Dr Jackson Armstrong is a historian of Scotland and England, principally of the later middle ages. A native of Toronto and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston, Canada, he completed a MPhil (2002) and PhD (2008) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Dr Armstrong joined the School in September 2008. He is an Honorary Curatorial Fellow to University Museums, and has previously served as Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for History, Director of Postgraduate Research and Deputy Head of School.
Memberships and Affiliations
- Internal Memberships
Dr Jackson Armstrong has served as:
- History Postgraduate Research lead (2020, 1 semester; 2022-)
- History Research lead (2022-)
- Enterprise & Innovation Champion for DHPA and member of (University) Enterprise & Innovation Committee (2022-)
- History Postgraduate Research and Postgraduate Taught lead (2022, 1 semester)
- Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Awards, review panel member (2021-)
- Deputy Head of School (2017-2020)
- School Director of Postgraduate Research (2018-2020)
- Postgraduate Officer (PGO) (2020, 2 semesters)
- Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for History (2016-2017, 3 semesters)
- Honorary Curatorial Fellow, Museums and Special Collections (2012-)
- External Memberships
Dr Jackson Armstrong has served as:
- Discipline Catalyst and review Panel member (History), Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities (AHRC) (2018-2020, 2022 (acting), 2022-)
- Advisory Group member, The Fifteenth Century Conference (2021-)
- The Burn Management Committee member, as University of Aberdeen representative (2019-)
- External Examiner (MSc Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies), University of Strathclyde (2022-)
- External Examiner (Scottish History DL MLitt), University of Dundee (2021-)
Prizes and Awards
BAFTA Scotland Awards Nomination (Game) for Strange Sickness (2022 BAFTA Scotland Awards)
Scottish Games Awards Nomination (longlist), Creativity Award, for Strange Sickness (2022 Scottish Games Awards)
Royal Historical Society, Whitfield Prize 2021 (joint winner), for England's Northern Frontier: Conflict and Local Society in the Fifteenth-Century Scottish Marches (Cambridge, 2020).
Best Lecturer (2016-2017) in the Aberdeen University Students Association Student-Led Teaching Awards.
Dr Jackson Armstrong is primarily interested in Scotland and England in the period 1300-1600, and especially in the ligatures of local societies (including ideas of kinship), relations with ‘centres’ of political power, and frameworks of law and related aspects of government. He is particularly curious about regions typically considered to be ‘peripheral’. He leads the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project which investigates Aberdeen's late medieval civic archives, and much of his work to date has concerned the fifteenth-century Anglo-Scottish borderlands, and the themes of frontiers and conflict. His book, England's Northern Frontier (2020) was joint winner of the Whitfield Prize.
He was co-producer, historian and supporting writer for the game Strange Sickness, which received a BAFTA Scotland Awards nomination in 2022.
Dr Armstrong is co-founder of the Aberdeen Humanities Fund, created in 2012. This initiative is related to his enthusiasm for advancing use and understanding of historical collections within the academy across different disciplines, and among wider audiences.
He is additionally interested in life writing and in 2004 edited and published, as Seven Eggs Today, the diaries of a nineteenth-century Canadian woman. During his postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge he held a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
I am currently accepting PhDs in History.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Dr Armstrong welcomes approaches from prospective postgraduate students. He is currently supervising five PhD students.
PhD (and other research) theses supervised to completion (by year of viva):
2021 Dr Dan Cutts, “Layered kingship in early Anglo-Saxon England” (took over lead supervision in 2020 from D Dumville, with D Parsons as external second supervisor)
2020 Dr Deniz Cem Gülen, “Understanding Knýtlinga Saga” (second supervisor with M Gelting, S Brink, L Collinson, and R O’Connor)
2019 Dr Alexander Crawford, “Comites, curiales, and kings: the role of Earls in the Scottish Royal Court, 1153-1249” (co-supervised with A J Macdonald)
2019 (Archaeology MSc by Research) Dr John Barrett: “The Civilisation of Moray: Burghs in the landscape and the landscape of burghs, cc 1150-1250” (co-supervised with J Oliver)
2018 Dr Mads Heilskov, “The commemoration of the lay elite in the late medieval Danish realm, c. 1340-1536 rituals, community and social order” (second supervisor with M Gelting)
2016 Dr Amy Hayes, “The late medieval Scottish Queen, c.1371-c.1513” (co-supervised with A J Macdonald)
Funding and Grants
Finance, Law and the Language of Governmental Practice in Late Medieval Towns: Aberdeen and Augsburg in Comparison (2020-2023) AHRC-DFG UK-German Collaborative Research Projects in the Arts and Humanities, £284,273 (AHRC 80% fEC amount), AHRC Principal Investigator. (DFG Principal Investigator Jörg Rogge.) For more information see the aberdeenregisters.org project website.
