Media Release: New course to explore Highlands and Islands culture

Orkney College prospectus shoot 2011/12

THE tradition of blackening grooms to ward off evil spirits is just one of the topics that will be explored in a new course on Highlands and Islands culture.

The postgraduate qualification, thought to be the first of its kind, will cover a range of subjects related to the region, including its customs, history, literature, music and geography.

The Highlands and Islands culture MLitt has been developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands. As well as being available for full or part-time study, the course can also be accessed from anywhere in the world. Tutors will use resources such as video-conferencing technology to teach students wherever they are based. It is hoped this will help to attract students from around the globe who would like to learn more about Scotland, including those with Scottish ancestry or who have been inspired by the forthcoming Disney animation, Brave.

Course leader, Dr Donna Heddle, said: “This course was created to allow people from all over the world to explore the culture of the Highlands and Islands. It’s an opportunity to study a unique and multi-faceted culture which fascinates whether or not you are one of the 55 million people worldwide who are of Scots descent. There is no doubt that the Highlands and Islands has a timeless magic of its own and we’re looking forward to sharing that with our students and the wider world.”

Robert Livingston, director of HI~Arts, said: “Every year the Highlands and Islands plays host to hundreds of thousands of visitors who seek out the cultural riches of the area, from Celtic and rock festivals to great castles and gardens, and from contemporary galleries to ceilidhs offering the best in traditional and Gaelic music. It will be a huge asset to have a course which offers in-depth knowledge and understanding of both the roots of Highland culture and its current forms and expressions and is, moreover, accessible worldwide.”

Enrolment for the Highland and Islands culture MLitt is already open, with the first intake of students starting in September. For more information, call 01856 569 300, email or visit


Photo caption: University of the Highlands and Islands student Sarah de Rees visits a farm museum on Orkney

Media contact:

Susan Szymborski

Communications officer

Tel: 01463 279222


Notes to editors:

The University of the Highlands and Islands comprises thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and co-ordinated through an executive office. Collectively, this is referred to as the UHI partnership.

There are currently over 7,500 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the university.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university with campuses and headquarters based in the Highlands and Islands. Its mission is to strengthen and develop the social, economic and cultural prospects of the region. It uses a blend of learning methods, including traditional classroom face-to-face teaching, video-conferencing tutorials and lectures and virtual learning environments and other IT media.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.

University of the Highlands and Islands student Sarah de Rees visits a farm museum on Orkney

MEDIA RELEASE posted by the University of the Highlands and Islands. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.



Contact: Susan Szymborski
Phone: 01463 279 210