The April Island Studies Lecture took place Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Master of Arts in Island Studies student Owen Jennings speaking about Saint Helena: An island in flux.
The allure of islands relies on some often inaccurate assumptions. These imaginary islands are small, remote, and, more often than not, tropical. Where most islands fall well short of that imagined island, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena reaches towards it. Over the past decade this island has been gifted a new connection to the world: an airport. While its opening for commercial traffic is still delayed, this will, it is anticipated, reduce the travel time to South Africa from five days down to a few hours. The Saints, as the islanders call themselves, have long been caught between their home’s isolation and many connections to the outside world, and soon they will be able to travel in a way that most similar island communities take for granted. This lecture considers the experience of travelling to and being a researcher on Saint Helena, and what being a Saint might mean as the island’s connection to the rest of the world changes dramatically.
Owen Jennings is a Master of Arts in Island Studies student at UPEI. He is studying remoteness and access on the island of Saint Helena, and, last November, had the opportunity to travel to Saint Helena to do his field research. Before coming to PEI, he studied politics for his undergraduate degree in the UK.