadcaster, activist, and resolute islophile Compton Mackenzie.  The “topos of the island explores and creates bridges between the real and the imaginary” state Stephanides and Bassett (2008) but crucially also between “genres and disciplines ”. This paper deploys a retrospective lens through the post-war iconography of Whisky Galore (1949 Dir., Mackendrick), offering a pivoting multi-disciplinary perspective of Mackenzie ’s time in the Hebrides, as well as  his “island time” spent elsewhere. With reference to Mackenzie’s own memoirs – not least  of his time among the “aristocrats of democracy” – and his considerable published works, as well as media accounts and broadcast archive, off-shore socio-political questions will be asked of onshore cultural policy, and of continuing  dialogues of ‘remoteness’, ‘islandness’, independence and nationhood today.


SCIS Research Meeting July 5th 2018

Invitation    –    All welcome.
SCIS Research Meeting
Thursday 5th July 2018    Time: 10:30 – 12:30
UWS Paisley Campus –    NB – note venue change
Room J251 Elles Building West.

There will be a meeting of the Scottish Centre for Island Studies on Thursday 5th July 2018 at UWS  Paisley Campus (Room J251). The meeting will include updates on current SCIS related projects. It will also provide an opportunity for discussion around new links and for proposed new activity.

*Apologies – we have moved the venue to Paisley UWS campus as CCA room is currently unavailable.

Please email: if you would like to attend or for more information.Canna 2011 034

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 ( or myself ( 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

UWS SAGES Funded PhD Studentship:deadline 26th Jan 2018

Funded PhD Studentship

Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in island communities: engaging participatory approaches to inform community decision-making

Uist Shore web
Liniclate, looking to South Uist: Image KA Burnett

Remote islands are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, changing weather patterns and their impacts on storminess, coastal erosion, and flooding. Moreover, the particular nuanced contexts of remote rural settings can compound this physical vulnerability, a layer of vulnerability that is not considered in the typical climate change impact studies. This is the case in Scotland, where most climate change impact studies have tended towards a top-down approach, rather than engaging the communities and decision-makers impacted by climate change in the analysis of vulnerabilities. For an effective adaptation policy, local circumstances and characteristics need to be taken into account. An assessment following an integrated perspective on vulnerability, incorporating both top-down and bottom-up components is a mean for capturing this knowledge for decision-making. Moreover, research on policy discourse framings of climate change in remote island settings has value in terms of offering a basis for a critical analysis of dominant representations and narratives and of other competing accounts, as climate change in rural areas occurs in the context of other social, economic and land use and ownership trends.

The aim for this studentship is to develop a climate change adaptation assessment framework suited to participation, integration and collaboration in the context of rural island communities. Rural populations are particularly sensitive to environmental change given their dependence on natural resources. The study offers an opportunity to assess the risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities of climate change through the co-production of knowledge with stakeholders, and to initiate dialogue on climate adaptation. Baseline assessments of climate change vulnerability will be performed to inform the adaptation discourse using an integrated socio-environmental vulnerability assessment methodology in a number of island case study sites in Scotland.

Methodologically the study will build on the established partnerships between the supervisory team and communities in the selected island locations in order to elucidate their perspectives on climate vulnerability and adaptation options. Qualitative data collection and analysis of interviews and other stakeholder-focussed activities are envisaged as being a key part of this. Community engagement work will also be informed by analysis of existing climatic records and of climate change projection.

This studentship will be co-supervised by Dr Alexandre Gagnon and Dr Kathryn A. Burnett, University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and Dr Alistair Geddes, University of Dundee. Dr Massimo Bollasina, Edinburgh University, will also play an advisory role.

This studentship is funded by the Scottish Association for Geosciences, Environment, and Society (SAGES) and UWS and is available from October 2018. Students will receive an annual stipend at the RCUK rate (currently £14,553 per annum) and payment of tuition fees.

Apply using the following link: by deadline of January 26 2018.

For further information about the project, please contact Dr Gagnon: or tel: +44 (0)141 848 3270.

Place apart: Scotland’s north as a cultural industry of margins

P67 image

A new book chapter “Place apart: Scotland’s north as a cultural industry of margins” by Kathryn A. Burnett is published in the latest Relate North (2017) collection of essays edited by Timo  Jokela and Glen Coutts:  Relate North: University of Lapland Press present a new collection of essays.

The chapter explores themes of culture, community and communication of island arts and cultural representation enterprise with examples drawn from across Scotland’s islands and highland ‘north’ communities.

“This discussion explores artistic imagining of Scotland’s highlands and islands as a place both ‘north’ and ‘on the margin’.  Cultural representation of Scotland’s highlands and islands and processes of communicating these representations are subject to ongoing interrogation and debate. What and how remote communities, cultures and places are represented through art is undoubtedly informed by debates on survival, sustainability and responses to marginal status. The account presented here examines some of these themes from a Scottish perspective, including how art informs cultural production and creative economies in and of Scotland’s remote communities.”

To access the chapter via UWS research portal link here:

Historic Islands (Scotland) Bill introduced today to the Scottish Parliament, 12 June 2017.

Supporting, strengthening and protecting island communities.

cropped-uist-july-07-074 (2)

An historic bill has been introduced to Parliament to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future. The Islands (Scotland) Bill today (12 June) will help create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowered communities.

