Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle FRSA FSA Scot

  • IV1 1SA

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research Expertise

Mark is an anthropologist by training.  He has carried out research into religious conversion to Islam, and Anglican Christianity, in Mexico and also has an interest in the kingdoms and chiefdoms of the African continent.   He is experienced in action research and has expertise in practitioner enquiry. His educational interests focus on Learning for Sustainability, social justice, and global citizenship. He is interested in the relationship between ethnography and observation within education.

Mark's most recent work includes a conference paper (2024) on the influence of Arctic Pedagogy on changes to the PGDE programmes at UHI and a chapter (2022) in the Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West, about 'Islam in Mexico and Central America'.  Before that, he was a researcher on the Scottish Attainment Challenge project for UHI, where he was investigating rural early career teachers' use of school-based evidence for improving the attainment of pupils from deciles 1 and 2 of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation in literacy, numeracy and health and well being.  In 2019, Mark presented a conference paper focused on the notion of equity in Scottish education and its relation to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (  In 2023, he presented a paper on having a passion for Anthropology in Education (

Mark is also interested in genealogical research and local history.  In 2023, he published an article in The Greenwood Tree, the journal of the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society.

Teaching Expertise

Mark qualified as a Teacher at the University of Edinburgh and taught in Primary Schools in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.  He has also taught Religious Studies, Geography, and Anthropology at Secondary level.

Mark is Programme Leader for the new BA (Hons) Moral and Philosophical Studies with Religious Education, which enables students to become a Secondary Teacher of RE (Religious Education), RME (Religious and Moral Education) and RMPS (Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies) in Scotland.  He also teaches on the PGDE programme as well as the Master of Education (MEd) in Critical Enquiry.  He has designed four degree modules for UHI: Values and Professional Practice in Education, Anthropology of Religion, Through the Looking Glass (introducing ethnography and anthropology), and Thinking and Writing for Study, Work and Life (using philosophical skills to develop academic writing).  He teaches on the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree and presently works on the BA (Hons) Philosophy degree in addition to Teacher Education.  Mark was also seconded for part of his time to the University of Dundee to teach on the Rural Learn To Teach programme.

Mark has assessment expertise, having been the Principal Examiner for the Cambridge Research Qualification at Cambridge Assessment International Examinations (University of Cambridge) and Principal Examiner for the Anthropology A Level Project paper (AQA).  He is a Chartered Educational Assessor.

Academic Qualifications

Mark was educated at the universities of Oxford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and the Open University, gaining two first class honours degrees (BA 2003 and MA 2004) and a Master's degree with distinction (MRes 2005), before moving on to postgraduate research (MPhil 2012) and further study (MEd 2010, BSc 2015 and MA Ed 2015). For his undergraduate performance at the University of Aberdeen, Mark was made a Lumsden & Sachs Fellow and received ESRC funding to carry out his fieldwork in Mexico.  He also holds the Certificate in History of Family and Genealogical Methods with First Class Honours from the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, in Education (Applied Linguistics), The Open University

Award Date: 31 Dec 2015

Bachelor of Science, The Open University

Award Date: 31 Jul 2015

Master of Philosophy, The Politics of Religious Conversion: Conversion to Islam and Anglican Christianity in Mexico, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 1 Jul 2012

Master of Education, The Open University

Award Date: 31 Dec 2010

Master of Research, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 25 Nov 2005

Master of Arts, A Methodology to Match the Method: Conversion to Islam in Mexico, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 6 Jul 2004

Bachelor of Arts, The Open University

Award Date: 31 Dec 2003

External positions

Principal Examiner, Cambridge Research Qualification, University of Cambridge

Jul 2017Nov 2020

Director, Centre for the Study of the Kingdoms and Chiefdoms of Africa

19 Oct 2016 → …

Associate Lecturer, The Open University

13 Sept 2004 → …


  • GN Anthropology
  • L Education (General)


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