Prof Donna Heddle

Institute for Northern Studies
University of the Highlands and Islands
Scott's House
Grainshore Road
KW15 1FL
tel: +44 (0)1856 569247

Available to talk to the media about

  • Orkney and Shetland issues
  • Scottish literature and language
  • Cultural history and policy
  • Cultural tourism
  • Technology and education
  • Vikings

In these languages

English, French


Prof Donna Heddle is Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands interdisciplinary Institute for Northern Studies based in Kirkwall in Orkney, Lerwick in Shetland, and Perth. She gained a PhD in Scottish Renaissance Literature from the University of Edinburgh and arrived in Orkney to set up the Cultural Studies department in June 1999. She was awarded a THES award in 2005 for her development of the BA (Hons) Cultural Studies of the Highlands and Islands programme and is now programme leader for the CertHE Tourist Guiding (North Highlands). 

She sat on the AHRC advisory panel for Napier University’s Intangible Cultural Heritage project; is a Director of HI-ARTS Arts Development Agency; was Secretary (2010) and Chair (2011) of the MLA International Scottish Studies group; and is a member of the Council of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, the Universities Council for Modern Languages (Scotland), LLAS Scottish Advisory Board, and Universities Committee for Scottish Literature.

She is also an adviser to the Education and Culture Committee, Scottish Government and an adviser and contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary on Scots and Nordic lexis.

Prof Heddle has been involved in a number of NPP cultural projects involving technology and education. She was the Academic Coordinator for the Northern Heritage project across Scandinavia. She led the successful RAE submission from UHI in European Studies in 2008, and is led the REF 2014 submission in Area Studies which placed the department 5th in the UK for REF and 1st in Scotland for Research Impact.

Current research

  • HvalRad (Whale Road), an international marine heritage and tourism project
  • Ferry DVD Project - ferries as cultural spaces, working with Orkney Ferries and Northlink
  • Hjaltland Research Network   - funded by Royal Society of Edinburgh to look at Viking diaspora
  • The Centre for Nordic Studies is also a partner in The Assembly Project (TAP) on assembly sites with international partners

Research groups and interests

  • Northern Scholars Network
  • Scottish Society for Northern Studies
  • Hjaltland network in Viking diaspora
  • Small island studies
  • Language and literature
  • Old Norse

Selected publications

  • Northern Heritage, UHI Press, Inverness, 2006  ISBN 1-905675-02-X
  • 6th International DIVERSE conference proceedings, Multimedia blended network learning: A Culture Studies case study, Glasgow Caledonian University 2006 ISBN 1-905866-05-4
  • “Clouston - the Writer of Fiction”, chapter in J. Storer Clouston, The Spy in Black, ed. M. MacDonald, AOP, 2007 ISBN  0955366712
  • "The Language of the Gutters?”, Travels and Travails of the Herring Girls, UHI Press, Inverness, 2007 ISBN  1-905675-03-8
  • “John Stewart of Baldynneis” Roland Furious; A Scots Poem in its European Context, BRILL Intellectual History Series, 2007. ISBN 9004163182
  • “The sociocultural effects of aviation in the Northern Isles”, chapter, Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, vol. 8, Birlinn Books, 2009 ISBN 1904607888
  • “The Norse element in the Orkney dialect” in Millar, Robert McColl (ed.) 2010. Northern Lights, Northern Words. Selected Papers from the FRLSU Conference, Kirkwall 2009, ISBN 978-0-9566549-1-5
  • 6 articles on Lyndsay, Ferrier, Kennedy, Montgomerie etc for the online  Literary Encyclopedia

Reviews include

Scottish Studies Review Autumn 2005, Review of Benjamin Cook and Peter Todd (eds), Subjects and Sequences: Margaret Tait Reader (London: Lux, 2004).

Scottish Historical Review, Volume 89 (1): 98, Edinburgh University Press, Apr 2010

St. Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-cult in Context. By Haki Antonsson. Pp. viii, 272. ISBN: 9789004155800. Leiden: Brill Academic Press, 2007.

The Early English Settlement of Orkney and Shetland.By Graeme Davis. Pp. xi, 132. ISBN: 9781904607755. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007.

Blaeu's Orkneys and Schetland: The Orkneys and Schetland in Blaeu's Atlas of 1654. Edited by James M. Irvine. Pp. 64. ISBN: 9780954457129. Ashtead: James M. Irvine, 2006.