Measures in the bill will include:

  • A requirement to ‘island proof’ future legislation and policies
  • The creation of a National Islands Plan
  • Statutory protection for the Na h-Eileanan an lar Scottish parliamentary constituency boundary
  • Greater flexibility around Councillor representation within island communities
  • Extended powers to island councils in relation to marine licencing

Islands Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“This government is committed to promoting islands’ voices, to harnessing islands’ resources and enhancing their well-being. The measures in this bill underpin this ambition.

In particular, the provision to ‘island-proof’ decision-making across the public sector will ensure the interests of islanders are reflected in future legislation and policy from the very outset.

“The National Islands Plan will set out the strategic direction for supporting island communities, continuing the momentum generated by the ‘Our Islands Our Future’ campaign and the work of the Islands Strategic Group.

“This is the first ever bill for Scotland’s islands, marking an historic milestone for our island communities. I am proud and privileged as Islands Minister to be guiding the Bill through Scotland’s Parliament. ”


Relate North: University of Lapland Press present a new collection of essays.

Professor Timo Jokela and Professor Glen Coutts of the University of Lapland bring together artists, art educators and researchers from across the Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) network in this edited collection of essays examining themes of culture, community and communication and the book details are provided below including links to where it can be accessed in digital and print form.
For more information of the work and activities of the ASAD network  see link here:

Relate North. Culture, Community and Communication


Drawing on projects and studies from northern countries, Relate North: Culture, Community and Communication explores contemporary practices in arts-based research and knowledge exchange in the fields of art and design. This anthology contains contributions from Canada, England, Finland, Norway, Russia and Scotland.

The interrelated themes of ‘culture’, ‘community’ and ‘communication’ formed the basis of the call that was issued to researchers, artists and designers. The chapters and visual essays in the book interpret the terms ‘arts’ and ‘design’ broadly to include, for example, crafts, indigenous making, media and product design. Aspects of culture and community are explored through the lens of contemporary arts and design. The contributing authors provide thought-provoking accounts of current practice in art, design and education.

Relate North brings together the work of leading scholars to explore issues of contemporary art, design, and arts-based research. The book will be of interest to a wide audience including, for example, practice-based researchers, artists, designers, anthropologists, geographers and social scientists in addition to those with a general interest in Northern and Arctic issues.

Relate North Verkkokauppa Juveneksessa
Relate North on Juvenes online bookstore


Timo Jokela & Glen Coutts

Iain Biggs
Re-visioning “North” as an ecosophical context for creative practices

Annamari Manninen & Mirja Hiltunen
Dealing with complexity – Pupils’ representations of place in the era of Arctic urbanization

Kathryn A. Burnett
Place apart: Scotland’s north as a cultural industry of margins

Irina V. Zemtsova & Valery Sharapov
“Tradition that does not exist”: Wood painting of Komi-ziryans

Essi Kuure, Heidi Pietarinen & Hannu Vanhanen
Experimenting with arctic social phenomena. A multicultural workshop model

Marlene Ivey
Designing for Nova Scotia Gaelic cultural revitalization: Collaborating, designing & transmitting cultural meaning

Anne Bevan & Jane Downes
Wilder Being: Destruction and creation in the littoral zone

Laila Kolostyák
A Tundra Project: Melting ice as an artistic material



Lapland University Press is a university publisher established in 2005. Its mission is to increase awareness of Northern and Arctic issues and culture in the scientific community and it has cooperated with the ASDA research network and published three earlier Relate North issues.
Relate North. Culture, Community and Communication you can buy from Juvenes Bookstore  or download it from Lauda-database 

Contact information:
Anne Koivula
Acting Head of Publications

Lapland University Press
Po box 8123
FI-96101 Rovaniemi


Enterprising Culture: Entrepreneurship, Endorsement and Engagement of Minority Language in Europe’s Remote Rural and Small Island Communities.

Dates: Tuesday 21st – Wednesday 22rd February 2017

Venue: SAMS (Scottish Marine Institute), Oban

Arts and humanities students and supervisors are invited to participate in this two day co-hosted (COST and SGSAH) inter- disciplinary event that will provide an opportunity to examine the interface between new minority language speakers, cultural entrepreneurship and research good practice in island and remote rural communities. The event seeks to build networks and share knowledge at all levels of research enquiry. With a focus on sharing examples of arts and humanities doctoral research and community policy case studies, participants will experience Scotland’s west coast community of Oban and participate in a range of ‘walking and talking’ research activity as well as key presentations, site visits and round table di scussions.


Key themes for the two day event include:

  • Sharing good practice on minority language community research engagement and brokerage with particular emphasis on doctoral experiences;
  • Inviting a better understanding of the minority language and culture issues facing communities, entrepreneurs, host communities and new minority language speakers and the research potential this offers;
  • Drawing on multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual contexts to inform discussions regarding (i) the commodification of minority language and new speakers, (ii) the role of language and cultural enterprise in local and national policy, (iii) ‘futureproofing’ minority language cultures in ‘fragile’ and remote places;
  • Realising the value of place/language as fluid/living cultural practice and enterprise with key community contributions including poet and writer Norrie Bissell, Isle of Luing, Scotland, and James Harrison representing CultureVannin, Isle of Man;
  • Developing a pivoting perspective by which both research undertaken, challenges presented and new questions yet to emerge can be brought forth and offered for review and critique by both new and experienced researchers together.

