News & Updates

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, Laurie, Maggie, Marlene, and Bren are doing a combination of working from home and coming into the office. Please don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail if you’d like set up an appointment. 
Hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this challenging time. We are confident that Islander resilience will shine!
Best wishes,
Laurie, Maggie, Marlene, and Bren

Island Studies News

The latest issue of Island Studies News is now online… be sure to check it out! And if you’d like to subscribe, send a note to and we’ll add you to the list!

Island Lecture Series: Writing the Island with JoDee Samuelson (Virtual Event)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 · 7:00pm-8:00pm ADT
We are delighted to announce that our annual Island Lecture Series will be hosted online for the upcoming 2020-2021 season!
Join us on October 20th for an evening with island filmmaker, artist, and author of The Cove Journal, JoDee Samuelson. Click here for more information.

Virtual Hub · Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans: Promoting Resilience and Sustainability (September 1, 2020)

The Institute of Island Studies was delighted to kick off a season of online programming with a Virtual Hub event discussing Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans: Promoting Resilience and Sustainability, hosted via Zoom on September 1st. In this virtual panel, island representatives from around the world shared lessons on how islands are demonstrating resilience as they respond to COVID-19, discussed the challenges and opportunities that communities are navigating here on Prince Edward Island.
Click here for more information and to watch the video.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Islands Economic Global Forum Annual Report on Global Islands 2019 is now online.

The Annual Report on Global Islands 2019, published by Island Studies Press in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, was published in July 2020 and will be launched at an upcoming virtual event (to be announced). Executive Editor-in-Chief is Dr. James Randall, working with Editor Dr. Laurie Brinklow and Designer Joan Sinclair.


SSHRC Exchange Publication Awards

Two faculty members at the University of Prince Edward Island, Laurie Brinklow and Lori Mayne, have been awarded SSHRC Exchange Publication Awards. Two $5,000 awards are given out annually to support the publication of manuscripts written or edited by UPEI faculty in the social sciences and humanities.

A photograph of Laurie Brinklow, simling

Laurie Brinklow is the Interim Co-ordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program at UPEI. Her manuscript is a collection of poetry titled, My island’s the house I sleep in at night. Drawn from interviews with writers, artists, and musicians from Newfoundland and Tasmania, the manuscript weaves their words with her own poetic imaginings and explores the theme of ‘islandness’.

A photograph of Lori Mayne smiling

Lori Mayne teaches in the English department at UPEI. Her manuscript, co-authored with Mo Duffy-Cobb, is The Chemistry of Innovation: Regis Duffy and the Story of DCL, which shares the story behind one of Prince Edward Island’s most successful companies and brilliant entrepreneurs.

Both of these books will be published by Island Studies Press in 2021.
Island Studies Press would like to congratulate the award recipients and thank the University of Prince Edward Island for supporting for faculty publications.

Click here for the full press release.

Insular knowledge: Building a community of islands through knowledge mobilization

In January, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO put out a call to Canada’s network of 27 UNESCO Chairs to contribute to a series of thought papers on Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). Jim Randall submitted a Letter of Intent to look at KMb specifically as it relates to islands, and we were one of six submissions selected. Working to a tight deadline, we carried out focus groups in the Atlantic region, the central Great Lakes region, and Canada’s west coast asking questions about the ways and means island groups and organizations get research results and other information out to the general public. We wanted to find out if KMb on islands is different on islands. We found that, yes, it is, and came up with some recommendations to address the gaps.

The paper underwent a rigorous peer review process, with input from over 50 individuals from Canada and around the globe, and the project is now complete. The process embodies the spirit of knowledge mobilization. A huge thank you goes out to those islanders who contributed to the paper.

Here is a link to the PDF.

Insular knowledge: Building a community of islands through knowledge mobilization
by James Randall, Laurie Brinklow, and Marlene Chapman

The premise of this paper is that islands are an integral part of Canadian geography, history and identity, and that knowledge mobilization (KMb) on islands is too often overlooked or misunderstood. The paper provides an overview of the kinds, characteristics, flows and challenges associated with knowledge creation and dissemination on islands in and close to Canada. In so doing, it offers insights intended to spark a dialogue on how knowledge mobilization on islands assists us in addressing the major challenges facing our islands and society in general. Findings suggest that much knowledge on and about islands is informal and undervalued, but critical to maintaining viable island communities. This informal, situational knowledge is often combined with formal, theoretical knowledge to build resilience in ways that may be applied more broadly across different contexts. The paper recommends that more effort must take place to expand and strengthen island networks to share resources and stories, and that policies and programs need to be filtered through an island lens before being adopted in island communities.

Island responses to COVID-19: An update

Over the past several weeks, friends at the University of Strathclyde have been gathering information from around the world about how islands have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Fransceso Sindico, Co-Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, along with James Ellsmoor from Island Innovation and several colleagues circulated a questionnaire as widely as possible.

We are pleased to share the latest version of the data collated by SCELG and Island Innovation on Islands and Covid-19, as well as a user-friendly guide to how islands around the world are dealing with the pandemic.

