"Having worked with Mairi on several projects over recent years I cannot recommend her highly enough. She has that rare double gift of always being full of ideas, but also knowing how to convert them to reality and make them happen. Her knowledge of Scotland's history, culture and heritage is immense, as is her understanding of the nation's place in the world and its cultural potential. Her vision, commitment and energy are second to none. Talk to Mairi. You won't be sorry."
Professor Gary West, University of Edinburgh, musician & broadcaster
I am a creative ethnologist with a background in academia, arts and culture. In my work I have taken on the various roles of researcher, tutor, lecturer, teacher, writer, activist, campaigner, organiser, coordinator, producer, facilitator, curator, host, speaker and performer.
I am an ethnologist, writer and cultural activist from Edinburgh, now based in Inverness. I studied Scottish ethnology and Scottish literature as an undergraduate before going on to complete both my masters and PhD in the Department of Celtic & Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. My doctoral research (2012) explored the aesthetics, poetics and transformative power of the traditional ballad in performance and practice and was awarded the Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff Prize for ethnology and folklore in 2016. I shared and performed aspects of my fieldwork research with audiences at Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) at the annual 2016 Alan Bruford Memorial Lecture.
Since completing my PhD, I have continued to pursue research: in 2013 I held a post-doctoral research fellowship at IASH (Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities) at the University of Edinburgh exploring the cultural and creative vision of educationalist Patrick Geddes and the connections between ethnology, radical human ecology and geopoetics. I am currently a research associate at Heriot-Watt's Intercultural Research Centre (IRC) developing a creative ethnological practice.
I have experience of lecturing, teaching and tutoring in Scottish Studies, cultural politics, heritage, ethnology and the creative arts in both higher education and non-formal contexts (University of Edinburgh; Newbattle Abbey College; Scottish Storytelling Centre). I also have experience of distance and online learning through contributing to the development of a taught postgraduate course in Scottish Culture and Heritage/Cultur agus Dualchas na h-Alba in partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (University of the Highlands and & Islands).
Outwith academia I have supported various creative projects and have worked for and contributed to the development of various arts organisations, including TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), ethnological community enterprise Local Voices and, more recently, The Shieling Project, a social enterprise leading in heritage and sustainability education bringing the ‘folk school’ approach from Scandinavia to the Scottish Highlands.
I also sit on the national council for the Saltire Society and the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics.
From 2012 - 2014 I was involved as a core organiser for the creative cultural campaign for Scottish independence with National Collective.