Our dissertation prize-winners


Each year, the Centre for History is delighted to award the Professor James Hunter dissertation prize to the best first class dissertation of the year. Here are our past winners.

Victoria Whiteford, BA (Hons) Scottish History and Theology (2018-19)

Victoria graduated with a first-class Honours degree in Scottish History and Theology from Inverness College in October 2019. Her dissertation was entitled ‘”We are not inclined to surrender historical truth”: an analysis of the treatment of Thomas Mulock and his book, The Western Highlands, within Scottish historiography’. Victoria is currently studying an Msc in Intellectual History at the University of Edinburgh.

Graduating student with her mother

Brenda Grant, BA (Hons) Scottish History (2017-18)

Brenda’s prize-winning dissertation was entitled A Woman's Fight: the Glasgow Rent Strike of 1915. Brenda graduated with a first class Honours degree in Scottish History from West Highland College UHI in October 2018 and is hoping to pursue postgraduate studies with the Centre for History in the future.

Brenda Grant

Kathleen (Val) Ash, BA (Hons) Scottish History (2016-17)

Val Ash

Val graduated with a first class Honours degree in Scottish History from Moray College UHI in October 2017. Val's dissertation was entitled Watering Down the Whisky: Alcohol, Abstinence and Temperance in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, 1820-1860. As well as winning the James Hunter dissertation prize, Val also won The Highland Society of London essay prize for the best undergraduate dissertation on a subject relating to the Highlands and Islands.

Lesley B Durrant, BA (Hons) History and Politics (2015-16)

Lesley Durrant

Lesley (centre) graduated with a first class Honours degree from Moray College UHI in October 2016. Her dissertation was entitled Southern Scotland’s Fourteenth Century Wartime Experience: Chivalry and Violence. Lesley went on to graduate with an MLitt History of the Highlands and Islands from the Centre for History.

Angela Forbes, BA (Hons) History and Politics (2014-15)

Angela, dissertation prizewinner

Angela's dissertation was entitled The British Empire and the War Effort: A Comparative Study of the Experiences of the British Honduran Forestry Unit and the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. It was supported by a grant Angela received from the Economic History Society, which enabled her to research with original, primary sources in the National Archives in London. Angela graduated with a first class honours degree from Perth College UHI in 2015.

Mary Souter, BA (Hons) Scottish History (2012-13)

Research student

Mary - who graduated in 2013 from Inverness College UHI with a first-class BA (Hons) Scottish History - was awarded the dissertation prize for her excellent dissertation on Highland Madness: Pauper Lunatics in Inverness District Lunatic Asylum 1864-1914. Mary was then awarded the Royal Historical Society/History Scotland dissertation prize for 2013. She then received support from the UHI Student Development Fund to enable her to attend and present at the British Conference on Undergraduate Research, which took place in Nottingham in April 2014. Mary is now studying towards a PhD at the Centre for History.

Kirk Reid, BA (Hons) Scottish History (2011-12)

Kirk, who graduated from Highland Theological College UHI with a first class BA (Hons) Scottish History in 2012, was awarded the prize for his dissertation. Kirk says "Still so appreciative of the awesome BA experience you guys gave me and consider that easily the best academic experience of my life.” Kirk went on to complete an MLitt in Highlands and Islands Literature, graduating with distinction in 2013.

Ailsa Raeburn, BA (Hons) Scottish History (2010-11)

Ailsa, dissertation prizewinner

Left to right: Dr Elizabeth Ritchie, Dr Karly Kehoe, Ailsa Raeburn, Dr David Worthington.

Ailsa graduated from Argyll College UHI in 2011. She was awarded the James Hunter Dissertation Prize for her work, entitled How was territorial power and control in medieval Argyll expressed through its built heritage and did this change as the region moved from Scotland’s periphery to its core?. Ailsa then completed a PGCert in the History of the Highlands and Islands with the Centre for History before going into full-time employment. She says: "I am now working at Highlands and Islands Enterprise in their Community Assets team - working to restore/return land to local community ownership. I often think about what I learnt on my degree course and how useful it has been in developing this area of work!"