Having lost interest in her undergraduate degree part-way through her studies, Lydia swore that if she ever undertook a postgraduate degree it would only be in a subject that genuinely interested and enthused her. This resulted in Lydia completing a MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature degree from 2008 to 2010, studying part-time via distance learning in addition to continuing to work full-time.

Lydia enrolled for a research degree with the Centre for Nordic Studies at the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) in October 2012, aiming to progress the research undertaken for her MLitt Dissertation (entitled “The Unique and the Usual: What can we learn about Orkney itself and about folklore in general from the body of folklore that exists in Orkney today?”).

Orcadian Folklore and Contemporary Expressions of Identity

With the rise of social media networks in recent years, the internet has become the largest research site available, offering the researcher a lens through which to examine contemporary expressions of identity relating to the self, as well as to perceived communities and groups. Lydia’s research analyses the way in which Orcadian folklore is referenced in blogging and across various social media networks, and considers its relationship to identities associated with Orkney today.

Lydia is interested in online and offline ethnographic research approaches, qualitative methods used to analyse online data, and the development of folklore as a field of study in the twenty-first century, with a specific interest in digital folklore. Her supervisors are Dr Andrew Jennings, Professor Donna Heddle and Dr Thomas McKean.

Conference Presentations

2016, April: St Magnus Conference
Orkney’s Online Landscape

2015, February: Nordic Research Network Conference
Another Dimension: The Increasing Importance of Social Media to Orcadian Communities

2014, August: Northern Studies Virtual Conference
Webscapes: Communities Online

2014, July: Steppin’ Steens o Knowledge: Folklore, Ethnology, and Ethnomusicology Conference (Aberdeen)
The Old and the New-ish: Combining Traditional Ethnographic Methods with Netnographic Fieldwork

2013, November: UHI Postgraduate Research Conference
To what extent is there a unique Orcadian identity and what is folklore’s role in its creation and maintenance? (Innovative Presentation)

Seminar Discussion

2015, October: Myths and Origins (Creation of Identities) Seminar
Orkney Online: Folklore and Identity in the 21st Century

Further Information

Centre for Nordic Studies: