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.

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

Scottish Centre for Island Studies Colleagues news

Congratulations to SCIS colleagues Professor Mike Danson and to Mr Geoff Whittam on their new academic posts. Mike and Geoff both recently left the University of the West of Scotland during session 2012-2013 to take up new roles elsewhere but neither are too far away! Mike has moved along the ‘M8’ to Heriot-Watt University where he is Professor of Enterprise Policy/Director of PhD Programme in the School of Management & Languages in the Deptartment of Business Management. Geoff, formerly Reader in Entrepreneurship at UWS, has stayed more local joining colleagues at Glasgow Caledonian University as Reader in Entrepreneurship, Glasgow School for Business and Society.

All SCIS colleagues are delighted that Mike will continue to act as co-Chair for the Scottish Centre for Island Studies.

SCIS UWS at Cape Breton island cultures conference


Gaelic College Centre for Celtic Arts and Crafts, St Anns, Cape Breton

Kathryn A. Burnett, Ray Burnett, and Mike Danson all of SCIS@UWS each delivered papers to the Eighth International Small Islands Conference, 6-9 June 2012, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The conference theme was Traveling in Time: Islands of the Past, Islands of the Future, and organized by the Centre for Cape Breton Studies, along with the Department of History & Culture and the School of Art & Social Science at Cape Breton University, in collaboration with the Small Island Cultures Research Initiative (SICRI). The conference was an excellent opportunity for SCIS colleagues to meet up with other island studies academics, creative artists and performers. Links were refreshed with colleagues from several island studies focused institutions including especially University of Prince Edward Island, St. Francis Xavier University, and Cape Breton University, Canada, and many new collaborative links were made with new friends from both Canada and beyond.

Key themes for the conference papers and the various field site visits and cultural activities on offer included: music legacies, art practice and performativity, indigenous culture and language of islands peoples,  island narratives and practice of political resistance and expression, examination of island assets and community resources, and island industry and cultural entrepreneurship in the context of island studies critiques and global futures. The conference programme can be found here

‘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.

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.”