New course to explore Highlands and Islands culture

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

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 Highland and Island culture.

Thought the be the first of its kind, the postgraduate qualification developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands, will cover a rage of subjects related to the region, including its customs, history, literature, music and geography.

Available for full and part-time study, the course can also be accessed from anywhere in the world as tutors will use resources such as video-conferencing technology to teach students wherever they are based.

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 of 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.”

And Robert Livingston, Director of Hi~Arts, commented: “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 Highlands 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