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Dr made Professor of History by University of the Highlands and Islands for achievements in research

By Garry McCartney

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Professor David Worthington.
Professor David Worthington.

A HISTORIAN from Forres has been awarded a professorship for his research, teaching and leadership qualities.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has awarded Dr David Worthington the title of Professor of History, having led a research and teaching team, and shown commitment to ensuring the curriculum portfolio is current and research-led at its Centre of History since 2011.

Professor Worthington said: "I am proud to receive the award. I see it as a chance to highlight the Centre for History, as it grows its role in, for example, the field of public history in Scotland."

The centre in Dornoch has been using online teaching as part of a blended learning strategy for 13 years, attracting an increasing number of students to study with them.

Prof Worthington has taught on more than 25 history modules and aims to grow this flexible teaching approach, bringing education directly into local communities.

He said: "Public history involves university-based historians working closely with the broader world of people and organisations out there who engage with the past, and all those who present history and heritage to a wide audience.

"History is a vital and accessible subject, and we need to work together with, and alongside, all communities for whom it is important. In the current Covid-19 situation this is more crucial than ever as we look to history to inform the present and the future."

Prof Worthington's approach has led the centre to work more with the public.

His recent published works include exploring the cultural memory of Scottish emigrants in late medieval and early-modern Poland, coastal history, and the arrival of sugar in the Highlands and Islands.

He is also often invited to take part in talks and keynote lectures at conferences.

Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Professor Crichton Lang, said: "David is not only highly skilled in keeping the history curriculum in step with the present, he makes it accessible to the public.

"His participation in the National Museums Scotland event ‘A conversation with Donnie Munro’ last summer was exceptional. He skilfully took a 200 strong audience on a journey to explore the interaction and influence of history of the Highlands and Islands on the music of Donnie Munro and land use today.

"He stimulates and provokes new thinking amongst academic colleagues, students, and the public, alike. He is able to present on the societal benefits from history, to many people, in a way that they can relate to and enjoy.

"I am delighted the university has recognised his achievements with this academic title award."

Prof Worthington also chairs the advisory group involving the University of the Highlands and Islands and High Life Highland to support the Inverness Castle Project, set up to contribute to the transforming of Inverness Castle into a major visitor attraction by 2024.

Through research, he and Centre for History colleagues have helped inspire the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’ concept, which is now central to the project.

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