Chivas Brothers Research Fellowship (Aberdeen Burgh Records Project) (2019-2020), Academic PI. (RF William Hepburn.)
Playing in the Archives: Game Development with Aberdeen's Medieval Records (2019) AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship, £51,843 (80% fEC amount), Academic PI. (RF William Hepburn.)
Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers, 1398-1511: Concepts, Practices, Geographies (2016-2019) Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant £310,455. Principal Investigator. Housed within the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, this project investigates the first eight volumes of the Aberdeen council registers. For more information see the aberdeenregisters.org project website.
A Text Analytic Approach To Rural And Urban Legal Histories (TALH)(2014)
RCUK Digital Economy Hub £54,206. Co-Investigator (PI Adam Wyner).
This 6-month partnership grant between the University of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives developed a text analytic tool that specifically relates to the language, content, and structure of the Aberdeen council registers transcript generated through the 2013-2014 RIISS pilot (see below). Link to the dot.rural website.
Connecting and Projecting Aberdeen's Burgh Records (2013-2014)
RIISS £17,456. Joint Principal Investigator (PI Jackson Armstrong and Andrew Mackillop)
This was the pilot grant for the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project. The technical core of the project was to produce the Aberdeen Burgh Records Database, making a transcription of a sample of council register volume 13 searchable and connected to images of the register manuscript.
Dr Armstrong was also co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Bennachie Landscapes Project, and related awards:
Sharing All Our Stories Scotland (2013-2014)
AHRC £66,384. Co-Investigator (PI Elizabeth Curtis)
This grant focused on public engagement with community groups in Scotland carrying out heritage research.
Bennachie Landscapes: Investigating Communities Past and Present at the Colony Site (2013-2014)
AHRC £79,739. Co-Investigator (PI Jeff Oliver)
This development grant expanded the 2012 Bennachie project (below). It was a collaborative effort between the Bailies of Bennachie and the University of Aberdeen to explore the history of the nineteenth-century farming community known as the Bennachie Colony.
Sustainable Community Heritage in Scotland's North East: Bennachie and Beyond (2012)
AHRC £25,000. Co-Investigator (PI Gordon Noble)
This was an interdisciplinary community-centred research project on the past, present and future of one of north-east Scotland's most significant cultural and physical landmarks: the hill of Bennachie and its environs. The project facilitated public engagement with the region's landscape heritage and provides training and development opportunities for community research. Bennachie Landscapes Project website
- HI401A: Peacemaking and Bloodfeud in Scotland, c. 1390–1513
Participates in or teaches the following modules:
Level 1 Making History
Level 1 Renaissances and Reformations, c.1450–c.1750
Level 2 Kingship, Clearances & Conflict: Debates in Scottish History
Level 2 Power and Piety: Medieval Europe, 1100–1500
Level 2 The Pilgrim City: Medieval Christianity 500–1500
Level 3 Thinking History
Level 3/4 Late Medieval England: Politics and Society, 1272–1509
Level 3/4 Stewart Scotland, 1406–1603
Level 4 History in Practice
Level 4/5 Peacemaking and Bloodfeud in Scotland, c.1390–1513
Level 5 Approaching Archives
Level 5 Approaches to Research: Archives and Sources
Level 5 Scotland: A Millennium of History
Dr Armstrong received the award for Best Lecturer (2016-2017) in the Aberdeen University Students Association Student-Led Teaching Awards.
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Podcast: Into the Headlines: Strange SicknessNon-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
"This Be Trouth of Thar Vois": Writing and Speaking in Medieval AberdeenHistory Scotland, vol. 22, pp. 48Contributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
Exploring Co-production in Community Heritage Research: Reflections from the Bennachie Landscapes ProjectJournal of Community Archaeology & Heritage, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 196-215Contributions to Journals: Articles
How we made a video game based on medieval recordsThe ConversationContributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
FrontierUsing Concepts in Medieval History. Armstrong, J., Crooks, P., Ruddick, A. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 89-106, 18 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Using Concepts in Medieval History: Perspectives on Britain and Ireland, 1100–1500Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. 201 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
‘Tyrannous Constructs’ or Tools of the Trade?: The Use and Abuse of Concepts in Medieval HistoryUsing Concepts in Medieval History. Armstrong, J., Crooks, P., Ruddick, A. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3, 14 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Strange SicknessNon-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
Northern England and Southern Scotland in the Central Middle Ages. Edited by Keith J. Stringer and Angus J. L. Winchester.Scottish Historical Review, vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 155-157Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
Cultures of Law in Urban Northern Europe: Scotland and its Neighbours c. 1350 – c. 1650Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 304 pagesBooks and Reports: Books