Firths and Fjords Blog and Website

Activity: KE and Outreach activitiesTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Social networking


‘I thought the variety of subjects dealt with at the conference showed very clearly that there is a multitude of themes and disciplines affected by coastal management’

‘The concepts of coastal history and the themes of the diverse papers have given me some new perspectives.’

‘Great range of topics and variety of strands connected to the coasts.’

‘I am going to use the discussion about coastal history in the theoretical framework of my dissertation.’

These were just four comments received from hundreds of points made on our evaluation forms in relation to the recent ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference. It was the first ever conference on the Coastal History theme, and the biggest and most ambitious academic gathering to have taken place in Dornoch to this date.

Taken together with the Twitter archive – over 900 tweets in the week from 30 March 2016 using the #firths2016 hashtag – this feedback provided helpful, constructive and encouraging insights regarding, for example, the catering, live music, ceilidh, exhibitions, film screening, and excursion. All of these were integral to the event and involved support from numerous people and groups (highlighted during the three days but too many to list here). The responses indicate the engagement with the theme felt by the diverse group of 100-plus people who took part.

And now this blog. In terms of publication alone, we are already navigating steadily towards publishing an edited volume focused on the international aspects of the theme, cultural and environmental perspectives on ‘adjacent coast’ communities (those living around firths, sea lochs, sounds, straits, inlets, gulfs and bays, for example) and are keen to encourage and support other speakers to submit journal articles based on their papers. The aim was not want to encroach on the wonderful range of themes covered in the Coastal History blog, run by Professor Isaac Land of Indiana State University (and hosted by the Port Towns and Urban Cultures project at the University of Portsmouth).

Several speakers proved willing to write posts, which came in over ensuing weeks and months. Still, we were very keen for the contributions to not be limited to them but to involve thoughts and pointers about all aspects of the three days of events (both indoors and outdoors since the weather was very kind) and the topics and debates they helped highlight. So, it has been enlightening to received posts from attendees (eg. Lesley Harrison) and exhibitors (Charlotte Slater) indicating how the conference inspired them.

In terms of broader content, the aim is to expand this now to students, for instance, those on our MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures programme, on the themes below:

- the concept of adjacent coasts in Scotland and beyond, about which I provided post 33 for Professor Land’s blog, and which was expanded on by so many ‘Firths and Fjords’ speakers;
- historical perspectives on firths, sea lochs, voes, fjords, inlets, sounds, straits, estuaries, bays, gulfs and their communities;
- the social, cultural and economic history of the Dornoch, Cromarty, Beauly, Kessock and Moray Firths;
- coastal ferries, transport and communications;
- how medieval, early modern and modern Coastal History could connect further with a more cross-disciplinary Coastal Studies and how we historians might learn from other subject areas in terms of our approach to the littoral.
Period2015 → …
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