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17 Aug 2023

New research partnership with University of Stirling

A group of workshop participants looking at the Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn.
The research collaboration with the University of Stirling began with a workshop at Bannockburn.
Our new partnership with the University of Stirling will enhance research, teaching and learning in key heritage themes.

This new collaboration aims to bring together the heritage sector and higher education, building national and international excellence and resilience in the fields of heritage, environment and society. Our partnership will focus on four key research themes:

  • heritage values and ownership
  • complex or contested histories
  • holistic approaches to nature and culture
  • sustainability

Initial activities included a two-day project workshop at Bannockburn and Alloa Tower during the summer of 2023, as well as the launch of a joint project examining the ‘Social Values of National Trust for Scotland Heritage Places’ in August. Four Trust staff members have also been appointed to honorary positions at the University of Stirling: Michael Terwey (Hon. Professor), Paula Whitelaw (Hon. Associate Professor), Bryan Dickson (Hon. Associate Professor) and Daniel Rhodes (Hon. Senior Researcher).

Michael Terwey, Director of Public Engagement & Research at the National Trust for Scotland, said: ‘We’re excited to set out on this new partnership with the University of Stirling.’

Quote
“The pandemic has made people realise, more than ever, the social and economic value of Scotland’s heritage, and we look forward to working with the university to extend our understanding of that.”
Michael Terwey
Director of Public Engagement & Research
A photo of the upper half of a man seated at a table. He has short brown hair and a short beard. He wears a suit jacket and open-necked shirt.

Michael added: ‘The wide-ranging programme of research and informal and formal learning we plan together will support our charity’s conservation, engagement and sustainability objectives in our ten-year Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone strategy, including our objectives to be a learning organisation, and to enable a greater number and diversity of people and communities to access our properties to improve their health and wellbeing.’

The University of Stirling is home to the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy and is one of Scotland’s leading higher education institutions for research on heritage and environment. It delivers a range of associated courses, including a BA (Hons) History and Heritage, a BA (Hons) Heritage and Tourism (jointly with Forth Valley College) and an MSc Heritage, as well as a thriving PhD programme. The university also co-leads the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Heritage Hub.

Siân Jones, Professor of Heritage and Director of the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy at the University of Stirling, said: ‘This exciting partnership will offer our academics and students access to unparalleled research material and a laboratory for developing mission-focused research with impact, including collaborative doctoral projects.

‘It also has the potential to contribute to unique learning opportunities, ranging from the use of National Trust for Scotland case studies in teaching and guest lectures by experts from the Trust, through to student placements, internships and staff networking opportunities.’

Kirstie Blair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, said: ‘We hope this new joint venture will support innovative research benefitting heritage, environment and society, and provide both formal and informal opportunities to enhance learning, skills development and knowledge exchange.

‘Our vision is to offer a model partnership for collaboration between the heritage sector and higher education, building national and international excellence and resilience in the sphere of heritage, environment and society.’

We look forward to sharing the results of our research and other partnership activities in the future.

Our Strategy

Our new strategy – Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone – provides a framework for the future of the National Trust for Scotland as we look towards our centenary in 2031.

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