Aisling Tierney

Aisling Tierney

Lecturer at the University of Bristol

Visiting Fellow, Cultural Heritage Institute, Royal Agriculture University

Research: archaeology (Albania), sustainability, higher education pedagogy


Location Bristol, UK


  • Don't forget to catch up on feedback from week 1 - available on step 1.16.

  • In our feedback video, Chris and I mention the following:
    Website -
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    Acronym STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths

  • As I made clear in the video, this is just *one* of many potential and sometimes overlapping reasons. Others include: poverty, lack of work opportunities, restricted public assistance/social care, home foreclosure, mental illness, domestic violence and abuse, family and relationship problems, and also addiction. And sometimes, people only develop some of these...

  • To tie into this week's feedback video - here are some of the links discussed -

    Resources (and an app) suggested by one of our learners about microbeads:

    News coverage on changes in management plan at Butrint:

  • That's an interesting way to frame things. From my own personal experience, it all comes down to behaviour change, whether individual or collective, or at the industrial or governmental level. And it depends what kind of sustainability is being introduced.

    In the case of my archaeological fieldwork in the mountains of Albania, we've been conducting...

  • Hi all, to complement the week 2 reflective video and our in-depth discussion of homelessness, here's a link to updates on housing strategies by Bristol City Council:

  • Hi Layla & Val - is this issue resolved for you now? (Appears so from my view of the page)

  • When considering the management of rural mountainous areas, it's useful to know that many remote locations do not have actual surfaced roads connecting them to the main towns & cities, so it is incredibly difficult to facilitate large-scale waste-management services. This is changing as Albania has directed domestic & international investment into...

  • Hi Jess, glad to see a friendly face from home join the course!

  • Thanks for the reading suggestions @BridgetPorter

  • Thanks Gloria - glad you enjoyed it!

  • Hi @SandraChamberlain , I don't have the ability to private message you. Feel free to email me directly

  • @AlisonRunham it's all very different now. For example, you can take a bus ride from Sarande to Butrint for just €1 each way. Taxis usually require some haggling and prices vary, as is very commonplace in other nations around the world. Organised tourist trips with coaches are very robustly organised now, efficient, comfortable & reasonably priced - so it's...

  • @AlisonRunham Thanks Alison, yes - I've found in our university teaching too that subtitles & transcriptions are not just a requirement for accessibility, but help students from a range of backgrounds to learn in different ways. Glad it's helpful!

  • @LeonNoble Yes, we were excited to see Romesh's story - though he was really only in a few small areas in the capital and the north - so it's not representative of the whole experience. Albania has so much to offer and is a joy to visit.

  • You can find updates on the archaeology work in the mountains of the Kurvelesh online: and (unfortunately our 2020 season of fieldwork was cancelled and we are scheduled to return in September 2021). This work is run in collaboration with local officials (mayors offices),...

  • @AnnHolloway The video is live now.

  • Thanks Jessica - yes what Auron has created is inspiring and a great examplar for other sites. In our round up video this week, I explain some of the unfortunate updates on what's happening at Butrint (in the last 6 minutes or so) (video will be posted later today).

  • In this weeks video, I mention the work of anthropologist Igor Kopytoff, and how his theoretical write up "The Cultural Biography of Things" is a useful Arts perspective that is complementary to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy video, you can read Kopytoff's article here:...

  • Hi Ann, we recorded the video yesterday and it is being processed to include subtitles for accessibility. We should have it up in the next couple of hours - it is always released on the Tuesday as advertised. You are welcome to skip ahead to the next week of content without seeing this video.

  • Thanks for your comment, Ann. We do hope to make this course as accessible as possible, and I'm glad that you were able to use the transcript successfully. We'll take your comment on board for the future too.

  • Thanks Bowie - every time this course runs I feel a rush of inspiration from all the learners - thanks for all your support and enthusiasm!

  • @VirginiaRowan
    Re other departments etc – that is a complex question, and I cannot answer on behalf of others at my universities. As you can imagine, the pandemic has devastated entire academic communities. While I have invited others into the project from within my institutions, right now, I have to put their wellbeing first. I could not in good conscious...

  • @VirginiaRowan
    Hi! So many questions!
    Re tumulus, nothing clearly like that visible.
    Re coins – bronze, like majority of common coins found across the country and beyond. (3-4g each)
    Re lockdown – we are in the UK researching and preparing peer reviewed publications on what work we have completed so far, and doing things like reviewing lidar imaging...

  • @Krystynam On a separate note, about managing responsible behaviour etc.
    Your example of Bournemouth beach highlights what happens when facilities become overwhelmed by large numbers, and highlights how slow and steady tourism development like that at Butrint allows managers to adapt in a more agile manner to increased numbers of visitors to sites. This was a...

  • Hi Kry, thanks for your thoughtful comments, they really reflect the concerns of professional cultural heritage managers.
    Regarding local participation - there were consultation phases built in throughout all the development stages, so that community concerns and preferences could be built into the planning. Dedicated community space was physically built with...

  • Here is some more material to support any independent research:
    Butrint foundation - annual reports 1997-2011

    Here are some mapping resources:

  • Some legends state that Butrint (Buthrotum) was founded by the son of the King of Troy c.12th century BC. You can see reference to this, for example in Virgil's Aeneid III, written much later.
    The first documentary evidence I know of is by Hecataeus of Miletus c6th century BC. Archaeological evidence shows a mid-7th century BC acropolis and expanded over...

  • Hi @JoshuaWheeler I'm so glad it was useful to you!

  • Hi @RebeccaMitchell I felt the same when I moved to Bristol just over a decade ago, yet it became my home so quickly!