For programme of  2 day event – click here.scis-cost-sgsah-new-speakers-enterprise-island-programme

Event organisers: Dr Kathryn A. Burnett, UWS; Professor Mike Danson, Heriot-Watt University,  Professor Bernadette O’Rourke, Heriot-Watt University

For expressions of interest please contact:  Dr Kathryn A Burnett


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:

Update:”Remote Entrepreneurs: Where nowhere is somewhere” wins ISBE ‘Best Paper: Rural Enterprise’, 2014

Remote Entrepreneurs ISBE 2014compress

Danson & Burnett ISBE best paper 2014compress


(Selected research outputs updated Spring 2017)

Our paper on remote rural entrepreneurship wins ‘best paper’ in the ISBE rural enterprise stream,  in Manchester, 2014. This work continues from last year’s success in Cardiff, 2013 which also won ‘best paper’  in the rural enterprise stream (Thank you ISBE!) and has fed into several publications and wider research agenda. Thanks to Rebecca Stirzaker, Heriot Watt University for image of us collecting our prize: Twitter @RebeStirz

Key conclusions from this paper include our focus on:

  • the complex nature of enterprise and entrepreneurship in island contexts – layered and crucially –  iportant to continue to engage with enterprise as ‘historical’;
  • an agenda for deepening the research on conflicts, trust and cooperation, strong and weak ties and networks;
  • to avoid a simple/uncritical  ‘urban-centric’ transfer of sectoral and national strategies and policies to such peripheral and marginal regions as small, remote islands;
  • research demands further exploration of behaviours and attitudes to small rural island enterprise and entrepreneurship both from within and without the local environment;
  • and  considers how concepts of the ‘other’ defines and informs wider debates and discourse;
  • Scale of impact for – and by – remote rural  context is a key factor to critique.

For further reading and research outputs relating to this work see:

Kathryn A. Burnett and Mike Danson (2017) ‘Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands and Remote Rural Environments’ Special Issues on Rural Enterprise, International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Vol. 18(1), pp. 25–35 DOI: 10.1177/1465750316686237

Kathryn A. Burnett and Mike Danson. (2016) ‘Sustainability and Small Enterprises in Scotland’s Remote Rural ‘Margins’, Special Issues on Rural Enterprise, Local Economy Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 539-553.

Mike Danson , , Kathryn Burnett , (2014), Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands, in Colette Henry , Gerard Mcelwee (ed.) Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Volume 4) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.151 – 174 10.1108/S2040-724620140000004007

Kathryn A. Burnett, Mike Danson, (2004) “Adding or subtracting value?: Constructions of rurality and Scottish quality food promotion”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 10 Issue: 6, pp.384-403, doi: 10.1108/13552550410564716

The Remotest Community in the World

 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Resettlement of Tristan Da Cunha (1963-2013)

Image courtesy of British Pathe
Image courtesy of British Pathe

Scottish Centre for Island Studies

Friday 1st November 2013

Wellington Suite, Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

(Please note: This event is now FULL. No further places are available.)

This day event offers a programme of research talks, archive film screenings and individual commentaries each relating to the island community of Tristan da Cunha.

In 1961 the island’s volcano erupted and the entire community were forced to leave Tristan for safety with no prospect of certain return. The plight of the Tristan islanders was a global media event. Their story is one that intrigued and invited comment in terms of our ideas of island living, remoteness and sustainability in the changing times of the early 1960s. These ideas continue to inform how we think and represent island communities today here in Scotland, and beyond. The Tristanians were offered immediate refuge in Scotland, with Shetland playing a pivotal role, but they were actually ‘settled’ in England where they worked and lived for some two years. In 1963 the islanders eventually returned to Tristan to rebuild their lives on this most remote of islands. Today the community continues to thrive and our day invites comment on future cultural and creative responses to live on Tristan.

This UWS research and knowledge exchange event offers a series of talks and archive film and media screenings which each commemorate this remarkable story from the despair of 1961 evacuation to the elation of 1963 resettlement. It also provides an occasion to focus on the present, the successful rebuilding of a sustainable Tristan da Cunha and to invite reflections on 50 years of change on islands here in Scotland, in Tristan, and elsewhere. Our theme for the day is that of the images, the issues, and the reality of small island community life. Our examples are largely drawn from Tristan da Cunha but also from the island communities of Scotland, including the Hebrides and Shetland. A range of speakers including academics, educationalists, film-makers and island community enthusiasts will share experiences and information together with the audience. See running order and details of talks, and screenings here.

09:30 09:40          Welcome and Introductions Scottish Centre for Island Studies

09:40 10:00          Opening Comments: Mr Chris Bates, Tristan da Cunha Government UK Representative

10:15 11:00          Tristan da Cunha ‘The Volcano Years 1961-63’: Media Archive and Representation in  a Scottish Context Dr Kathryn A Burnett, SCIS UWS Chair: Professor Neil Blain, University of Stirling

11:00 11:15          Refreshment Break (15 mins)

11:15 12:00          Tristan da Cunha: Marginalisation, Community and Islandness – the Shetland and Canna dimensions Mr Ray Burnett, SCIS UWS; Chair: Professor Mike Danson, Heriot Watt University

12:00 13:00          Screening: The Forgotten Island (1998) (Dir: Uwe Kersken) 48 mins BBC ”Under the Sun”, followed by a short Q & A

13:00 14:00          Break (60 mins)

14:00 14:30          Illustrated Talk: “Rockhopper Choppers”  Mr Bob Carse, Advisor to Tristan da Cunha Heritage Committee Chair: Mr Chris Bates

14:30 15:15          Screening: The 1991 Jim Kerr videos: a Q & A session on Tristan community life

Mr Jim Kerr, Former Education Officer Tristan da Cunha Chair: Mr Ray Burnett

15:15 15:30          Refreshment Break (15 mins)

15:30 16:00          Illustrated Talk: Island Links – A Royal Society Expedition Link with Barra. 

Mr Alasdair MacEachen, Islands Book Trust Chair: Dr Kathryn A Burnett

16:00 16:30          Screening: ‘Impressions of Tristan by David Mackenzie’

Mr David Mackenzie (Director), Chair: Mr Tony Grace

17:00 17:30          Final Discussion, Close and Thanks

Please note: This event is now FULL. No further places are available.

If you would like to attend this UWS Scottish Centre for Island Studies event then please contact to reserve your place, or call Dr Kathryn A Burnett on 01292 886482 with your details.  There is no charge for this event but please note places are limited. Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided for full day attendees. Alternative lunch for purchase is available on site and nearby.   All welcome.

Please note: This event is now FULL. No further places are available.

For directions to the venue please link here:

Islands Cultural Work: A Canadian – Scottish Focus

Research is being developed on the theme of cultural work on islands in both Scotland and Canada. Dr Lynda Harling Stalker, St Francis Xavier University, Canada and Dr Kathryn A Burnett, UWS, Scotland are developing a series of research objectives on the theme of cultural work in island settings. A number of field sites have already been explored and ethnographic work undertaken.

Rural Enterprise SCIS Round Table

See  information below on the SCIS round table session  that was held on island and remote rural enterprise at Rural Enterprise conference at UWS Dumfries in June 2013.

SCIS PhD student success in Donegal at Earagail Arts Festival 2013

 “In addition to the Contemporary Artists of the Donegal Diaspora in the RCC’s Main Gallery the building will be fit-to-bursting with other Diaspora related art projects. Scottish artist Rachael Flynn’s mixed media exhibition is a creative exploration of the memories of migration handed down within the Irish Diaspora, in particular a celebration of the women’s stories.”

Congratulations to Scottish Centre for Island Studies UWS PhD student Rachael Flynn on her successful exhibition this summer at Donegal’s largest arts festival, the Earagail Arts Festival.  The festival celebrates 25 years with a programme that honours the true creative spirit of County Donegal. See details of Rachael’s work at  Rachael’s doctoral research project has informed the basis of her submission and this exhibition is a culmination of this creative practice work on Irish women’s stories of migration and diaspora (see also   Rachael is a postgraduate student in the School of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of the West of Scotland and is supervised by Dr Kathryn A Burnett and Mr Tony Grace.

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship on Islands

“Although there has been increasing interest in rural enterprises across the UK, relatively little has been written on enterprise and entrepreneurship in the specific environments of islands. Indeed, most of the rural studies and policy prescriptions have focused on lifestyle businesses in communities, which are in tourism hotspots or on locations which are relatively close to the metropolitan core of city-regions. However, island and remote geographies generate challenges which vary in strength and nature from these and more urban areas, and also from each other, so that, as well as having to deal with the usual issues facing SMEs and start-ups anywhere, enterprises on islands tend to face different, additional and exaggerated problems.” – See more  by Professor MIke Danson on this theme  at Rural Enterprise magazine Summer 13 at

“Britain: The Fractured Island” by Ray Burnett

“Britain: The Fractured Island” (pp 228-245) by Ray Burnett  is included in The Political Economy of Divided Islands (2013) edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and published by Palgrave Macmillan as part of the  International Political Economy series.

“Despite the sonorous magnificence of Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt monologue, England is not an island. Rather this ‘England, that was wont to conquer others’ just thinks, acts, governs, talks, plays and presents itself as if it is. For the island polity known as ‘Britain’, more formally as ‘Great Britain (GB)’, the ‘United Kingdom (UK)’ is an odd place. In spite of its self-promotion as the ostensible product of a long, stable and immutable partnership of equals, the ‘national’ institutions of this state-nation consistently present themselves as those of a singular ‘nation-state’ through the monofocal prism of the dominant ‘island race’ of England: the English historical narrative of ‘this sceptred isle’, and a smothering blanket of English cultural referents.”

DOI: 10.1057/9781137023131_13

Full details of the edited collection to purchase are here:

Godfrey Baldacchino (ed.) (2013) The Political Economy of Divided Islands:
Unified Geographies, Multiple Polities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 256
pp., £63 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-137-02312-4.

 A review of the book can be found here: Carabelli, G. (2015) [Review of the book The Political Economy of Divided Islands: Unified Geographies,
Multiple Polities], Urban Island Studies, 1, 187-189.

Tristan da Cunha island community and the connection to Shetland: SCIS research event

Illustrated Talk: Tristan da Cunha’s ‘volcano years’1961-1963 – the Shetland dimension

Ray Burnett and Kathryn Burnett, Scottish Centre for Island Studies, University of the West of Scotland

TDC  Survivors on Boat
Image courtesy of British Pathe

In 1961 a volcanic eruption forced the community of Tristan da Cunha, ‘the loneliest island in the world’, to abandon their island home for evacuation to the UK and an uncertain future. First to offer a new home to the Tristanians were the islanders of Shetland. While government deliberated what to do, the ‘refugee’ island representatives visited Shetland to assess the possibilities.  After considerable debate the government’s preferred resettlement location was to be the south of England where the islanders remained for just under two years before they were finally able to return to Tristan in 1963.

As Tristan da Cunha celebrates the 50th anniversary of this return, Ray and Kathryn Burnett have been researching this remarkable story of small island survival. The media coverage and government files of these events reveal much about prevailing perceptions of islands and islanders within the ‘corridors of power’ and the popular press.  Their findings in the archives, from Stockholm to Shetland bring to light not just the significance of those who stepped forward as the champions of small island communities but also the importance of the Shetland dimension. This illustrated talk will present these findings with a view to rekindling and seeking out memories from within Shetland of these events of fifty years ago.

This research has been funded by the British Academy.

The talk is on at Shetland Museum Archives  on Thursday 7th March 2013  at 7:30 pm (Doors open  7:00 pm). All welcome.

Regional Development in Northern Europe Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues

Regional Development in Northern Europe Peripherality, Marginality and Border Issues

“This book draws on work from across northern Europe and is parallel and complementary to the network itself. By establishing an intellectual and practically orientated framework and platform, and by bringing together contributions defining the state-of-the-art and potential development paths in the field, it is the first volume to offer a systematic and scientific view from the periphery.”

This collection edited by Professor Mike Danson and Professor Peter de Souza  brings together contributions from key experts in regional development, sustainability, economics and enterprise. The content detailed below each offer insight to the ideas and practice relating to defining and articulating regional ‘margins’, ‘borders’ and ‘peripherality’ concerns in Europe today:

Part One: Overview

1. Introduction: Peripherality and Marginality Mike Danson and Peter de Souza

Part Two: Theoeretical Underpinnings

2. The Development of the Periphery in the Experience Economy Anne Lorentzen

3. Regionalism and Marginalisation Tassilo Herrschel

4. Re-thinking ‘Peripherality’ in a Knowledge-intensive Service-dominated Economy Mike Crone

5. On the conceptual development of margins and marginalisation Stephen Syrett

6. Dynamics of Peripherality Klaus Lindegaard

Part Three: Peripheries and Margins

7. Can Peripheral Regions Innovate? Sara Davies, Rona Michie and Heidi Vironen

8. Proximity and Distributed Innovations Tom Johnstad och Svein Bergum

9. Commercial Counter-urbanisation and the Rural Economy Gary Bosworth

10. Entrepreneurship in the Periphery: Geography and Resources Nikolina Fuduric

11. Transcending Orthodoxy: Multi-house Homes Tor Arnesen

12. Economic and Enterprise Development in Community Buy-outs George Callaghan, Mike Danson and Geoff Whittam

13. Survival on the Farm Tor Arnesen and Erik Mönnes at Rena

14. Gendered Spaces on Trial Gro Marit Grimsrud

15. Who has the last laugh? – further developments on the entrepreneurial politician as an unconventional problem solver Meeri Brandum Granqvist

Part Four: Borders and Conclusion 

16. Concluding comments and connections with the border theme Peter de Souza and Mike Danson




Edge of the World: an exhibition inspired by isolated, untouched or remote landscapes

The Gallery, Masham in the Yorkshire Dales announces Exhibition Preview: Friday, 20th July. Artists are invited to display work inspired by isolated, untouched or remote landscapes that inspire them. The exhibition takes it’s title and the theme’s initial inspiration, from the 1937 film by Michael Powell of the same name, which depicts life on a remote scottish island.
Featuring the work of Gareth Buxton, Lesley Birch, Winifred Hodge, Pamela Knight,  Catherine Sutcliffe-Fuller, Heather Gatt and Ian Scott Massie. For more information on The Gallery, in Masham, and the forthcoming exhibition click here:

My Glasgow Granny from Donegal

SCIS @UWS PhD student Rachael Flynn is currently developing her doctoral arts practice research around themes of migration and Irish women diasporic narratives. To explore Rachael’s work further visit her website detailing workshops and activity relating to this research. Rachael has worked closely with Glasgow’s women’s library on this project and is grateful to them for their support.

‘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.

Conference: Access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru


Programme and further information  of this exciting conference hosted by New Media Scotland are detailed below.

Register now at:

I Know Where I’m Going
Remote Access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru

Wednesday 23rd & Thursday 24th November 2011
Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB

At a time of economic crisis and environmental threat, countries everywhere have to address the dual challenge of protecting and preserving their natural and cultural heritage while maximising their economic value. This two-day international conference will focus on the potential for new technologies to create high-quality, remote-access visitor experiences for World Heritage Sites and other sites of cultural, historical and natural significance where remote access is either desirable or necessary.


To showcase some of the new technologies available (3D/4D scanning, mobile technologies, GPS/GIS, satellite technologies, apps and social media) & discuss their applications.

To debate policy issues linked to the benefits and challenges these new technologies present for sites preservation, conservation, and interpretation worldwide; particularly in terms of remote and virtual access to sites which are sensitive, and in terms of economic benefits for tourism.

To encourage site managers worldwide- particularly within the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Network- to consider the benefits & impact the new technologies could have for their own sites and allow them to investigate those further.

Wednesday 23rd November 2011
Remote Access Technologies & Applications

Registration 8.30am

Welcome/Failte 9.30am

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture & External Affairs, Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP.

Introduced by Malcolm Maclean of Pròiseact Nan Ealan (Gaelic Arts Agency) & Conference Chair.

Keynotes 9.45am

-Dr. Mechtild Rössler, Chief of the Policy and Statutory Section, UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

-Mr Robin Turner of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Remote access to St Kilda through time and space.

-The St Kilda World Heritage Site Remote Access Centre, by the Rt. Hon Brian Wilson.

Q&A chaired by Joanne Orr, Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO in Scotland.

Break 11:00am

Presentations 11:20am

-3D Digital Technologies for Remote Access and Sustainability, by Doug Pritchard and Chris McGregor (Digital Design Studio-Glasgow School of Art & Historic Scotland Scottish Ten).

-Visualising our Underwater Heritage,
by Mark Lawrence and Chris Rowland (DJCAD-University of Dundee & ADUS).

Remote Insights into our Marine Natural Heritage, by Paul Thompson (University of Aberdeen).

Q&A chaired by David Mitchell (Historic Scotland).

Networking Lunch & St. Kilda Exhibition at Inspace 12:35pm

Keynote 2:00pm

-Mr Ben Kacyra, Founder of CyArk,
Introduced by Malcolm Maclean of Pròiseact Nan Ealan (Gaelic Arts Agency) & Conference Chair.

Presentations 2:20pm

-Space & natural & cultural heritage sites, by Mario Hernandez
(European Space Agency & UNESCO Space for Heritage Project).

-Visualizing Heritage: New media technologies and the representation of ancient tombs of Monte Albán,-Mexico, by Prof. Ellen Hoobler (Cornell College, USA).

Q&A Chaired by Doug Pritchard (Digital Design Studio-Glasgow School of Art).

Break 3:15pm

Presentations 3:35pm

-Are we there yet? The future of shared mobile context and its impact on visitor experience
by Ben Mosse (Nokia).

-Mainlimes Mobil – Presenting Archaeology and Museums with the help of smartphones
by Erik Dobat (Boundary Media KG, Germany).

-Jurassic  Tweets: Can micro-blogging and social media be of value to World Heritage Sites?
by Dr Sam Rose (Jurassic Coast WHS, UK) & Louise Matthews (Bournemouth University).

Q&A chaired by Dr Diarmad Campbell (British Geological Survey.

Wrap-up session 4:45pm

-Do we know where we are going? What opportunities? What challenges?
by Sue Davies (UK National Commission for UNESCO & Wessex Archaeology).
Wine Reception & St.Kilda Exhibition at Inspace

Music at the National Galleries Scottish Restaurant 6:30pm

Conference Dinner at the National Galleries Scottish Restaurant 7:30pm

Thursday 24th November 2011
Key Issues for Remote Access

Registration 8:30am

-Ruth Parsons (CEO of Historic Scotland) & Kate Mavor (CEO of the National Trust for Scotland).


-Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park by members of the Board of Management and Parks Australia on remote access technologies in a living cultural landscape: issues of ownership and participation (video conferenced session).

-Remote access technologies and the preservation and promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage, by Joanne Orr, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland & Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO in Scotland.

Q&A chaired by Jane Jackson (Capita Symonds).

Break 10:30am

Presentations 10:50am

-Remote access technologies and resource poor settings: Does it work? Is it sustainable?
Panel session with Dr Kodzo Gavua (University of Ghana), Mr Ali Ould Sidi (World Heritage Site Manager of Timbuktu WHS, Mali) and Mr Zagba Oyortey (Culture Works Africa).

-Do we know where we have been? Using the Oral tradition & storytelling: as the oldest remote access medium to heritage sites,
by Tom Muir (Storyteller & Folklorist from Heart of Neolithic Orkney WHS).
Networking Lunch & St. Kilda Exhibition 12:30pm


-Cultural tourism trends and the role of remote access in knowledge-based tourism and World Heritage
by Mr Peter DeBrine (UNESCO Programme Specialist in Sustainable Tourism).

-Shortening the heritage tourism value chain: How can new technologies empower people to create, and seize, the added value of world heritage tourism,
by James Rebanks (Rebanks Consulting Ltd, UK).

Q&A chaired by Benjamin Carey (Dunira Strategy).


Presentations 2:40pm

– Connecting Generations, Exploring Places: Enabling Remote Access to Archives
by George MCKenzie (National Records of Scotland).

-Remote access for learning & sharing: the CyArk Archive and the Digital classroom
by Elizabeth Lee (CyArk).

Q&A chaired by Alexander Bennett (National Trust for Scotland).

Wrap up session 3:35pm

-Concluding remarks & policy directions, by Mr Peter DeBrine
(UNESCO Programme Specialist in Sustainable Tourism, World Heritage Centre).


Building on the experience gained at World Heritage properties, the conference aims to create a network (both physical and remote) of interpretation specialists, curators, conservators and custodians facing the challenge of creating remote access to sensitive, hard-to-access or other trans-national sites. It will bring together Sites directors and heritage practitioners- both tangible and intangible- in the UK and abroad, but also policy makers and technological innovators, and will seek to break down conventional sectoral divides between heritage practitioners and technological innovators, in order to debate remote access.

For more information visit

Clàr-ama na Co-labhairt

Ainmeil Thar Cheudan

Comharrachadh Ceud Bliadhna bho rugadh Somhairle MacGill-Eain

Diciadain 15 –  Disathairne 18 Ògmhios 2011

Mar  chomharrachadh air ceud bliadhna bhon rugadh Somhairle MacGill-Eain (1911 –  1996), tha Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Ionad Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig agus an t-Ionad  Albannach airson Sgrùdaidhean Eilein aig Oilthigh Taobh Siar na h-Alba a’ toirt cuiridh dhuibh tighinn còmhla rinn aig comharrachadh de bheatha,  de  shaothair agus de  na dh’fhàg e mar dhìleab.Am measg nan urramach ionadail, nàiseanta is  eadar-nàiseanta a bhios a’ nochdadh ann, bidh Liz Lochhead, a chaidh a chur an  dreuchd o chionn ghoirid mar Bhàrd-molaidh na h-Alba agus Aonghas MacNeacail. Bidh cuideachd an t-Ollamh Douglas Gifford, Timothy  Neat, an t-Ollamh Máir Ní Annracháin agus Crìsdean MacIlleBhàin.

