Meet the Team

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Dr Sam Harrison
Manager and Project Director
Dr Sam Harrison (Manager) is a specialist in place-based education. He has been leading outdoor learning in Scotland for ten years, and takes a lot of joy from going out into land with school groups. Sam has a wide variety of training and qualifications ranging from outdoor leadership qualifications, to an MSc in Human Ecology and a PhD in Place-Based Education. Sam helps young people and teachers explore their relationship to the places where they live. For him, these experiences link to the sustainability of the land and community, a sense of pride and responsibility, and increased mental and physical well-being. Taken as a whole this can be called a ‘sense of place.’ Sam uses various strategies to bring ‘place’ into young people’s lives: working with schools to develop their capacity to learn outdoors, involving the community and the local environment, running training courses for teachers, and contributing to research and policy development in ‘Learning for Sustainability’.
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Karen Marshall
Nursery Manager and Project Director
Karen Marshall is a BSc graduate of Glasgow University in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. She found earlier degree courses in Environmental Chemistry and Archaeology very inspiring. Karen studied teaching through Strathclyde University and has taught secondary school Science and Chemistry in the Highlands since 2007. A passion for change to the purpose and pedagogy of education has led to further studies in the field of Environmental Education and Karen is now currently studying for a MSc in Learning for Sustainability. This theme links global citizenship, environmental education, outdoor learning, health and well-being and educational for sustainable development.

 Project Directors

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Jean Langhorne
Project Director
Jean Langhorne is a Zoology graduate who ended up working in theatre-in-education, then eventually in environmental education. She now works independently with a variety of artists and educators to explore creative and collaborative approaches in developing outdoor learning projects; in particular, projects which can bring new perspectives to the relationship we have with the natural world and which provide catalysts for change at a personal level. Jean has a particular interest in psychological approaches to engaging people with the issues around climate change. She is a professional facilitator and a Designated Trainer for the Carbon Conversations Course. This is a programme working with values-based change methods to help participants understand their personal connection to environmental problems. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Environment, Culture and Communication with Glasgow University’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
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Chris Mackie
Project Director
Chris Mackie is an educator and researcher with interests in outdoor, adventurous and place-based learning, learning for sustainability and adventure tourism. Chris currently works at West Highland College UHI’s School of Adventure Studies, where he teaches on their Adventure Pathways degree programmes, but has experience in delivering outdoor learning with young people with complex emotional and social needs, as well as a background in fine art.

Chris is a graduate of Moray House School of Education’s MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education, where he will soon be returning to undertake PhD research supported by SNH’s Magnus Magnusson Studentship. When not in front of a computer reading or writing about the outdoors, Chris can usually be found running or on his bike, normally accompanied by his two-year old son.

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Mairi McFayden
Project Director
Dr Mairi McFadyen is an ethnologist and specialist in traditional arts. She loves a song and a good ceilidh! She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies and followed this with a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH). She has taught courses in culture and heritage in both higher education and non-formal settings, has supported various creative projects and has worked for arts organisations including TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland). Along with fellow ethnologists she has recently joined Local Voices. Ethnology asks questions about the relationship between people and place, how we make meaning out of our lives and how we express this creatively. Our cultural memory and local traditions are important not as relics of an imagined national past, but as a creative, vital and meaningful resource for the future. In an increasingly rootless, alienating and commercialised world, Mairi sees The Shieling Project as a microcosm where roots and memories make dreaming the future possible.

Advisory Group

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Professor Hugh Cheape
Advisory Group
Professor Hugh Cheape has devised and teaches a postgraduate programme, MSc Cultar Dùthchasach agus Eachdraidh na Gàidhealtachd (‘Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History’), at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. He holds a Research Chair in the University of the Highlands and Islands. The MSc has grown out of his curatorial and ethnological work during a career in the National Museums Scotland (1974-2007) where latterly he was a Principal Curator in the Department of Scotland and Europe. He has researched and published in the subject fields of ethnology and musicology, including studies in Scottish agricultural history, vernacular architecture, piping, tartans and dye analysis, pottery, charms and amulets and talismanic belief.
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Robert Livingston
Advisory Group
Robert Livingston was born and educated in Glasgow, and has been resident in the Highlands since 1994. Robert has over 40 years’ experience of delivering and developing the arts, and has a particular interest in the roles of the arts and culture in tackling wider social issues. For 20 years he was Director of HI-Arts, the cultural development agency for the Highlands and Islands. He now divides his time between his home in Kirkhill, and Edinburgh, working part-time as Director of Regional Screen Scotland (which, among other remits, operates the Screen Machine mobile cinema), and running his own cultural consultancy, Kirkhill Associates.
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Pam Rodway
Advisory Group
Pam Rodway has worked in organic farming and earth-based teaching since she left the University of Edinburgh in the early 1970s. On her journey she has met many very inspiring people, including Lady Eve Balfour, Wendell Berry, Carlo Petrini and Satish Kumar, working in education, voluntary social work, food campaigning and agriculture. Pam believes the most exciting and creative experiences happen when these aspects of our lives are linked. Organic farming, small-scale dairying and good food have always been at the heart of Pam’s life nurturing her family and the wider circles in which she has lived for many decades. Pam has worked for Soil Association Scotland since 2003, and currently manages Crofting Connections, which works to bridge the gaps between children and young people and their crofting communities and heritage. This work includes schools growing, harvesting, cooking and eating traditional and contemporary vegetables, fruit and cereals from the croft garden, as well as celebrating crofting culture, and looking forward to a vibrant future for crofting.
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Brian Wilkinson
Advisory Group
Brian Wilkinson is an archaeologist with a special interest in community engagement, heritage learning and interpretation. He is currently employed as Scottish Activity Officer on the Britain from Above project at the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, and previously worked on the Scotland’s Rural Past community archaeology project at RCAHMS. This saw him investigating historic rural settlements with schools and volunteer groups across the length and breadth of Scotland, and gave him a wealth of experience in engaging audiences with historic rural life through survey, recording and interpreting the archaeological remains of farming communities. Brian runs a freelance consultancy specialising in historic environment education, is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and a director of Archaeology Scotland.
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Photos by the Shieling Project, Mhairi Baird, George Logan and David Powell