My formal interest in landscape developed while studying archaeology at the University of Glasgow (graduated 1997). Glasgow has a tradition of combining archaeology and historical geography: the archaeology department emerged from the geography department in the 1960s and 1970s. Studying in this environment, I soon developed an interest in the history of farming landscapes and my PhD (Glasgow, 2001) looked at the development of several parishes in the southern Scottish Highlands. I studied the social and economic changes which were taking place there as the modern world emerged from the medieval, with a particular concern for the changing routines and practices of farming life. These topics remain of great interest to me.
After completing my PhD, I left academia to work as a professional archaeologist and heritage manager, spending short periods of time as a freelance archaeologist and working for the Scottish Government heritage agency Historic Scotland before taking a post with Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD). Amongst other things, my work with GUARD included Environmental Impact Assessments where I was tasked with assessing development impacts on the ‘setting’ of archaeological sites and monuments, in landscape and visual terms. Through this work I came to understand the importance of taking a collaborative approach to landscape research and practice.
In 2007, I took up my current post as a lecturer in archaeology at the University of Glasgow. My current research draws on my academic background in landscape archaeology and historical geography and also on my previous career as a professional archaeologist. My interests centre on landscape and heritage policy and practice and particularly on the question: how can engagement with the past landscape contribute to the creation of positive, more just landscapes in the present and future? I am interested in exploring how this contribution can be delivered through particular kinds of governance, practice and action.
I was appointed as a Director of Landscape Research Group in 2012 and serve as the LRG’s Research and Policy coordinator.