• Associates

We are keen to enhance the effectiveness of the Centre by appointing a number of Associates.

Associates will: have a demonstrable interest in the Centre’s aims and activities; be recognized by their peers as authoritative figures within their sphere of expertise; contribute to the Centre’s activities; bolster the standing and public profile of the Centre.

The Director and Co-Directors of the Centre are responsible for the appointment of Associates. If you think you meet the criteria outlined here, we would be delighted to talk with you about becoming an Associate.

Current Associates

Senior Associate
Prof Chris Whatley, OBE. FRSE.
Professor of Scottish History, University of Dundee

I am currently employed part-time as Professor of Scottish History at the University of Dundee where until 2014 I was Vice Principal. I began my career as an historian in the sub-discipline of economic history, but have subsequently broadened my expertise into social, political and even cultural history. These interests are reflected in my main publications which include The Scottish Salt Industry, 1580-1850 (1987), The Industrial Revolution in Scotland (1997) and Scottish Society: Beyond Jacobitism, towards industrialisation (2000), more recently The Scots and the Union (2006), The Scots and the Union: Then and Now (2014), and Immortal Memory: Burns and the Scottish People (2016). Where land features in my work it is mainly as an urban issue: as for example the contest over common land.
Contact me at School of Humanities, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, or

Prof Kirsty Gunn
Professor of Creative Writing, University of Dundee

Kirsty Gunn, BA (Hons), M.Phil. is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Dundee.  She was educated at Victoria University and is the author of five novels – Rain, The Keepsake, Featherstone, The Boy and the Sea, and The Big Music, – extended essay and short stories about identity and Katherine Mansfield Thorndon, as well as a collection of short stories, This Place you Return to is Home, and 44 Things, a collection of essays, fragments and stories. She is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes including the Scottish Arts Council Bursary for Literature, the New York Times Notable Book award and, in 2007, Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year. Her latest novel was shortlisted for the James Tait Black and Impac Awards and was a Guardian Book of the Year and winner of the New Zealand Book of the Year.
Her latest collection of short stories, “Infidelities”, published in November 2014, has been awarded the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2015 and was also shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She is published by Faber and Faber and internationally, and her work has been made into films, theatre, dance and widely broadcast.
Contact: Professor Kirsty Gunn, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN or

Dr Alasdair Ross
Reader in Environmental and Medieval History, University of Stirling

Alasdair sadly died in August 2017. His profile here will be maintained to acknowledge his contributions to the Centre and wider historical community in Scotland and far beyond.
Alasdair was largely brought up in Kincardineshire and was a double graduate of the University of Aberdeen (History and Celtic). In 2003 he crossed the Mounth to work as a research assistant in Environmental History at the University of Stirling and became a permanent member of staff in 2007. Alasdair was a natural collaborator and leader in the foundation of the Centre, given his wide-ranging research interests in land, which crossed geographies and chronologies with an ease other historians could only envy. He worked on a broad range of land issues, including historic units of land assessment in northern Europe and the issues of resource utilisation and sustainability. This included medieval parish boundaries and the Centre currently hosts the website of the Mapping the Medieval Parishes of Scotland group. Alasdair also had interests in perambulations, medieval cartularies, deer parks and hunting forests, water meadows (both natural and artificial), the vernacular building tradition (in turf and wood), and ecological imperialism (the last involving the sometimes spectacularly amusing attempts to breed native Highland cattle with different animals from the Americas). Until his death, Alasdair was working with Professor Richard Hoffmann (York University, Canada) on a joint paper investigating medieval riverine fisheries in Scotland and the laws governing them. His wide chronological interests are further evidenced by the last volume he was working on, Survey of the Lordship of Urquhart, 1808 for the Scottish History Society.

Mr Malcolm Combe
Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Aberdeen

Malcolm is a senior lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen. He joined the School following a period as a solicitor in private practice, during which time he spent eight months on secondment to the investment arm of a FTSE 100 company. He is a qualified in Scots and English law, although he only retains a Scottish practising certificate.
He has a particular interest in property law, land reform and legal education. The latter is linked to his role as faculty director of the Aberdeen Law Project, a student initiative that aims to address access to justice issues in and around Aberdeen.
He has board experience from being a director of Donside Community Hydro Limited (a community benefit society responsible for a micro-renewable energy scheme on the River Don), a director of a musical company called La Banda Limited, and a trustee of the Stair Society (a Scottish legal history society). He is also a trustee of the Clinical Legal Education Organisation (a UK charity linked to student law clinics) and the Chair of the Scottish University Law Clinic Network. From 2013-14 he served as an adviser to the Scottish Government appointed Land Reform Review Group. He is a Case and Comment editor of the Juridical Review (the law journal of the Scottish universities) and is the General Editor of the annotated statute collection “Scottish Landlord and Tenant Legislation” published by Greens. He has written and spoken widely on Scots property law and provided ad hoc support to community land organisations.