Gheibhear fuireach aig a’ Cholaiste airson  £275 le trì oidhcheannan, biadh agus dìnneir na co-labhairt sa phrìs. Cosgaidh  e £35 a bhith an làthair gach latha as aonais cosgais àite-fuirich agus tha  prìsean sònraichte ann do dh’oileanaich.

Ma tha sibh ag iarraidh àite a bhucadh aig  a’ cho-labhairt lìonaibh AM FOIRM AIR LOIDHNE seo a-steach no cuiribh fios gu  Sandra Byrne air 01471 888 000 no air post-d.

Remote Access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru 23-24 November 2011- Edinburgh

“I Know Where I’m Going”
Access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru
23-24 November 2011- Edinburgh

Call for Papers


This international conference will explore the potential and
challenges created by new technologies to develop high-quality, remote-access,
visitor experiences for UNESCO World Heritage Sites and
other sites of cultural, historical and natural significance. The conference has
three main objectives:
a-    To showcase the new
technologies available:
including the 3D laser scanning of St Kilda WHS  as
part of the Scottish Ten project to create exceptionally accurate digital models
of Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and others
worldwide, in order to better conserve and manage them (  Other forms of
digital mapping will also be demonstrated.
b-    To debate the benefits and
challenges these new technologies present.
This applies not only to issues
of preservation, conservation, interpretation but also to the benefits and
pitfalls of virtual access to sensitive sites and the economic benefits of
tourism promoted thus.
c-    To encourage site managers
– particularly within the UNESCO World
Heritage Sites network – to consider the benefits & impact these new
technologies could have for their own sites, allowing them to investigate these
further and clarify issues of acquisition, installation, costs
WE ARE NOW INVITING PAPERS which address the key following questions with regards to
remote access:
What are the most relevant trends and recent developments in remote access
technology? What are the special considerations for
different categories of heritage experiences (from underwater sites to open air
museums to historic houses/listed buildings)? What are the benefits and
disadvantages of remote viewing, and for whom?
How can technological innovation both support remote access and contribute to
conservation of all aspects of a heritage site, from the historic environment to
artefacts? When is remote access less sustainable? Who controls the ability to
view heritage sites and materials remote, and the content which is available to
How can a balance be achieved between tourism development and environmental
protection at heritage sites? Can the owners/custodians of a site benefit
financially from remote viewing? (e.g issues of data ownership, land rights and
intellectual property). Will remote viewing encourage physical tourism or
diminish it? 
How can remote access and remote access technologies contribute to formal and
informal Education about the sites?

       How can storytelling and other arts contribute
to remote access heritage interpretation?
(you can download the full call for papers
document at
Keynote speakers will include Dr Mechtild Rössler, Chief of
section Policy and Statutory Implementation Unit, UNESCO
World Heritage Centre.
you would like to present a paper addressing the themes of the
Conference, please submit an abstract. Abstracts should be submitted in
pdf format and be limited to 2 pages and 1,000 words (including title and author
information, but excluding references). The evaluation will be based on the
quality of the submission. Submissions and inquiries are through: . The deadline
for submissions is 3rd April 2011. On
submission of an abstract, authors should receive an email confirming receipt of
their submission.
To register your interest in attending the Conference
please contact :
Project Manager
Submission of title and
abstract:              3rd April, 2011
Notification of acceptance:
25th April, 2011
for early-bird registration:          30 June, 2011
deadline:                              11 November, 2011
Remote Access to World
Heritage Sites Conference:
23 & 24 November,
Sincerely,Isabelle Uny

Proiseact nan Ealan

Seminar Series: Whose Economy?

Professor Mike Danson of the University of West of Scotland and Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme host a seminar series in Scotland under the theme: Whose Economy? This series was held over autumn and winter 2010 and 2011 in Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Stirling.

Further details at

“The Whose Economy? seminar series brings together experts to examine key developments that have influenced the livelihoods of
communities in Scotland and, from the perspective of vulnerable communities, explore the implications of structural changes in the Scottish economy. The focus of the series is a questioning of what economy is being created in Scotland and, specifically, for whom? Persistent poverty exists in Scotland alongside high economic prosperity, leading to gross disparities in income and wealth, and life chances and lifestyles. Poverty and inequalities have historical and structural roots: changes in the Scottish economy in recent decades have seen a shift from manufacturing to a service-led, supposedly ‘knowledge economy’. Glasgow, for example, was once the second city of the British Empire – now it is Britain’s second biggest shopping destination. The economy that is being pursued is not only one-dimensional (in its apparent obsession with retailed growth), but ultimately premised on an inherent contradiction. Trust, relationships and reciprocity are undermined by hyper-consumerism, status-driven consumption and individual instant gratification through material acquisition, themselves driven by inequalities. Individuals are implicitly expected to function as just-in-time inventory – on demand when the needs of businesses require, but disposable when deemed superfluous to production or service demands.

Speakers will discuss the relevant actors and how the interaction of the pursuit of economic growth and other policy trends (such as welfare reform) has impacted on communities across Scotland.”

