I have been an independent creative freelancer for five years, working in Edinburgh before moving to Inverness in 2017. I launched Northlight in 2019 to encompass my freelance work, creative practice, event production and professional services.
I am an ethnologist and hold a PhD in ethnology from the University of Edinburgh where I taught for several years in the Department of Celtic & Scottish Studies. Ethnology is about understanding the relationship between people and place and how we make sense of the past in the present. A creative ethnology as an engaged praxis looks towards the future. You can read more about ethnology here and reflections on my own creative practice here.
My interests include Scottish cultural politics, geopoetics, the aesthetics and poetics of traditional arts (music, song & storytelling), intangible cultural heritage (ICH), working creatively with archives, creative activism, visual culture in Scotland, the work and life of Patrick Geddes, ecological thought, the role of culture in Learning for Sustainability (LfS), land reform, alternative economies, degrowth, and hopeful futures. My work has been described as “imaginative, reflective, provocative, connecting, expansive, affirmative, poetic and hopeful.”
I have taken on the various roles of researcher, fieldworker, tutor, teacher, lecturer, writer, facilitator, organiser, activist, campaigner, coordinator, designer, consultant, producer, host, chair, speaker and performer.
I have over ten years’ experience teaching, lecturing and tutoring in academic and non-formal contexts, including the University of Edinburgh, Newbattle Abbey College and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Outwith academia, I have worked for different cultural organisations - most recently as a national coordinator for Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (TRACS). I am co-director of ethnological community enterprise Local Voices, a director of The Shieling Project - a social enterprise leading in heritage and sustainability education - and assistant director for the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. I am also involved in voluntary cultural and community activism producing events and working in collaboration, most recently developing the LAND/FEARANN project.