I have a wide range of Scottish historical interests having taken my MA in Scottish History at the University of St Andrews (1995) followed by a PhD (1999) there on one of the major historiographical gaps in medieval Scottish history, the reign of David II (1329-71), son of Robert the Bruce. This work was heavily influenced by the detailed political studies-in-the round of Dr Norman Macdougall and other St Andrews historians. However, in the course of this research my interests have branched out and I have become particularly fascinated by the topic of medieval lay piety in Scotland, especially the patterns of worship of late medieval Scottish kings and their subjects. This has drawn me in turn to themes such as saints' cults and images, liturgy, pilgrimage, monastic identity and cartulary records, and commemoration. I have tried to explore many of these topics for Scottish history by making direct comparisons with contemporary England, Ireland and continental Europe (helping me ‘fill-in-the-gaps' by analogy in the often patchy Scottish evidence): this is an approach I hope to encourage in my postgraduate students. But I have also returned to a number of my earlier historical loves: national identity and the (de-)construction of iconic reputations, late 18th/early19th-century civic society, and above all the Great War, the latter first inspired by a visit to the battlefields while in High School and a 14th birthday gift of the Illustrated Press History of the Great War (13 volumes, £20 from Oxfam, with school certificates from someone named Haig from the 1920s left inside!).
I am a member of a number of academy bodies, including the Scottish Medievalists and the Scottish History Society, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.