Thursday, 19 June 2014

Land and People in the Northern Highlands: The Strathnaver Conference

New of a conference on the Clearances in Strathnaver in September:

Land and People in the Northern Highlands: The Strathnaver Conference
Bettyhill, Thursday 4th - Saturday 6th September 2014

In 2014 it will be 200 years since the Clearances in Strathnaver associated with Patrick Sellar. It will also be 300 years since the renowned Gaelic poet Rob Donn was born in neighbouring Strath More. The confluence of history, archaeology and literature inspires this interdisciplinary conference which examines the relationship between land and people in the northern Highlands. The keynote speakers are Professor Eric Richards, from Flinders University, Adelaide, and Professor James Hunter, from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Panel sessions will inspire discussion on the literature of Rob Donn, emigration, politics, and the changing economy and society of the far north from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. This conference is funded by the generosity of the Carnegie Trust, as part of the Carnegie Professorship which has allowed Eric Richards to be based at the UHI Centre for History for a three month period.

Thursday 4th September

1pm Arrival, Registration and Lunch at Bettyhill Village Hall

Keynote Speaker – James Hunter (University of the Highlands and Islands)
‘“Savages from Scotland”: The North American Dimension of the Sutherland Clearances.’

Coffee and presentation on the work of the MacKay Country Project

Panel 1: The World of Rob Donn
William McKay: ‘Jacobites at Heart?’
Ellen Beard: ‘Rob Donn, Iain Tapaidh, and Gray of Rogart’
Margaret McKay: ‘Rob Donn’s World Transformed: Durness, its Land and People 1760-1820’

Evening Session:
Jim Johnston – ‘10,000 Years in Strathnaver: An Illustrated Talk’
Strathnaver Museum visit

Friday 5th September

Keynote Speaker – Eric Richards (Flinders University, Adelaide)
‘Not the Highland Clearances: Other Responses to the Highland Crisis’

Coffee and presentation on the work of the Strathnaver Museum

Panel 2: Agents or Victims of Change?
Malcolm Bangor-Jones: ‘Tacksmen and Small Tenants: Strathnaver in the 18th Century’
Alison T. McCall: ‘“The Woman MacKay” - Politics and Protest in Helmsdale and Brora in the wake of the Education (Scotland) Act 1872.’
Iain MacKinnon: ‘To Bridge the Great Divide – Transcending Historiographic Division over how to Interpret the 18thand 19th Century Highlands and Islands.’

Packed lunch

Field Trip:
Part 1: The Clearance Township of Rossal
Part 2: Settlement and Industry on the North Coast

Conference Dinner: Bettyhill Hotel

Saturday 6th September

Panel 3: Governing the Land
Annie Tindley: ‘“Castle Government”: the Psychologies of Land Ownership and Management in North Sutherland, c. 1860-1911’
Ben Thomas: ‘“The Clach” – The life and times of Alexander MacKenzie’
Iain Robertson: ‘Landscape, Environment and Protest: the Land Wars in the North after 1914’


Panel 2: Northern Emigrants
Pamela Sharpe: ‘The Highland Clearances and Emigration to Van Diemen's Land in the 1820s: Dissecting the Details of a Case Study’
Marjory Harper: ‘From the Northern Highlands to the “Great White North”: The Perception and Practice of Emigration from Sutherland and Caithness since 1774’

12.30pm Lunch and Depart

Registration fee:
Standard: £35
Student/unwaged: free
Speakers: free
Day visitors: £10 for Thursday; £15 for Friday; £10 for Saturday

The registration fee includes:
Teas and coffees
Lunch on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Minibus from Inverness to Bettyhill on Thursday and return from Bettyhill to Inverness on Saturday
Friday fieldtrip

The registration fee does not include:
Dinner on the Thursday night
Conference Dinner on Friday night (£20)
Transport to Inverness

For booking form, transport and accommodation details contact: Dr Elizabeth Ritchie

(With thanks to Jane Harris via the Linked In page of the Scottish Genealogy Network)


Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

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