Spaces of Assertion: informal land occupations in the Scottish Highlands after 1914 (Dr Iain Robertson)

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An Suileachean in Lewis
An Suileachean in Lewis, photo by Iain Robertson

In November 1918, a fresh wave of land occupations broke out across the Highlands and Islands. This talk, however, does not dwell long on this much discussed phenomenon. Instead it ponders the question ‘when is an occupation not an occupation?’ The answer, Dr Robertson suggests, is when it is ignored by local and national authority. When it is an informal occupation. While small in number, identification of these highly fluid and archivally-challenging events shifts our understanding of Highland protest and reminds us that even the most privatised spaces offer the opportunity for subversion and resistance.

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