Postgraduate Research

Why do postgraduate research at the Centre for History?

Why do postgraduate research at the Centre for History?

The Centre for History has a thriving postgraduate community that is the cornerstone of our excellent research environment.

We have great facilities to support you in your research degree. Research students at the Centre benefit from our close relationship with local archives and libraries, including the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness, the Highland Folk Museum and the A. K. Bell Library in Perth. Collections in the region range across local, regional, national and international material and you can find an interactive map of archives in the Highlands and Islands region here.

The Centre for History also works closely with national collections across Scotland and the UK, including Historic Environment Scotland and the National Museum of Scotland. Research students take full advantage of these connections and you can read more about how our research students do collaborative research with these kinds of cultural and heritage bodies here. [Link to current student profiles]

Research students have access to a range of facilities at the Centre, including a dedicated study space, computer and library facilities. Centre for History research students play a full role in the life of the department, including our vibrant seminar series and our annual postgraduate training event - you can read more about this and the exciting research being done by our students below.

Centre for History research students can take advantage of a wide range of training opportunities. Following the Centre’s success in REF2014, we are now part of the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership. In addition to providing funding for PhD studentships (see the ‘Funding’ section), the SGSAH offers an array of exciting research training courses.

The Centre’s research students also receive support from UHI’s Graduate School and Research Office. All postgraduate research students undergo a programme of induction, organised by the Graduate School. Each year, the Graduate School organises a Postgraduate Conference, which provides students with the opportunity to present their research to a university-wide audience. In addition, the Graduate School also offers a range of workshops and training programmes throughout the year and students have access to funds to support travel to archives and conferences.

Postgraduate Research Degrees

Postgraduate Research Degrees

Students can register with the Centre for a research degree programme on a full-time or a part-time basis, for the award of Master of Research (MRes) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

For the PhD, students undertake a research programme leading to the submission of a thesis of a maximum of 100,000 words.

MRes History

For the MRes History, students undertake a research programme leading to the submission of a thesis of a maximum of 40,000 words. The programme is designed for those wishing to do postgraduate research at Masters’ level without undertaking a taught MLitt.

Funding and Fees

Funding and Fees

The Centre for History is delighted to now be a full member of the Scottish Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership. Find out more about their PhD studentships, which provide funding to study at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Further information on fees and funding can be found on the University’s Graduate School website.

For further information on postgraduate research degrees at the UHI Centre for History, please contact Dr Jim MacPherson.

Current research students

Current research students

Darroch Bratt

The Origins and History of Whisky Distilling in the Scottish Highlands and Islands: An Historical and Archaeological Approach

Supervised by Professor Jane Downes, Dr Scott Timpany, and Dr Elizbeth Ritchie

@BrattDarroch

Darroch’s passion for whisky comes from working for more than a decade in the Highland whisky industry near Loch Ness and he became interested in archaeology whilst studying anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. Darroch went on to study an MLitt in Archaeological studies with UHI and started his PhD in October 2017.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Liz Forrest

 

‘Shepherds Wanted’: Wester Ross Emigrants to Patagonia, 1880-1930

Supervised by Dr Elizabeth Ritchie and Professor Marjory Harper

Annie Gilfillan

Curating a nuclear past: atomic archives and public history

Supervised by Dr Jim MacPherson, Professor Neville Kirk and Gordon Reid (Nucleus)

@Ann_Gilfillan

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Maureen Hammond

 

Economy, Innovation and Identity: the Textiles of Badenoch in the Eighteenth Century

Supervised by Dr Jim MacPherson, Professor Hugh Cheape, Dr Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart, and Dr Graham Watson (High Life Highland)

@maureen_shaw10

Melanie Manwaring-McKay

Charles Fraser Mackintosh (1828-1901) and his books: book collecting, bibliomania and antiquarianism in the Victorian Scottish Highlands (MRes)

Supervised by Dr Jim MacPherson and John West (High Life Highland)

@MelanieMMcKay

Joanna Rodgers

‘Understanding the interplay between Scottish heritage and ancestral tourism’

Supervised by Dr Iain Robertson and Dr Pete Varley (Edinburgh Napier)

@Jo_Rodgers_UHI

Joanna joined the UHI Centre for History in October 2016. Her PhD project is entitled ‘Understanding the interplay between Scottish heritage and ancestral tourism’ and her Director of Studies is Dr Robertson. Joanna’s research explores the ways in which ancestral tourism affects perceptions of Scottish heritage for both visitors and residents. The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Joanna joins the Centre for History from the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), a 5-star heritage attraction where she spent three years in the Operations & Public Engagement team. Prior to this she was awarded an MA (Hons.) in International Relations and Modern History, and an M.Litt in Modern History, both at the University of St Andrews.

Joanna is delighted to return to the Highlands & Islands, having left Lochaber after school. Outwith her studies she makes the most of everything the area offers – wild camping, island-hopping, hill-running and the vibrant traditional music scene.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland's Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Linda Ross

‘Nuclear fission and social fusion’:  the impact of Dounreay Experimental Research Establishment on Caithness, 1954-1966

Supervised by Dr Jim MacPherson, Professor Neville Kirk and Miriam McDonald (Historic Environment Scotland)

@Linda83Ross

Linda is an AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral student with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for History and Historic Environment Scotland. Using a mixture of archival sources, newspaper articles and oral history testimonies she is assessing the impact of Dounreay Experimental Research Establishment on Caithness between 1954 and 1966, the period in which it initially made its mark on the area. Her research explores its impact on the built environment, the community and the north, all aspects which are interlinked and which had a particularly significant effect on the town of Thurso.

Linda brings her love for industrial heritage, the built environment and the Scottish Highlands to her work. Other academic interests include the development of power in the landscape and the social and infrastructural impact of Cold War installations on rural areas. Outwith her studies Linda is a keen Polaroid photographer, mainly shooting industrial or architectural sites. Prior to this studentship she was curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum and maintains an interest in Scottish maritime history.

Mary Souter

Public Health in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland: a Study of Inverness County, 1845-1912

Supervised by Dr Jim MacPherson and Dr Elizabeth Ritchie

Mary graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands in 2013 with a first class BA (Hons) in Scottish History. She became interested in the history of health in the Highlands and Islands when undertaking research for her undergraduate dissertation on Inverness District Lunatic Asylum in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After completing a module from the Strathclyde/Glasgow Caledonian Universities MSc in Health History course called Health and Healthcare in the Long Nineteenth Century, she began a PhD with UHI in 2015. The research focuses on public health in the Highlands and Islands from 1845 when the government began to a play a more active role in people’s health up to 1912 when the Dewar Commission marked the beginning of more radical health interventions. She is particularly interested in how public health issues and solutions in the most northerly counties differed from other parts of Scotland and will consider geographical, social, technical and economic circumstances.

Jane Thomas

Salmon in Early Modern Scotland

Supervised by Dr David Worthington, Dr Jen Harland and Dr Lucio Marcello

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Stephen Worth

‘Sustainability upon the margins: The fate of small farms on the Grampian Mountains during the Agricultural Improvements of the 18th and 19th Centuries’.

Supervised by Dr Iain Robertson, Dr Scott Timpany and Dr Mary MacLeod (Historic Environment Scotland).

Steve is a Carnegie funded cross discipline doctoral student with the University of the Highland and Islands’ Centre for History and the Institute for Archaeology.  Using a combination of archaeological investigation with archival and historical research, he is studying the fate of small farms that developed on marginal land during the 18th and 19th centuries as a replacement for the traditional communal farming practices.   His research explores the biography of several farms within the Grampian region, including social, landscape and architectural development, and how they functioned within overall estate management.

