• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

1980 …2019

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


2012-   Professor of Cultural Ecology and Sustainability, Heriot-Watt University

2012-    Emeritus Professor of Ethnology, Ulster University

2012-14 Professor of Irish & European Ethnology, University of Ulster (0.2 fte)

2011-18 Visiting Professor in European Ethnology, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas

2005-12 Professor of Ethnology & Folklife, University of Ulster

2000-08 Professor of European Studies, University of the West of England, Bristol (Visiting 2005-08)

1992-99 Lecturer in Social Science (Irish Studies), University of Liverpool

1989-99 Lecturer (pt) in European Studies, University College Cork

1989-92 Visiting Research Fellow, Applied Population Research Unit, University of Glasgow

1988-92 Research Fellow in Irish Studies, University of Liverpool

1987-88 Lecturer (pt), Department of Political Science & Sociology, University College Galway

1986-88 Lecturer (pt), Department of Economics, University College Galway

1984-85 Lecturer (pt), School of Accounting & Applied Economics, Leeds Polytechnic

1976-80 first career in industrial management (Shell)

Research interests

My overarching research interest is in sustainable local and regional development, especially the appraisal, planning and management of heritage and other cultural resources, approached from an interdisciplinary perspective rooted in anthropology, cultural ecology and political economy.

  • Key Theme 1 – Cultural Dimensions of Economy and Environment

      Applied – endogenous development of communities, localities and regions, esp. utilisation of heritage/culture as resources; relationship between culture and place; socio-cultural implications of globalisation; intangible and environmental elements of heritage

      Theoretical – heterodox conceptualisations of economy from a perspective combining cultural anthropology, cultural ecology and ethics; religious ideas about economy; connections between culture and economy at all levels; history of ideas in relation to culture and political economy

  • Key Theme 2 – Cultural Encounters: Contact, Conflict and Communication

      Applied identity and historicity in border regions and other ethnic frontiers; cultural connections in inland sea regions (esp. Irish Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea); cultural encounters in the context of historical and contemporary migrations primarily within Europe (esp. Germany, British Isles and Baltic region); human-nature encounters; countercultural social movements, past and present

      Theoretical – ‘belonging’ and ‘frontier’ as utopian categories and their societal actualisation in different cultural contexts; art and anthropology; intercultural philosophical anthropology


Field Work Locations

  • Main field research

      Republic of Ireland (various locations, 1982-95, 1997, 2001, 2003), Northern Ireland (various locations, 1989-99, 2002-12), England (various locations, 1986-05), Scotland (various locations, 1989-92, 1995-97, 2003- ), Germany (various locations, 1990-91, 1995, 1997, 2001- ), and Lithuania (various locations, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011- )

  • Other field research

      Spain/France (Basque country 1989, 1990), Finland (Karelia 1989, 1990), Denmark (Sønder-jylland 1990, 1997), Estonia (1994), Poland (Kashubia, Masuria & Northeastern border region 1996, Galicia 2001, Silesia 2012), Romania (Danube delta 1997), Italy (South Tyrol 1998, 2002), Slovenia (1999), and Sweden (2006, 2009)


Current Projects

  • Cultural forms and expressions of identity in Europe (initiated 2015; part of CoHERE, a €2.5m Horizon2020 project, 2016-19)
  • A Waterscape perspective on sustainable communities in vulnerable environments (initiated 2013; two PhD studentships 2016-19)
  • The ‘German Youth of the East’ and its transformation into an umbrella organisation for migrant self-organisations (initiated 2010; fieldwork funding from DAAD in 2011/12)
  • Cultural heritages in borderlands: Lithuania Minor and comparative locations in Europe (initiated 2009; now associated with Visiting Professorship at Kaunas)
  • Art and cultural ecology – issues for the 21st century (initiated 2002, various outputs)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas



  • GN Anthropology
  • economic anthropology
  • cultural encounters
  • philosophical anthropology
  • heritage
  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • British Isles
  • GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
  • endogenous development
  • place, belonging and displacement
  • bioregionalism
  • sustainability


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