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An engagement with isles history

SEVEN international scholars from a variety of disciplines will visit Shetland for a seminar series organised by The Centre for Nordic Studies UHI.

Hosted in partnership with the Shetland Museum and Archives, all lectures are free of charge and will run from this month to November.

All lectures will be held at 7.30 pm at the Shetland Museum and Archives, except on the 25 June, when the lecture will be held at Scalloway’s NAFC Marine Centre.

The first lecture ‘Place names: Messengers from the past … and from across the North Sea’, by Dr Berit Sandnes of the University of Lund (Sweden), will take place next Thursday 20 May.

Dr Sandnes will be talking about the adaption of Old Norse place names in the Scots language and what these names from the past tell us about the history of places and people in Orkney and Shetland.

On 4 June Michael P. Barnes, professor emeritus of Scandinavian Studies at the University College London, will talk about ‘Runes and Runic inscriptions: Shetland, and the Scandinavian Background’, drawing on his great expertise in the field of runology.

The next lecture on 25 June 25 will deal with the ‘Two Naturalists: Linnaeus and William McGillivray’.

Dr Peter Graves of Edinburgh University will discuss why most people have never heard of William MacGillivray, a leading Scottish naturalist, whilst his Swedish counterpart Carl von Linné (Linnaeus) is known as the father of modern taxonomy and ecology.

On 20 August Dr Barbara Crawford, honorary reader in medieval history at University of St. Andrews, will give a lecture on ‘The Shetland Earldom’, based on her many years of research on Scandinavian settlements in Scotland.

On 24 September Shetland archivist Brian Smith will be asking a familiar question: ‘When did Shetland and Orkney leave the Nordic kingdom?’

Dr Frode Iversen, head of the Department of Archaeology at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, will visit Shetland on 29 October and give a lecture on ‘The Growth of Royal Power in Scandinavia 800-1200 AD’.

The final lecture of the year will be given by Dr Andrew Newby of the University of Aberdeen, on 26 November, when he will be talking about ‘Rebuilding the Archdiocese of Nidaros: The Catholic “North Pole Mission” in Orkney and Shetland, 1860-1869’.

Director of the Centre for Nordic Studies, Donna Heddle, said she was delighted to be able to offer a prestigious seminar series to everybody in Shetland.

“This type of activity is exactly what the Centre for Nordic Studies is all about – opening up new opportunities for people to come to Shetland and, most importantly, for people in Shetland to be able to engage with their history,” she said.

A similar programme of lectures will also be held in Orkney

More information is available at: