Centre for Living Sustainability


The Centre for Living Sustainability aims to surface the voices of marginalized people in communities across the Highlands and Islands and Internationally. It takes an interdisciplinary and creative approach to research and entrepreneurship to understand complexity, change and uncertainty. Now and in the future, the sustainability of communities is important in navigating social, environmental and economic challenges and contributing to transformational change.

Through creative and innovative research, we seek to contribute new ideas for inclusive sustainable development that challenges inequalities embedded in hierarchies of knowledge and social norms in communities. This may include understanding processes of intersecting aspects of inequality, including gender and sexuality, age, race and ethnicity, religion, disability, but also include issues of access to education, employment and justice. It also requires understanding many layers of changing contexts, including historical and recent/ current conflict, transitions in politics and governance, environmental and climate change, cultural and social norms, mobility and migration, and personal and power relationships.

The CRSC considers different temporal scales of complexity, change and uncertainty that necessitates understanding perspectives on cultural and natural heritage as well as visions for future generations.  Research about intergenerational differences in everyday lives and aspirations is inclusive of children and youth, who are recognized as having the energy and creativity to motivate others. By building partnerships and creative spaces for dialogue, we link people in communities, civil society, enterprises and policy makers together as agents of change.

With a long tradition of entrepreneurship in local and educational contexts, the Creating Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CREATE) team focuses on community-enterprise-university partnerships, supporting entrepreneurial thinking across researchers and educators in the University partnership and across the Highlands and Islands, and the development and delivery of bespoke commercial training, courses, and workshops for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Our themes:

  • Sustainability – our interdisciplinary research with regional and international partners, translates Sustainable Development Goals into policy and practice. This includes how people interact with nature and change their cultural, social and political contexts.
  • Access and inclusion – understanding intersecting inequalities in people’s everyday lives helps us to identify strategies towards improved wellbeing and social justice for some of the most marginalised in communities.
  • Intergenerational perspectives – intergenerational community-driven research and a focus on child and youth rights provides a re-energised and rejuvenated vision for future generations.

  • Creativity and Culture – research in creative practice and literature informs our tertiary education, explores and depicts contemporary priorities in communities and tells stories of our cultural heritage.
  • Enterprising innovation – connects research, education and (local) businesses and facilitates innovations in knowledge exchange and entrepreneurial thinking.
  • Navigating change and complexity – a change-scape approach includes treating people in communities as agents of change in increasingly uncertain Scottish and global contexts.

Research will be living and responsive to landscapes and waterscapes of change. We work to build collaboration and partnerships across the Scottish Highlands and Islands and in global contexts, both looking to the global North and South.

We carry out research that provides evidence that can change thinking but also influence policy and practice. It draws on affiliation across academic disciplines seeking to draw on wide ranging interdisciplinary research expertise and ensuring more research informed teaching.

The Centre for Remote and Sustainable Communities builds the capacity of Early Career Researchers through supporting links between postdoctoral students across social sciences, arts and humanities and in promoting exciting pathways of professional and academic progression. Also, through support of researchers from global South in postgraduate training, partnership in co-constructing research proposals and implementation and co-authorship on publication.

The Centre for Remote and Sustainable Communities contributes to the UHI Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy.

It builds on the legacy our previous Centre of Remote and Rural Studies, led by Professor Philomena de Lima.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Vicky Johnson

Professor of Childhood, Youth and Sustainability, Director, Centre for Living Sustainability

A Scottish landscape





Children learning with pens and paper





People learning





The Kessock Bridge, Inverness




An African landscape