Home » Annual Seminar 2019 – Speakers

Annual Seminar 2019 – Speakers

Find out more about our speakers for this year's seminar.

David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Environment ScotlandDr David Mitchell

David Mitchell is Director of Conservation at Historic Environment Scotland, Scotland’s national heritage body with responsibility for over 300 of Scotland’s most treasured places and collections, technical research, skills and materials. He has a long held interest in the history of Scottish ironwork and its conservation and has been involved in a number of conservation projects including Perth Waterworks and the Kibble Palace.  He is responsible for Scotland’s Conservation Centre, the Engine Shed, opened in 2017. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in earth sciences and a PhD in architecture. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling, a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and a trustee of various cultural institutions including the Smith Art Gallery and the National Wallace Monument.

David TaylorDavid Taylor

David Taylor was Principal Teacher of History in Kingussie High School for 30 years.  Since retirement he has undertaken a PhD with the UHI, leading to the publication of The Wild Black Region: Badenoch 1750-1800, and various articles on droving and emigration.  At present he is working on a follow-up volume covering the Badenoch story through to the mid 19th century.

Bob PowellBob Powell

Working horse and farming historian and one time professional archaeologist, Bob Powell is the retired Curator of the Highland Folk Museum and past-Curator of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, near Chichester, West Sussex.  With an architectural family background, Bob spent nearly thirty years of his career that included the relocation of vernacular structures.



Rhona Ramsay

Rhona is a PhD student at the University of Stirling, researching the material culture of Gypsy/Travellers in Scottish museums. Rhona’s background is in museums, where she focussed on learning and community engagement.  It was while Rhona was working here at the Highland Folk Museum (2004-2008), that she became aware of this area of collecting. During her time here Rhona was involved in the development and delivery of a series of projects which brought young Travellers together with museum collections related to their cultural heritage.  These activities sparked an interest, which has led to Rhona’s research focussing on what objects linked to Gypsy/Travellers is present in museums, how it is used and valued and also assessing its future potential. As part of this research, and through generous support of HES and MGS, Rhona  worked with the museum and with film-maker Shona Main to record Highland Traveller Essie Stewart as she built her last bough tent. Shona and Essie’s film will be shown as part of Rhona’s presentation.

Jessica SnowJessica Hunnisett

Jessica is a conservation accredited chartered building surveyor and Senior Technical Officer within Historic Environment Scotland’s Technical Research Unit. She writes and edits technical guidance, administers the technical enquiry service, and develops and manages research projects focused on improving energy efficiency in traditional buildings, adapting traditional buildings for climate change and developing traditional repair strategies for the conservation of older buildings.  She has a particular interest in historic mortars and vernacular buildings.

Jessica studied Building Surveying at the College of Estate Management, and has an MSc. in Building Conservation from Heriot-Watt University. In 2008 Jessica was awarded a SPAB Lethaby Scholarship, after which she settled in Scotland to live and work, taking up her present post nine years ago. She has written and presented widely on behalf of HES at conferences and seminars on a range of matters affecting the conservation of the traditional built environment. She has previously worked as a local authority Conservation Officer, in Sussex and Bath, and as a surveyor with the National Trust for Scotland. She is an accredited member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Bruce Keith Bruce Keith

Bruce Keith is the author of “Bridgescapes – a journey through Scotland’s bridge-building heritage”. Spending his formative years in Inverness-shire, Bruce is a surveyor and environmentalist, having started his professional career working on several Perthshire and Aberdeenshire estates and in Edinburgh with the Department of Agriculture.  Bruce moved to England in 1996 as Chief Surveyor with English Nature, but kept his Scottish connections, retiring four years ago as Head of Property at SSE. Bruce’s interest in bridges and roads stems from his childhood.  His passion for Scottish history, geography and landscape is a recurring theme, captured in “Bridgescapes”.

In addition to completing his book, Bruce has spent his retirement as an ambassador for the sustainable use of water resources globally, and, as President of his professional institution (The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), has travelled extensively from New Zealand to Finland via Africa.  This has left little time for golf, which is evidenced by his handicap.