After a career in the RAF, Steve followed a lifelong passion for history and heritage to become an archaeologist with a specific interest in historical-archaeology.   In addition, Steve is a keen photographer, with a particular interest in landscape and historic buildings.  

 

Completed research students

Completed research students

Wade Cormack PhD

Sport and Physical Education in the Northern Mainland Burghs of Scotland c. 1600-1800

Supervised by Dr David Worthington, Dr Elizabeth Ritchie and Dr Alastair Durie

@Wade_Cormack

Wade joined the UHI Centre for History as the recipient of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club / UHI Development Office-funded Royal Dornoch PhD Studentship and commenced his study in September 2013. Hailing from Canada, Wade holds a BAS (Hons) and a MA in History from the University of Guelph. 

Wade's research explores the history of sport and culture in the Moray Firth region from the 17th to the 19th century.  His research looked into the cultural factors that influenced sporting practices through an examination of archery, golf, football and shinty, while also investigating sport's place in festival celebrations.  As part of his studentship, Wade worked closely with the Royal Dornoch Golf Club to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of golf in Dornoch during 2016 and engaging with the public through a series of public talks and events.

In addition to his historical research, Wade likes to get out and enjoy the links with a round or two of golf, if he is not out exploring the Highlands on foot. 

You can read more about Wade’s research in this article from the journal Sport in History.

David Taylor PhD

A society in transition: Badenoch 1750-1800

Supervised by Professor James Hunter, Professor Marjory Harper and Dr Elizabeth Ritchie

Having retired in the summer of 2009, David decided to undertake a PhD with the Centre for History, starting in October 2009. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Scottish Historical Studies in 1972, and then embarked on a career as a history teacher, spending the last 30 years as Principal Teacher of History and Modern Studies in Kingussie High School.

The theme of David’s PhD was social and economic change in Badenoch, 1750-1800. This ranged widely over such issues as landownership, estate management, tacksmen, agriculture, sheep-farming, sport, economic problems, famine and migration. David’s research focused on Badenoch because he has become fascinated by the deserted and largely forgotten settlements which litter the hillsides in the area, and also because it is one of the relatively untouched areas of Highland history.

Apart from history, David has a keen interest in the traditional music scene in the Highlands, and has been involved with the teaching of folk music and piping over many years.

David's research has recently been published by Birlinn as the book The Wild Black Region (2016), which was short-listed for the Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year category.

You can read more about David’s latest research project in this History Scotland article.

Darren Tierney PhD

Financing the faith: Scottish Catholicism, 1772-c.1890

Supervised by Dr Karly Kehoe and Professor Daniel Szechi

Darren joined the Centre for History as a PhD research student in September 2010. He holds an LLb (Hons) from Glasgow Caledonian University and a MLitt in History (with merit) from the University of Glasgow. Prior to joining the Centre, he worked for two years in the welfare-to-work sector.

Darren's research focused on 19th Century Catholicism in Scotland, with particular reference to lay wills, gifts and legacies. The project sought to establish the importance of the Highlands laity to the Scottish Mission by considering not only monetary gifts and legacies but also those that took on a non-monetary form. In doing so it threw new light on the interaction between the laity and the clergy (and bishops) and generally added a new level of detail to our understanding of Catholicism in the region.

In addition to his own research, Darren also assisteds with teaching at the Centre and has recently taken on the role of Newsletter and Seminar Series Co-ordinator for the Scottish Catholic Historical Association.

Bob Chambers PhD

For want of land: a study of land settlement in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Raasay between the two World Wars

Supervised by Professor James Hunter and Professor Marjory Harper

Bob, who was the first doctoral student to register at the Centre on us being validated as a research area back in 2008, was awarded his PhD in April 2013.

You can read more about Bob’s research in a book based on his PhD.

Cathel Hutchison

Tartan entrepreneurs in nineteenth century Canada: the importance of a Highland origin in determining their success (MLitt by Research)

Supervised by Professor James Hunter