  • Hi @HannahM thanks for sharing - can you tell us a little more about ecobricks and how you got inspired to get involved?

  • Hi @DillonWagay the questions weight you towards one profile or another. It's also meant to be light and fun, and purposefully not to be taken too seriously - just get people to reflect. That's why we invite you to review all the profiles, and welcome you to disagree with the quiz outcome. (Because we realise a few questions can't possibly define who you are!).

  • Hi @JialinLi the quiz is just for fun, and to get people reflecting on themselves. I agree that we should work with people meaningfully, but the first step is to get them to engage. Logic, for me, is just one part of the greater puzzle of who we are and how we interact with others.

  • Hi @JojoDance There's a great video from Dave Cliff in week four.

  • Thanks @NaomiHavell I agree that for many people, the foundation of their life's happiness is based in faith, thanks for sharing your perspective. It's also a means for many to look outside themselves, their own personal drivers, and find ways to think of others and greater meaning.

  • Hi @AbelCisterna interesting choice "unlearning", do you mean unlearning bad habits, unravelling our unsustainable practices? I would agree that's definitely something we need to do!

  • Hi @JoshuaWheeler thanks for sharing - it's wonderful to have such a close personal connection to the topic, and to know the reality from their stories. We're still getting new joiners on the course- if you'd like, go back and meet the new people commenting on week 1 steps!

  • Hi @ThomFoley - a big Fáilte Romhat to you!

  • Glad you like it @EulindaAntonetteClarke-Akalanne we're meeting Auron later this week and hope to share some updates from him in the end of week video. Though Internet is spotty here!

  • Thanks for sharing @HilaryEllis go Munster!

  • Thanks for the link @EulindaAntonetteClarke-Akalanne and hello!

  • Welcome to the course @AmyGrandvoinet , don't worry about being late, we have plenty of people join throughout the four week run.

  • @EmmaBelcher if you want to learn more about creativity, head on over to our sister course on Innovation and Enterprise (part of the Unleash Your Potential group of course that the University of Bristol is offering).

  • @NaomiBrown i may have gotten a little carried away having fun writing the results! It does help make it less "serious" for those who don't want to pigeon holed by a short questionnaire. To get something deeply meaningful, we would have to ask people to answer 400+ questions!

  • @PumaWilson We had a lot of fun writing the animal results!

  • @NellM hi Nell, thanks for sharing. I encountered similar thoughts when studying. Everyone has their own strategy for dealing with it, like @HazelPilszak suggestion - I really liked that. My approach included making sure not to compare myself to others, to know I could have success on my own terms. Also, at no stage in my life did anyone else seem to care if I...

  • @GerrieSchrik thanks for sharing!

  • @RoyKareem_BGF great news! I'll share with the team - stay in touch if you need any support with your groups in the future.

  • Looking forward to welcoming your to beautiful Bristol! You'll get to see many of the researchers and students who study sustainability here, especially in week two's case studies.

  • Interesting point, @NaomiBrown Naomi, thank you. I wonder if we can look at social media as a different form of being connected. There seems to be a lot of research on social media and the absence or presence of loneliness. A quick search found this article which looks interesting:...

  • Hi Jaine - thanks! We certainly don't have to align with any of the quotes. Is there anything we haven't included that inspires you that might be good to share with others? I really like your own statement "I want to leave a better work" without needing recognition.

  • @PetaN thanks Peta, Jeff. We'll be looking at homelessness in next week's case studies, at local city and government, and charitable organisations' approaches in Bristol. You might find elements of that transferable to your own area.

  • Thanks Anna. I really like the "participation" point, as no change can happen without it!

  • Hi Martin and everyone in the office!

  • *Educator high five*

  • Hi Mita, thanks! Week 4 focuses a lot on mental health - so you can look forward to that!

  • Thanks Cally - it's great to hear words of encouragement!

  • Hi Janie, thanks so much for using the term "love". We really welcome all perspectives, and I am an avid believer that not everything has to be "professional" - why can't we be emotive - why are human after all!

  • Thanks @LucyCourtnall we are hoping to run the course three times a year in future.

  • Thanks @RebeccaStubley I'll make a note with the team. The scourge of typos!

  • I must find the reference, but I remember reading that there is a correlation between the popularity of dystopia and social upheaval. Seems like a sensible correlation in any case and fiction often reflects fact in that it is a social commentary.

  • I'm a big fan of Pullman too - and it's a worthwhile point to draw in how these themes are explored in literature. It's often in other art forms, from painting to poetry, that we express difficult concepts in ways that engage us.

  • Aisling Tierney replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    As an archaeologist, it was an absolute joy to visit Butrint and meet the people who have so wholeheartedly committed to heritage preservation, but also preservation of the local environment and, benefits to the community. And yes, the goats were fantastic. At one archaeological site we visited, we ended up being surrounded by a herd of 200! Loved it.

  • @ClaireKing Hi Claire - thanks so much for sharing. It's great to hear about amazing personal initiative in our local area.
    *wave from Bristol*

  • Thanks for your comments and contributions @JanBarden . It's really great to see how much you engage with the online material and links. We appreciate that the style and tone of certain approaches may not appeal to everyone. Throughout the course, you may find materials more suited to your particular interests.

  • @ShaunaColeman Thanks for the highlighting the links into archaeology and anthropology! I think your point about cultural practices that relate to health and well-being is really interesting.

    One thought in response - I wonder if we should not conflate purposefully fasting and the SDG Zero Hunger? Simplistically, both make one hungry, but both are not...

  • Sensing and Judging. Could not be more accurate!