5 May 2022 1pm Islands Matter Webinar: Shetland’s Boats Origin, evolution and use by Dr Marc Chivers

Dr Marc Chivers discusses his new book 'Shetland's Boats: origin, evolution and use'

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Dr Marc Chivers

As part of the Islands Matter Webinar series Dr Marc Chivers is discussing his new book. It explores the central role these four and six-oared boats played in everyday Shetland life, meeting boatbuilders and the people whose way of life was centred on, and dependent upon, these seaworthy craft.

'Shetland's Boats: origin, evolution and use' is based on Marc's PhD that was completed in 2017 with the Institute for Northern Studies. Dr Andrew Jennings was the Director of Studies for Marc’s PhD, which was joint funded by the Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Amenity Trust. The idea for the PhD grew out a discussions with Jimmy Moncrieff chief executive of the Amenity Trust, while on a research trip to the Isle of Man.

Hailing from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, where as a child Marc developed a love for sailing, and spent many happy hours messing around in boats on the Thames Estuary. Marc graduated with an honours degree in fine art from Wimbledon School of Art, and had a career in healthcare education and training management that was halted by a desire to fulfil an ambition to learn how to build traditional wooden boats.

After completing a nine month full-time course at the Boatbuilding Academy in Lyme Regis Marc and his partner Rachel (Rae) spent five weeks in southern India, this was followed by a sailing trip, crewing on board a very old 38ft wooden Bristol Channel pilot cutter called Dolphin, which sailed from Ørnes in Norway to Svalbard. On their return to the UK Marc and Rae moved to Devon in their live-in van so that Marc could work for wooden boatbuilder Ash Butler. Marc and Rae were living on a 42ft yacht in Old Mill Creek on the river Dart when Marc saw an email advertising a fully funded PhD researching Shetland’s traditional small open boats. He applied and was accepted, and in September 2013, Marc and Rae moved to Burra, Shetland which is where they continue to live.

The Islands Matter webinars are the result of a collaboration between Dr Andrew Jennings Institute for Northern Studies UHI, Professor Frank Rennie Lews Castle College UHI and Dr Beth Mouat Shetland UHI. This series of webinars was set up to address the hunger in the Scottish islands to hear from experts based in other islands worldwide, and to help inform the UHI Islands’ Strategy.

How to join us: Institute for Northern Studies - Public events and seminars - Islands Matter Webinar 8: Shetland’s Boats Origin, evolution and use by Dr Marc Chivers (uhi.ac.uk)