Seminar/Webinar: The Bridge Effect: A Case Study of Prince Edward Island, Canada, with Some Implications for Gozo [May 24th]

The Bridge Effect: A Case Study of Prince Edward Island, Canada, with Some Implications for Gozo
Laurie Brinklow, Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island 
May 24th, 2023 at, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. ADT (4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CEST)

The idea of a permanent link joining the mainland to Prince Edward Island, on Canada’s Atlantic coast, goes back to 1887 when a Canadian Senator suggested the government lay an iron subway across the floor of the Northumberland Strait; the price tag was $5 million. A few years later, they suggested a $12 million tunnel. Neither came to fruition, but over the next century, the conversation continued until 1989, when a plebiscite was held to determine whether or not Islanders wanted a “fixed link.” The vote was close: 59% in favour, 41% against. Thus the way was paved to build the Confederation Bridge, a $1 billion 12-9-kilometre-long bridge across the Northumberland Strait. It opened on May 31, 1997, as the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered waters.  

Bridging an island is often a polarizing subject: an islander can cherish the bounded flavour that an island provides or can valorize the benefits of a link―for instance, the convenience and monetary benefits of transporting people and goods on- and off-island. A permanent link might even allow an island to remain a viable place to live. This presentation tells the story of Prince Edward Island’s bridge and its socio-cultural, economic, and political impacts on the Island in the 25 years since it opened. A conversation about how these lessons might apply to Malta and Gozo will follow.  

Meet the Speaker

Dr. Laurie Brinklow is an Assistant Professor of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she is the Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) Program and Chair of the Institute of Island Studies. A writer, editor, and former book publisher, she is a graduate of the MAIS program (2007) and has a PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Tasmania (2015). She is particularly interested in the power of place, story, and identity in creating vibrant island communities. She has published in several academic journals and books and is the author of two books of poetry, Here for the Music (Acorn, 2012) and My island’s the house I sleep in at night (Island Studies Press, 2021). She is the Government of Iceland’s Honorary Consul for Prince Edward Island and President of the International Small Island Studies Association (ISISA). 

PEI-Tasmania collaboration world premiere: Atlantic String Machine, with guest Hannah O’Donnell, performs song cycle by Tasmania’s Don Kay and PEI’s Laurie Brinklow

Charlottetown, PEI (May 4, 2023) —

Four poems from Laurie Brinklow’s PEI Book Award-winning poetry My island’s the house I sleep in at night (Island Studies Press/Walleah Press) have been set to music by one of Tasmania’s best-loved composers Don Kay.

Now, Prince Edward Island’s award-winning string quintet, Atlantic String Machine, with guest soloist Hannah O’Donnell, will perform the song cycle’s world premiere on Saturday, May 13, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. in Charlottetown as part of the final concert of their 2022-23 season entitled “Coming Together.”

Kay and Brinklow connected when the writer’s Island Studies PhD research brought her to Tasmania. As part of her program, she interviewed the composer and wrote a poem for him based on the interview. Kay then took “So it begins at Hastings Bay,” plus three more of the Tasmanian poems, and created a song cycle for mezzo soprano and string quintet. Kay has composed works for opera and theatre, symphony orchestra, and choirs that have been performed around the world. In 1991, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the arts. He is now retired from a post at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.

Says Brinklow, “I’m absolutely thrilled that this island-to-island collaboration is coming to the world stage. It demonstrates the cyclical nature of art, and how inspiration works, with Don describing to me how he writes music from nature, then me putting it into words, then Don writing music based on what I wrote, then my ASM friend and Hannah interpreting his score. It’s pure magic. And having Atlantic String Machine do the world premiere here is a dream come true.”

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite, or at the door.

Media contact:
Anna MacDonald
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island | (902)-566-0949

Master of Arts in Island Studies Thesis Defence: Fiona Steele  

MAIS Thesis Defence: Fiona Steele
“When stories lead to sustainable tourism – the role podcasting plays in the development of sustainable tourism on islands.”

Wednesday, April 26, 4-6 p.m. ADT on Zoom  

Please join us on a round-the-world thesis defence by MAIS student Fiona Steele. Entitled “When stories lead to sustainable tourism – the role podcasting plays in the development of sustainable tourism on islands.”

Island Lecture Series: Dr. Irené Novaczek 

March 21st, 7pm
Faculty Lounge SDU Main Building, UPEI

Join us March 21st for an Island Lecture from marine ecologist Dr. Irené Novaczek on the Ecosystem Restoration Project at Basin Head. Basin Head was designated as a “Marine Protected Area” under the Oceans Act in 2005, to conserve and protect a unique strain of Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) which is thought to exist only within the confines of Basin Head.

The talk will focus on adaptive management of the Marine Protected Area to ensure that the unique giant form of Irish moss at Basin Head is able to survive in the coastal lagoon environment which is challenged by impacts of local agriculture, invasive European green crabs and ongoing climate changes.


Island Lecture Series: Towards Energy Sovereignty on Labrador’s Remote Island of Ponds
Dr. Nick Mercer
Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 · 7:00pm AST (UTC-4)
Faculty Lounge, SDU Main Building, UPEI

(Hosted by the Institute of Island Studies · January 24th, 2023)
Newfoundland and Labrador is a global leader in the development of renewable energy. However, the electricity-generation mix differs dramatically in remote and Indigenous communities throughout the province, which remain almost exclusively reliant on diesel fuel, resulting in numerous energy inequities. While sustainable energies are often promoted for these isolated villages, emerging research demonstrates detrimental socio-economic and livelihood implications which emerge when development is led by outsiders or corporate interests. The presentation will focus on an 8+ year community-based research partnership between Dr. Nick Mercer, the NunatuKavut Community Council’s Department of Research, Education, and Culture, and the NunatuKavut Inuit community of Black Tickle, located on the subarctic tundra Island of Ponds, in southern Labrador. The research focuses on identifying and addressing community needs, integrating local knowledge and sustainability values, and mobilizing community-led initiatives to enhance island energy resilience.

More info

Tribute to Harry Baglole

Charlottetown, PEI (October 18, 2022)—

Historian, educator, and publisher, Harry died on May 29th, 2018 at 76 years. Due to the Pandemic, we have been unable to offer this celebratory classical concert in honour of a man devoted to his Bonshaw community and to the ongoing renewal of the Bonshaw Hall. Since 2005 when the Church, built in 1867, was decommissioned, Harry was passionately involved in saving and repurposing it as a Community Hall.

Harry loved classical music and in his honour, a classical concert will be held Sunday, November 6th at 2:00 pm at the Bonshaw Hall and will include the dedication of a refurbished area for the Hall’s ongoing book sale, now called “Harry’s Nook”. 
Cam MacDuffee will be our MC. Our entertainers are Karen Graves (violin), Dale Sorensen (trombone), Lana Quinn (harp), and Jed, Keziah & Twila Dawn Stoltz.

Admission is a suggested donation of 10$ in support of Bonshaw Hall.

~~Submitted by Bonshaw Hall Board Member Ruth Lacey

Island Lecture Series| Anticosti: Finisterre Metropolitan with Matthew Hatvany

Island Lecture Series: Anticosti: Finisterre Metropolitan with Matthew Hatvany
Dr. Matthew Hatvany
Tuesday, October 25, 2022 · 7:00pm AST (UTC-3)
Faculty Lounge, SDU Main Building, UPEI

(Hosted by the Institute of Island Studies · October 25th, 2022)
In the latest installment of the 2022 Island Lecture series, Matthew Hatvany, professor of Geography at Université Laval in Quebec City, will share his research on his current project entitled “Anticosti: Metropolitan Finisterre.”

Two large islands lie at the heart of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Despite their relative proximity and comparable sobriquets, one “Garden of the Gulf” the other “Paradise Found,” the similarities end there. It is the smaller of the two, Prince Edward Island, that realised provincial autonomy through the development and control of its human, agricultural, forest, and fish resources. The larger, Anticosti, experienced little internal development despite abundant resources, being purposely constructed by external decision makers as a Finisterre Insulaire or Land’s End controlled and dependent upon metropolitan decision makers and investors to assure the well-being of its small population. While Anticosti is little known in Quebec or by its nearest neighbours in Atlantic Canada, the island is celebrated by the upper classes of distant North American and European metropoles as a natural paradise as well as an aspiring UNESCO heritage site for its unique fossil and sedimentary strata.


Matthew Hatvany, professor of Geography at Université Laval in Quebec City, will be spending the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023 on sabbatical leave as an associate professor at the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI. He will be employing the theories of metropolitanism and territoriality to study the unique development of Quebec’s Anticosti Island. During his sabbatical, Dr. Hatvany will be collaborating with UPEI professors Laurie Brinklow, director of the Institute of Island Studies, Josh MacFadyen, director of the GeoREACH lab, and Island scholar Edward MacDonald. 

Island Lecture Series: What’s Law Got To Do With It! Islands And Their Status In International Law with Dr. Donald Rothwell

Island Lecture Series: What’s Law Got To Do With It! Islands And Their Status In International Law
Dr. Donald Rothwell
Tuesday, Sept 13, 2022 · 7:00pm AST (UTC-3)
Faculty Lounge, SDU Main Building, UPEI

(Hosted by the Institute of Island Studies · Sept 13, 2022)
In the latest installment of the 2022 Island Lecture series, Dr. Donald Rothman explores the international conversation on the legal status of islands. The legal status of islands has increasingly become contested in various parts of the world as a result of the distinction between islands and rocks, and the increasing development of artificial islands. Can international law resolve these issues or just make them more contentious?


Dr. Donald Rothwell is a Professor of International Law at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Born on the island continent of Australia, he is a graduate of the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary, and has lived on Vancouver Island and studied islands and the law of the sea for 30 years.

MAIS Program Well-Represented at Two International Conferences 

Charlottetown, PEI (July 11, 2022)—

The MAIS program was well-represented at two recent international Island Studies conferences in Croatia and Shetland. 

ISISA UPEI contingent

Attending and presenting their research at the 18th International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA) “Islands of the World: Nature and Culture” conference hosted by the University of Zadar, Croatia, June 13-17, were MAIS students Jenna Gaudet, Helena Ryan, and Richard Wedge. MAIS sessional instructor and PhD student Andrew Halliday (University of New Brunswick) also presented, as did Prince Edward Island scholars Laurie Brinklow, Godfrey Baldacchino, and Anna Baldacchino.
Special congratulations go to Jenna and Andrew on receiving student scholarships from ISISA and the conference organizers! 

ISISA Jenna and Helena

To give you a glimpse into MAIS research, here are the presentation titles:
– Jenna Gaudet: “Islands of Control: Gated Communities and the Future of Island Life” 
– Helena M. Ryan: “Female Island Youth in Parts Per Million (ppm) Volumetric Voices: Sustainable Development through the Islandness of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Autumn Peltier, and Greta Thunberg “
– Richard Wedge: “Neoliberalism and Health in Tonga”
– Andrew Halliday: “The Island Within: Prince Edward Island’s Involvement in the Atlantic Bubble” 
– Godfrey Baldacchino: “Doing Island Studies: A Methodology Primer Takes Shape” 
– Anna Baldacchino: “A Walk Down Memory Lane: A Review of ISISA Newsletters (2012-2021)” 
– Laurie Brinklow: “The Disappearing Island: Exploring Islandness and the Language of Art in the Anthropocene”
– Laurie Brinklow with Brady Reid (Memorial University): “Generosity Through Crisis: Comparing Opportunities of Multi-Jurisdictional Socio-Economic Recovery through Philanthropy in Atlantic Canada” 

In addition to a full academic program with 4 keynote speakers, 93 papers presented, and 120 participants from around the globe, the organizing committee led by University of Zadar’s Aniça Cuka also put together three stunning field trips to islands off the coast of Zadar, including Uglijan, Pag, and Dugi otok, giving us a small glimpse of life in this beautiful Croatian archipelago. 

The Book of Abstracts can be found here: 

Two weeks later, MAIS students joined Laurie at the Small Island Cultures Research Initiative (SICRI) Island Studies International Conference (ISIC 16) entitled “Creativity, Ingenuity, and Practice” hosted by the Centre for Island Creativity at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Shetland. They were Andrew MacPherson, Fiona Steele, and Maggie J. Whitten Henry (presenting remotely). Wonderful congratulations go to Fiona for being recognized for the Best Student Presentation at the end of the conference! 

Fiona receiving her award

You can hear Fiona discuss the conference, and her podcast “the hidden island” on CBC’s Mainstreet.

Presentations at the ISIC 16 included:
– Andrew MacPherson: “Reimagining Canada as an Archipelago: Two Islands as Depicted in Recent Speculative Fiction”
Fiona Steele: “Creative Approaches to Sustainable Island Tourism” 
– Maggie J. Whitten Henry: “Recursive islandness in creative practice: Entangled negotiations with abundance, loss, tradition, and time” 
– Laurie Brinklow: “My island’s the house I sleep in at night: Nissopoesis and island-making” 

Conference organizers were Andrew Jennings from UHI (who is also a member of the Institute of Island Studies Advisory Committee), along with co-convenors Evangelia Papoutsaki and Meng Qu from SICRI. 

Plans for the conference field trip to the northernmost islands of Yell and Unst were thwarted when the ferry to Yell broke down, but in true island fashion, conference organizers came up with an equally fabulous program: a bus tour of Shetland narrated by Andrew and his colleague, UHI professor and archaeologist Simon Clarke. Conference-goers did get to experience a short ferry ride later to another island in the archipelago: to Bressay, across Lerwick’s harbour, for an evening at the local arts and community centre. 

On behalf of the students, Laurie would like to thank the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, the UPEI Student Union, and ISISA and the University of Zadar for funding assistance that allowed them to participate in these invaluable experiences.  

Fiona, Laurie, and Andrew

Dr. Laurie Brinklow named President of ISISA

Charlottetown, PEI (July 11, 2022)—

At the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA) General Meeting in Zadar, Croatia, June 17, Laurie Brinklow was acclaimed President of ISISA. She succeeds Godfrey Baldacchino who had served in the role for eight years. 

Serving on the new Executive for the next four years are Sarah Nimführ (Vice President), Anna Baldacchino (Secretary), Andrew Jennings (Treasurer), and Ordinary Members Rosemarie Azzopardi, Aniça Cuka, Ayano Ginoza, and Adam Grydehøj. Tomislav Oroz joins as a Co-Opted Non-Voting Member. 

Thanks go to the outgoing executive committee, in particular President Godfrey Baldacchino and Vice President Beate Ratter, for their hard work and contributions over the years!  

The Executive looks forward to planning the next ISISA conference in 2024, the location for which is yet to be confirmed.  

For further information, or to become a member of this pre-eminent Island Studies organization, please check out or follow us on Facebook

Want to hear more about what went on at ISISA 2022? Check out our update!

Media contact:
Anna MacDonald
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island | (902)-566-0949