Archive - 2019 Conference content

Archive - 2019 Conference

We are delighted to announce that booking has now opened for the multi-disciplinary "Ruination & Decay" conference, which has been organised by the Humanities & Arts Research Cluster (HARC) for the 11th-12th December 2019 at Inverness College UHI.

The conference will feature speakers from across a range of disciplines including Cultural Geography; Archaeology; Performance Studies; Art & Design; Visual Studies; Heritage Studies; History; Literature. There will also be an exhibition of photographs by the artist Sue Mara, and a display of research posters*

The conference fee is set at £15 for the two days, which includes refreshments breaks and the conference dinner on Wednesday 11th December. The conference fee for students is £5.**

To book, please visit the Eventbrite page here

*The call for research posters is still open. Please email Colin Richards at with a short (150 word) abstract of your poster by Thursday 28th November.

**We have a small number of discretionary accommodation bursaries to assist with costs for UHI postgraduate students and early career researchers to attend the conference. To apply, please email by Monday 28th October with a short (200 word) statement explaining why you would like to attend the conference & offering a brief outline of projected costs to attend (please include details of where you are based).

Please note that some UHI academic partners & subject areas are offering bursaries to support postgraduate students to attend the conference, including the Archaeology Institute, Orkney College & Orkney Archaeological Society (contact; and the Centre for History (contact If you think you may be eligible, please contact them directly to explore this option. Delegates awarded bursaries from these sources are requested not to apply for the R&D accommodation bursary.

Conference Progamme


Wednesday 11th December


 Registration Opens

10.10 – 11.00

Conference introduction and presentation 1: Chair: Colin Richards

Mike Parker Pearson (UCL) Stonehenge:How grand! How wonderful! How incomprehensible!’

11.00 – 11.20


Session 1

Chair: Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

11.20 – 11.50

Mandy Haggith (UHI):  Bringing people back from the dead: fiction and poetry inspired by ruins

11.50 – 12.20

Simon Murray (University of Glasgow): Performing the ruin: some questions of materiality and dramaturgy

12.20 – 12.35


12.35 – 1.30


1.30 – 1.45

Conference Address: Crichton Lang (UHI Principle & Vice-Chancellor)

Session 2

Chair: Lesley Mickel

1.45 – 2.15

Siân Jones (University of Stirling): Negotiating decay: the temporal and material paradoxes of heritage conservation

2.15 – 2.45

Matt Ritchie (Forestry & Land Scotland): Set in concrete? Considering conservation and character at Lossie’s WWII coastal crust

2.45 – 3.15

Philippa Woodcock (UHI): The ruins of ambition: tracing the fragments of Valiois Milan

3.15 – 3.25


3.25 – 3.45


Session 3

Chair: Lindsay Blair

3.45 – 4.15

Antonia Thomas (UHI): “Ruins in Reverse: Time-Travelling in Contemporary Art and Contemporary Archaeology”

4.15 - 4.45

Alessandra Campoli (UHI): From modern ruins to human decay. Creative practices and ‘students as researchers’

4.45 – 5.15

Keith Mcintyre (UHI): Disturbed ground – immortalising the disappeared

5.15 – 5.25


7.00pm Conference Dinner


Thursday 12th December

9.20 – 9.30

Day 2 - Introduction: Neil Simco (UHI - Vice Principal of Research)


Conference presentation 2 Chair: Iain Robertson


9.30 – 10.15

Hayden Lorimer (University of Edinburgh): Fortifying the ruin: the nightwatchman, the artists, the trespassers and their antagonisms

10.15 – 10. 35


Session 4

Chair: Iain Robertson

10.35 – 11.05

Roxane Permar (UHI): Nuclear families

11.05 – 11.35

Fiona Smith (Robert Gordon University): Abandoned Places: the aestheticization of decay and the dark retrospective gaze

11.35 – 11.50


12.50 – 12.10


Session 5

Chair: Joanna Rodgers

12.10 – 12.40

Vicki Cummings (Uclan): Decaying bodies, ruined tombs: the afterlife of Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain and Ireland

12.40 – 1.10

Fiona J. Mackenzie (Canna House, National Trust for Scotland): Deserted Village on Mingulay: the Canna Archives- a folklore phoenix

1.10 – 1.20


1.20 – 2.00


Session 6

Chair: Ragnhild Ljosland

2.00 – 2.30

Hugh Cheape (UHI) Bàthadh nan Gleann – ‘the drowning of the Glens’: locating human ecology in the AMBER Project.

2.30 – 3.00

Anne Bevan (UHI) Beside the Ocean of time: mapping the sound

3.00 – 3.10


3.10 – 3.25


3.25 – 3.55

Kenny Brophy (University of Glasgow): Lingering timbers: the decline and fall of monuments of wood

3.55 – 4.25

Maya Darrell Hewins (UHI): From nitrate fires to bitrot – decay and destruction as a constant in the life of moving images

4.25 – 4.55

Paul Shanks (UHI): The heart of the Highlands: Tourism, ghosts and ruination in Inverness



Final discussion and conference conclusion: Michael Rayner: UHI Dean of Research