Organizers opened the survey on 22 March and after more than two months decided that it is now time to close the survey and start thinking of how to move ahead. Dr. Francesco Sindico would like l to warmly thank all the people (130 and counting) who contributed to the survey (in many cases more than once by submitting timely updates) through email or online. It has been incredible to see how islanders around the world have generously shared their story about how COVID-19 was being dealt with on islands. Dr. Sindico can confirm that some island-related policy makers and stakeholders have been looking at and using the data to inform their decisions throughout the pandemic making the survey and the information therein a useful tool in these difficult times.

Dr. Sindico can be reached here:

News from Island Studies Press

Island Studies Press books receive top awards

Listening for the Dead Bells by Marian Bruce received the Publication of the Year Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation at the awards ceremony at Eptek Art & Culture Centre in Summerside on Islander Day, February 17. Each year this prize is awarded to an individual or group responsible for a publication or presentation making a significant contribution to the understanding of any aspect of the heritage of Prince Edward Island. Marian’s collection of folklore about ghosts, witches, seers, and forerunners aims to nurture the storytelling tradition on PEI and inspire others to collect more tales before they are forgotten. Congratulations, Marian!

Mammals of Prince Edward Island and Adjacent Marine Mammals by Rosemary Curley, Pierre-Yves Daoust, Donald F. McAlpine, Kimberly Riehl, and J. Dan McAskill won the 2020 City of Summerside Culture and Heritage Award – Natural Heritage Activities. The award was given out at the Mayor’s Annual Heritage Tea on February 21. Congratulations to Rosemary and team!

Summerside councillor Carrie Adams and Mayor Basil Stewart present the Natural Heritage Activity Award to Rosemary Curley, who headed up the research and publication of Mammals of Prince Edward Island and Adjacent Marine Waters alongside collaborators Kimberly Riehl and Pierre-Yves Daoust at City Hall on Friday, February 21. (Photo by Alison Jenkins)

Author and researcher Doug Sobey receives Award of Honour

Dr. Doug Sobey, co-author (with Earle Lockerby) of the award-winning Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy (Island Studies Press, 2015), took home top prize at this year’s PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Awards: the prestigious Award of Honour. The award was presented in recognition of a lifetime of work studying and sharing the Island’s natural and human heritage.  Recognized for a long career researching the Island’s Acadian Forests, Doug has had a long association with the IIS, serving for many years as a dedicated IIS Research Associate. 

Check out his interview with CBC Radio’s Matt Rainnie on March 2.

John Cousins wins Boyde Beck Memorial Award

John Cousins, IIS Research Associate and author of the award-winning New London: The Lost Dream (Island Studies Press, 2016) took home the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation’s Boyde Beck Memorial Award in recognition of a lifetime of collecting, studying, and sharing folklore. A retired high school history teacher, John taught Island Folklore and Folksongs as part of UPEI’s Minor in Island Studies.

Vital Signs report now available for download

New Vital Signs report provides snapshot of the quality of life on PEI
Publication is a partnership of the Community Foundation of PEI and UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies

A new report from the Community Foundation of PEI (CFPEI) and UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies provides a snapshot of the quality of life and well-being on Prince Edward Island. Vital Signs brings together publicly available research data, the analysis of subject experts, and focus group feedback from private, public, and not-for-profit sectors from different regions of the Island. The result is an easy-to-digest, comprehensive look at a wide range of interconnected topics from health to housing to education and the environment.

“The 2019 PEI Vital Signs report grew from the knowledge and experience of Islanders,” said Kent Hudson, executive director of the CFPEI. “The Community Foundation of PEI will continue to engage with people who care about their communities and each other to collaboratively build new mechanisms for addressing issues identified in the report. We are excited to be a part of building the collective power of philanthropy and civic engagement in PEI.”

“This report can serve as a roadmap for all of us as individuals and as organizations,” said Dr. Jim Randall, chair of the Institute of Island Studies. “After all, many of the best solutions come directly from the communities themselves. At its core, this report is about how Islanders view their own quality of life: what seems to be working and where we need to continue to focus our attention.”

The authors of Vital Signs selected 10 dimensions or themes of quality of life and well-being used in other studies in Canada and internationally, including health and well-being, people and work, housing, the environment, belonging and leadership, poverty, learning and educational attainment, arts and culture, diversity and getting started, and safety and security.

Across subjects, trends became apparent in terms of a gulf between Islanders’ expectations of public services, such as health, and the actual delivery of those services. An increase in hopelessness about the state of the environment, including climate change and sea level rise, was found, especially among youth. The authors also noted feelings of concern about the ability of Islanders to gain meaningful employment and stay on the Island after graduation.

The outlook isn’t entirely bleak. PEI’s overall economy has been performing well, and the province continues to attract new residents. Islanders also find life less stressful than people in the rest of Canada, in part through a strong sense of belonging to their local community.

Vital Signs is made possible by support from Rotary of Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the Province of Prince Edward Island.

Vital Signs was distributed November 20 in newspapers across the province. For more information or to receive a print copy, please contact the Community Foundation of PEI at