Prof Donna Heddle

Institute for Northern Studies
University of the Highlands and Islands
Scott's House
Grainshore Road
KW15 1FL
tel: +44 (0)1856 569247

Available to talk to the media about

  • Orkney and Shetland issues
  • Scottish literature and language
  • Cultural history and policy
  • Cultural tourism
  • Technology and education
  • Vikings
  • Sagas

In these languages

English, French


Donna is Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies.

She has won awards for course development and design. Her research interests are Scottish and Northern Isles cultural history, Renaissance language and literature, and cultural tourism. She has led and is currently leading several national and international research and training projects involving cultural tourism, including a project in Vanuatu.

Donna led the very successful Research Excellence Framework 2014 submission from the university in Area Studies, which was placed first in Scotland for research impact (particularly in tourism) and fifth equal with the University of Oxford for research environment for the whole UK.

She was awarded a Personal Chair by the university in June 2013 and became Chair of the University of the Highlands and Islands tourism group in August 2017.

Research groups and interests

Prof Heddle’s main research interests are the creation of new paradigms in Scottish and Northern isles studies, small island studies, Scottish language and literature in a European context, and Scottish cultural history. She is the author of a number of publications in these areas and is currently leading several national and international research and cultural tourism projects involving the North Atlantic rim. She is at present working on Scots-Nordic balladic synergies; the underpinning philosophy of Northern Studies; the Huguenot influence of Du Bartas on the poetry of the Scots Court under James VI; and geophysical and metaphysical correlations in historical depictions of Orkney. She is also working on a history of Highlands and Islands literature. She is particularly passionate about locative research – in the communities, by the communities, for the communities.

Selected publications

  • Northern Heritage, UHI Press, Inverness, 2006  ISBN 1-905675-02-X
  • 6th International DIVERSE conference proceedings, Multimedia blended network learning: A Culture Studies case study, Glasgow Caledonian University 2006 ISBN 1-905866-05-4
  • “Clouston - the Writer of Fiction”, chapter in J. Storer Clouston, The Spy in Black, ed. M. MacDonald, AOP, 2007 ISBN  0955366712
  • "The Language of the Gutters?”, Travels and Travails of the Herring Girls, UHI Press, Inverness, 2007 ISBN  1-905675-03-8
  • “John Stewart of Baldynneis” Roland Furious; A Scots Poem in its European Context, BRILL Intellectual History Series, 2007. ISBN 9004163182
  • “The sociocultural effects of aviation in the Northern Isles”, chapter, Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, vol. 8, Birlinn Books, 2009 ISBN 1904607888
  • “The Norse element in the Orkney dialect” in Millar, Robert McColl (ed.) 2010. Northern Lights, Northern Words. Selected Papers from the FRLSU Conference, Kirkwall 2009, ISBN 978-0-9566549-1-5
  • 6 articles on Lyndsay, Ferrier, Kennedy, Montgomerie etc for the online  Literary Encyclopedia

Reviews include

Scottish Studies Review Autumn 2005, Review of Benjamin Cook and Peter Todd (eds), Subjects and Sequences: Margaret Tait Reader (London: Lux, 2004).

Scottish Historical Review, Volume 89 (1): 98, Edinburgh University Press, Apr 2010

St. Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-cult in Context. By Haki Antonsson. Pp. viii, 272. ISBN: 9789004155800. Leiden: Brill Academic Press, 2007.

The Early English Settlement of Orkney and Shetland.By Graeme Davis. Pp. xi, 132. ISBN: 9781904607755. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007.

Blaeu's Orkneys and Schetland: The Orkneys and Schetland in Blaeu's Atlas of 1654. Edited by James M. Irvine. Pp. 64. ISBN: 9780954457129. Ashtead: James M. Irvine, 2006.