‘The Furthest Hebrides’: Critical reach from contested shores: Kathryn Burnett and Ray Burnett deliver to IGU 2010 Conference, island of Ven, Sweden

Finding Their Place: Islands in Social Theory

The Island of Ven, Sweden, 27–30 August, 2010

ABSTRACTS PARALLEL PAPER SESSION B1: Identity, culture, tradition and knowledge



 ‘The Furthest Hebrides’ : Critical reach from contested shores

Kathryn A Burnett & Ray Burnett

University of the West of Scotland, UK


Scotland’s islands are paradoxically peripheral yet conceptually central to an

understanding of the layered complexity of issues relating to land and identity in

contemporary 21 st  century Scotland. Through a specific focus on Scotland’s

western isles, this paper traces the authoring of the layered constructions and

reconstructions of space and place that has produced a dense and variegated

palimpsest; the process of the ‘making’ of the Hebrides. It examines visual and

documentary representations to draw out some of the issues of ‘belonging’ and

ownership, appropriation and dissemination, in the context of the nationalidentitarian

functions of culture, that are embedded in the complimentary and

contradictory ‘ways of seeing’ the contested terrain of island cultural landscape(s).

Through a grounded multi-disciplinary approach to the issues raised and the

exemplars elaborated on, the paper opens up several overlapping and inter-related

issues of concentric and conflicting identities, delineation of the field of cultural

discourse, the inscription of meaning and value and the production of cultural

landscapes, and the deeper processes of complicity, self colonialism and


The paper concludes by advocating that a detailed study of how these processes

of ‘making’ are mediated at local (island), national (Scottish) and supra-national

(UK) level opens up new channels for further research in the intricate waters of

the cultural dynamics of authorship, ownership, ‘belonging’ and power in the

politics of land and identity.

From the Hebrides to Herm


See images here of the trip to the island of Herm during the conference.  Compton MacKenzie lived on the island of  Herm from 1920-1923. See here for some additional images and details of his time on the island and neighbouring Jethou. or  for some information on the tenants of Jethou, including MacKenzie, see this link

A co-authored paper (Ray Burnett and Kathryn A Burnett)  on  the legacy and influence Compton MacKenzie and other writers and film makers have had on the  iconography and representation of  Scotland’s Hebrides was delivered by Ray Burnett, Hon. Research Fellow, School of Creative and Cultural Industries,  to the SICRI 2010 ART AND ISLANDS ISLOMANIA CONFERENCE  conference in Guernsey.

SCIS Paper on Compton MacKenzie delivered to SICRI conference 2010


A co-authored paper (Ray Burnett and Kathryn A Burnett) was delivered by Ray Burnett on behalf of SCIS to the SICRI 2010 ART AND ISLANDS ISLOMANIA CONFERENCE  conference in Guernsey. The paper –  “Portaying the Hebrides: the irresistible lure and the irredeemable legacy” – offers a critical examination of the life and work of Compton Mackenzie in relation to the wider representation of islands.  The abstract for the paper is available below.  A version of this paper was delivered to the June 18th 2010 SCIS Research Meeting and Seminar, UWS. Thanks to colleagues for their comments.

From the 18th century to the present, the islands that lie off the western seaboard of Scotland, collectively known as the Hebrides, have been one of the foremost island groups in Europe to attract the attention of artists and to acquire a substantial volume of cultural representations of their landscape, environment, people and communities, in literature, music, song, the visual arts, photography and film. Restricting itself to artistic representations in literature and film this paper examines the formulation and the legacy of two recurring and influential tropes of cultural representation of these islands ─ the ‘Hebridean Other’ and ‘Solitude and Desertion’.

The literary prism for this close focus study is provided by the life and work of Compton Mackenzie, the islomanic inspiration for D. H. Lawrence’s short story, ‘The Man Who Loved Islands’. MacKenzie’s lifelong attraction to islands involved successive periodic residency on acquired island properties from Capri in Italy, to Herm and Jethou in the Channel Islands and the Shiants and Barra in the Hebrides. The screen adaptations of MacKenzie’s Hebridean novels and the acclaimed Hebridean classics of the Michael Powell / Emeric Pressberger partnership provide the filmic prism.

The paper discusses the twin tropes of the ‘Hebridean Other’ and ‘Solitude and Desertion’ with specific reference to key iconic cultural representations, the novel/film adaptation Whisky Galore! (1947/1949 and the films The Edge of the World (1937) and I Know Where I’m Going (1945). It reflects on the enduring consequences of this cultural legacy for the island locations and communities with which they are associated, Barra, Eriskay, St Kilda, Mull and its adjacent isles in relation to the cultural referential framework they created. And it concludes by tracing the far-reaching and continuing reverberations in relation to ongoing issues relating to the cultural and symbolic capital of the islands.

Joint Nature Conservation Committee supports UWS research project on Tristan da Cunha

A research partnership between the Scottish Centre for Island Studies, University of the West of Scotland, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee,  and the community of Tristan da Cunha  has been established to pilot some research into the challenges of climate change through education, awareness raising and  the dissemination of information,  good ideas and good practice.   

 The project aims to examine how it can support and facilitate the young islanders, all pupils of St Mary’s school, Tristan da Cunha to explore and engage with sustainability issues in relation to their own environment, history and future through the making and sharing of visual media both within the community of Tristan da Cunha and beyond to islanders and audiences interested in island culture and environment everywhere. Mr Jim Kerr, Education Advisor, Tristan da Cunha is the lead partner representative for the island community and school and is working closely with the young people in both producing and developing creative responses to the island’s environment and social change.

It is anticipated that this work with the young people of Tristan da Cunhna will inform and be informed by some of the other UWS research activities into Tristan’s history and cultural heritage.  For further information on the activities  of St Mary’s school please go to