Land and people

Our passion content Outdoor class studying history of the land around Dornoch

Our passion

The symbiotic relationship between land and people has always been an important part of the teaching and research of the Centre. From the publications of our first director, Professor James Hunter (author of The Making of the Crofting Community) to the work of scholars Dr Elizabeth Ritchie and Dr Iain Robertson, our work explores the entanglements of environment, work, memory and people, particularly in the Highlands and Islands.

Communicating the past content Dr Elizabeth Ritchie on a field trip at Aberscross, Sutherland

Communicating the past

The Centre for History is passionate about bringing historical issues to the wider public and our lecturers, Dr Elizabeth Ritchie and Dr Iain Robertson, have written many articles and chapters focusing on different aspects of historical land issues in the Highlands and Islands. These include Dr Ritchie’s reflections on ‘wild land’ for Community Land Scotland. 

Professor James Hunter content Selection of books written by Professor James Hunter

Professor James Hunter

Since the 1980s, Professor James Hunter has led the way in the discussion of historical land reform issues. He has written thirteen books on Highlands and Islands history and numerous articles such as History: its key place in the future of the Highlands and Islands (Northern Scotland, vol. 27). In 2016, his book Set Adrift Upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances was awarded the Saltire Society’s Best History Book. He is currently giving talks about his latest book Insurrection.

Land settlement content 'Private no hill walking' sign on fence; credit Sam Maynard

Land settlement

A celebratory conference on the 1919 Land Settlement (Scotland) Act in Lewis in September 2019 examined the ongoing meanings and legacies of this century-old legislation and included a keynote lecture from Professor James Hunter. You can read a blog inspired by the event Barra-land-raiders-blog and join in the lively conversation about land issues and the past by adding your thoughts and comments to our research questionnaire.

Runrig and Highland history content Donny Munro and Dr David Worthington discuss Runrig and Highland history at the National Museum of Scotland

Runrig and Highland history

At the Runrig and Highland History event at the National Museums of Scotland in May 2019, Donnie Munro described the impact on the band of reading James Hunter’s The Making of the Crofting Community and eloquently and passionately discussed the meanings of land and language in the Highlands. You can read Dr David Worthington’s reflections on the event and take part in our research questionnaire.

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Be part of the conversation!

As part of our research we are collecting the public’s responses to the work we are doing to examine and explain historical land issues. This online research questionnaire will only take a few minutes to complete but will be invaluable for our understanding of how you perceive these issues.  You can also continue the conversation on social media and explore our other research in land, landscape and memories.

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