Researchers explore history of rural development in the Highlands

14 January 2015

Dr Karly Kehoe

Dr Karly Kehoe

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have secured funding from The Royal Society of Edinburgh to bring together historians, geographers, archaeologists, archivists, librarians and community researchers to explore past rural development in the Scottish Highlands and its links with a global context and its present-day legacies.

The socio-economic upheaval that Scotland experienced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had a transformative effect on the rural landscapes and communities of the Highlands.

Dr Karly Kehoe will lead the project, entitled ‘Landscapes and Lifescapes’, which includes a number of other researchers from the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Building upon her previous work, this project will use the Caribbean as a case study for investigating how rural areas were influenced by global economies and imperial interactions.

It will examine the myriad of links that stretched from the Highlands across the Atlantic to broaden understandings of how the historical processes of rural development have shaped the present and can shape the future.  

A number of events, including school workshops, a community round table and a public conference will take place at the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness. These events will bring together a range of people and groups who are interested in understanding more about the role that history can play in shaping understandings of rural socio-economic development.

80% of GCU’s History impact is world-leading and internationally excellent, according to the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.

Dr Kehoe is also co-chair of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland and a co-investigator on the European-funded ‘Colonialism and Decolonisation in National History Cultures and Memory Politics in European Perspectives’ project, which brings together academic historians and teachers from across Europe to investigate the colonial past and processes of decolonisation in different European states in a comparative perspective. In addition to her European partners, Kehoe is working with teachers in Stranraer, Invergordon and Glasgow.

Dr Kehoe’s research interests in history include religion, national identity and migration in the Scottish and Irish contexts, and the links between the Highlands and Islands and the Atlantic slave trade. Her work on the diary of Royal Navy surgeon, Richard Carr McClement, shed light on the links between Irish Catholics and the later slave trade.