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Virtual 1745 Culloden Lecture will discuss the interaction between tourism, research and conservation at Inverness-shire battlefield


By Louise Glen

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Andrew McKenzie will give the annual Culloden Lecture.
Andrew McKenzie will give the annual Culloden Lecture.

The annual Culloden Lecture will discuss tourism and conservation at the battlefield site during a virtual event to be held this Thursday.

While all the tickets to this free online event have been allocated, Michael Nevin the chairman of The 1745 Association, which runs the event in conjunction with the National Trust for Scotland, said the event will be free to view the following day, April 16.

The lecture will be delivered by former Culloden visitor centre manager, Andrew Grant McKenzie at 5.45pm on Thursday April 15 on the eve of the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden.

The title of the lecture is The Interaction between Tourism, Research and Conservation at Culloden Battlefield, 1746-2021.

Mr Nevin said: "It is our intention to upload the lecture on the 1745 Association YouTube Channel, hopefully the following day, April 16, the anniversary of the battle itself – technology and our own technical skills permitting!"

He continued: "The speaker, Andrew Grant McKenzie, graduated with a Master of Arts with Honours in Scottish Historical Studies from the University of Dundee in 2008.

"He then became the senior admissions and membership assistant at Culloden Battlefield from 2008 to 2010, the admissions and membership manager at Culloden from 2011 to 2014 and the manager of the site from 2014 to 2018, during which time he commissioned a LiDAR scan of the field.

"Since then, Andrew has been involved in efforts to make sure that knowledge of conservation issues at Culloden have been available to the public and decision-makers alike.

Mr McKenzie, who now owns his own business Highland Historian: Heritage Consultancy and Bespoke Tour Guiding, is a trustee of the Clan Mackenzie Charitable Trust and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Mr McKenzie said: “We are currently at an exciting moment in the historiographical development of Culloden Battlefield.

"Yet the conflict between commercialism and development on the one hand, and research and conservation on the other, have taken over many of our most knowledgeable researchers’ time and energies for many years.

"I have come to the conclusion that the interaction of the way in which tourism is managed at the site and the ‘start-stop’ surges of research that have occurred at numerous points in the 275 years since the battle must be understood in order to ensure that current research does not fade into a “it’s been published, let’s move on” scenario.

"Current research must lead to further understanding of what happened at the battle."

He continued: "Understanding the developments in tourism and public interest at Culloden from the 1746-1790s, the 1840s-1930s and the developments of the 1950s, 1960s and 1990s are key to understanding how tourism and research interacted between 2006 and 2018.

"The developments from 2018 – 2021 have the potential to begin a new and potentially improved connection between research, conservation and the biggest increase ever experienced in tourism numbers visiting the battle site, until Covid–19.”

NTS has a whole series of events taking place on Saturday as it always commemorates the anniversary of the battle on the nearest Saturday to the 16th.

Working with historians, archaeologists and local partners, the Gaelic Society of Inverness and XpoNorth, they have created a "thought-provoking" programme to share the latest research and promote the protection of the battlefield.

The events are free and bookable online.

There are still tickets available. For more information see here

As a mark of respect the programme has been altered to ensure the talks and presentations that follow the commemoration are completed ahead of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, taking place in the afternoon.

This means an earlier than planned start to the programme, from 9am.

READ: Culloden Battlefield is a war grave and protection of it should be enshrined in law, says campaign group


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