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About Dr Catriona Mackie

My undergraduate degree is in architecture, where I developed a lasting interest in the relationship between people and their built environment. After working as an architectural assistant in Glasgow for a year, I moved to the Isle of Skye to study Scottish Gaelic language and culture. I spent two years at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (University of the Highlands and Islands), gaining an HND in Gaelic and Related Studies. 

From there, I moved to the University of Edinburgh, joining the department of Celtic Studies where I gained my Masters degree and PhD. My doctoral research focused on the development of traditional housing on the Isle of Lewis from the late-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Between 2005 and 2008, I worked as a researcher on the Faclair na Gàidhlig project which aims to construct an historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic.

I moved to the Isle of Man in 2008 to take up position as Lecturer at the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Manx Studies, where I was responsible for developing a Masters' degree in Manx Studies. In 2014 I took up a new role as Lecturer in History at University College Isle of Man, where I developed the BA (Hons) History & Heritage which is validated by the University of Chester.

I have been a Trustee of Manx National Heritage, the Isle of Man’s statutory heritage agency, since 2012. I also sit on the Board of Culture Vannin, an organisation established to support and promote Manx culture and language.  I became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2015. 


I lead the following modules:

  • Understanding Heritage (Level 4)
  • Introduction to the Isle of Man (Level 4)
  • The Role of Heritage (Level 5)
  • Heritage in Practice (Level 6) 
  • Reconstructing Identity: The Celtic Revival in Britain, Ireland, and the Isle of Man (Level 6) 
  • History & Heritage Dissertation (Level 6) 

I contribute to the following modules: 

  • Constructing History (Level 4)


My primary period of study covers the 19th and 20th centuries, with a geographical focus on the Celtic fringe, particularly Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. My research in this area bridges the disciplines of historical archaeology and ethnology, and also relates to wider issues in the area of identity and heritage studies.

I am especially interested in rural vernacular architecture, and have written extensively on the development of traditional housing on the Isle of Lewis. 

I retain an active research interest in the areas of Scottish Gaelic language and literature, and the social and cultural history of the Scottish Highlands. I have a long-standing interest in 19th century Scottish Gaelic orthography and in minority language revitalisation, and am currently working on a project which looks at the revitalisation of Manx Gaelic from the 1980s.

Published Work


(forthcoming) A Social History of Houses: Continuity and Change in a Hebridean Township, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Book Chapters

(Forthcoming) ‘The Isle of Man’ in M. Vellinga (ed.) Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, 2nd edition, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

(Forthcoming) ‘The Scottish Highlands’ in M. Vellinga (ed.) Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, 2nd edition, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

(2013) with L. Pike, ‘Gaelic language and lexicography’, in M. Mulhearn and A. Fenton (eds) Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Vol. 1, Edinburgh: John Donald, 485-504.

(2013) ‘Open-air museums, authenticity and the shaping of cultural identity: An example from the Isle of Man’, in C. Dalglish (ed.) Archaeology, the Public, and the Recent Past, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 13-34. Reprinted in Proceedings of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society 12:4 (2014), 627-49.

Journal Articles

(2018) ‘The Island in Context’, Context 153, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, 28-30.

(2018) ‘Island of Architecture’, Context 153, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, 31-32.

(2014) ‘Social reform and segregation: Tenant housing in the Isle of Lewis’, Vernacular Architecture 45:1, 54-66.

(2014) ‘Crossing the threshold: Negotiating space in the vernacular houses of the Isle of Lewis’, The Archaeological Journal, 171, 315-42.

(2013) ‘The bed-alcove tradition in Ireland and Scotland: Reappraising the evidence’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C, 113, 309-40.

(2012) ‘Observations on the vernacular house in the Isle of Man’, Proceedings of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society 12:3, 417-34.

(2006) ‘The development of traditional housing in the Isle of Lewis: Social and cultural influences on vernacular architecture’, Béaloideas (Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society) 74, 65-102.

Conference Proceedings

(2010) with L. Pike, ‘Faclair na Gàidhlig: The advent of an historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic’, in K.E. Nilsen (ed.) Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 5/Fifth Scottish Gaelic Research Conference, Sydney, NS: Cape Breton University Press, 100-07.

(2010) ‘Leantanas agus leasachadh ann an Leòdhas: Sgeulachd an taigh-tughaidh tron an 19mh agus tron 20mh linn’ (‘Continuity and development in Lewis: The story of the thatched house in the 19th and 20th centuries’), in G. Munro and R.A.V. Cox (eds)Cànan & Cultur/Language & Culture, Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 4, Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 67-85.

(2008) ‘A social history of houses: The Hebridean example’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, Vol. 22, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 141-55.


(2013) with A. Connor, ‘Report on the role of local food in Manx culture’, for the Isle of Man Government (Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture).


(2015) Review of The Making of the Modern Scottish Highlands, 1939-65 by John A. Burnett (Dublin: Four Courts, 2012), Northern Scotland 6, 129-32.

(2015) Review of Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914: The Later Highland Land Wars by Iain J.M. Robertson (Surrey: Ashgate, 2013), History Scotland 15:2, 56.

(2012) Review of The Sutherland Estate, 1850-1921: Aristocratic Decline, Estate Management and Land Reform by Annie Tindley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), History Scotland 12:2, 57-8.

(2007) Review of Saoghal Bana-mharaiche (‘Life of a Fisherwoman’) by Seòsamh Watson (Perthshire: Clann Tuirc, 2007), Béaloideas (Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society) 75, 309-13.



BSc Architecture (Strathclyde), MSc Celtic Studies (Edinburgh), PhD Celtic and Scottish Studies (Edinburgh), FSA, FHEA.