University of the Highland and Islands are Seeking Community Views on their Islands Strategy
Image: Foula by Dr Andrew Jennings
The University of the Highlands and Islands has launched an online survey to gather the views of community members, public bodies, businesses and the voluntary sector of the islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides in relation to the university’s Islands Strategy published in 2020.
This strategy sets out how the university will work with partners to extend and strengthen its activities across the islands, and deliver outcomes in respect of seven key strategic themes:
- Skills, workforce development, entrepreneurial support and talent attraction
- Producing a short course pan-islands prospectus offering provision in culture, heritage, archaeology and creative industries
- Profiling postgraduate online provision in culture, heritage, archaeology, marine sciences and creative industries
- Strengthening research activity in the islands
- Increasing pan-islands academic activity associated with University of the Highlands and Islands institutes, centres and departments
- Supporting our islands’ languages, including Gaelic language, island dialects and Nordic cultures
- Attracting new activity and people to the islands and to be based in the islands.
In order to gather a wide range of opinions from residents on the three islands a research project is being undertaken by university staff with a specific focus on language, heritage, archaeology, education, community development and the creative sector/arts. The research project aims to identify how specific strategic themes of the Islands Strategy have the potential to support community and economic development priorities for the islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides. A particular aspect of the research will focus on how well the UHI Islands Strategy aligns with the respective developmental priorities of businesses, civic society groups and public sector organisations resident in the islands.
The research process is envisaged as a two-way process of engagement between the university and the island communities. It is envisaged that outcomes from the research project will identify ways by which island communities will benefit from closer access to the resources of the university, on the one hand, and the university will acquire research-led insights to inform a more coherent strategic engagement with the various challenges of island communities, on the other hand.
Dr Beth Mouat, the UHI islands' strategy director said, “This project presents an excellent opportunity for meaningful engagement, the results of which will be invaluable in supporting the implementation of the Islands Strategy, and in informing future research that can have real impact in the islands”.
Listen here to an interview with Professor Neil Simco, Vice-Principal (Research and Impact) at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland on the launch of the institution's new Island Strategy.
The university research team would welcome all views, even if people are not fully aware of the detailed priorities of the UHI Islands 2020 Strategy. All opinions are important, as they could highlight areas of future support and development for the islands from the University of the Highlands and Islands.
You can access and complete the online survey here: UHI Islands Strategy Survey (onlinesurveys.ac.uk)