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 isisa.org 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
amacdonald@upei.ca | (902)-566-0949

Island Studies joins University of the Arctic’s New Thematic Network

Charlottetown, PEI (July 5, 2022)—

Island Studies at UPEI is pleased to be part of the newly established Thematic Network on Northern and Arctic Island Studies Research, one of four thematic networks approved at the University of the Arctic Assembly meetings June 1-3 in Portland, Maine. Hosted by University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Scotland, the Northern and Arctic Island Studies Research network consists of members from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Uppsala University, Holar University, University of Northern British Columbia, University of the Faroe Islands, University of Greenland, UHI, and UPEI.

The goal of the network is to support Arctic and Northern Island communities to socially, materially, and culturally benefit from the discipline of Island Studies, which at its core believes that islands have the human and intellectual capital to undertake research for themselves. 

This follows on UPEI becoming a member last year of the University of the Arctic, which is “a network of universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North. UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and infrastructures that enable member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions.” 

If you’re interested in being part of the this new Arctic and Northern Island Studies Research network, please send a note to Laurie Brinklow (brinklow@upei.ca) or Andrew Jennings at UHI (Andrew.Jennings@uhi.ac.uk).

MAIS Grad Joins UPEI as Assistant Professor

Charlottetown, PEI (June 30, 2022)—

Last summer we announced that MAIS graduate Patrick Augustine had received his Ph.D. from the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. This month we’re thrilled to announce that Dr. Augustine will be joining UPEI as an Assistant Professor in the new Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies (IKERAS).

Congratulations, Patrick! This is SUCH good news for UPEI and for Island Studies. 

And with Patrick comes partner Margaret Augustine (nee Mizzi), another MAIS graduate; Margaret is currently finishing up her Ph.D. looking at women’s work on Gozo, Malta, using a feminist island-geographical lens.  

Welcome back to the Island, Patrick and Margaret! 

Dr. Laurie Brinklow takes over as Island Studies Chair/MAIS Coordinator

Charlottetown, PEI (April 25, 2022)—  

The University of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce the appointment of Assistant Professor Dr. Laurie Brinklow as the new Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program and Chair of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS). She has been carrying out the roles in an interim capacity since May 1, 2020, with the retirement of Dr. James Randall. 

Dr. Brinklow is no stranger to Island Studies, serving as IIS Publishing Coordinator and research project administrator in the 1990s and 2000s, Coordinator of the IIS and UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability from 2014 to 2020, and as a sessional instructor in the MAIS program since 2014. She herself completed the Master of Arts in Island Studies program in 2007 and went on to do her PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania. Founder of Charlottetown’s Acorn Press, she has published widely in academia and has two volumes of poetry, the most recent being My island’s the house I sleep in at night (Island Studies Press). She is Secretary of the International Small Island Studies Association and Iceland’s Honorary Consul to Prince Edward Island.  

Says Dr. Brinklow, “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who came before me with their own visions for Island Studies: people like Harry Baglole, Brent MacLaine, Godfrey Baldacchino, Jim Randall, Ed MacDonald, Jean Mitchell. They are my mentors and inspirations in this Island Studies journey. And getting to meet islanders from around the world, to be part of a huge Island Studies family – what better way to spend one’s life?”  

As MAIS Coordinator, she hopes to continue to grow the program, solidifying UPEI’s reputation as the premier academic institution in Island Studies. Boasting over 60 graduates and 65 local and international students coming from as far away as England, Taiwan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nigeria, the interdisciplinary program focuses on island tourism, sustainability, international relations, and public policy on Prince Edward Island and other islands. As Chair of the IIS, she will continue to build on networks and collaborations with UPEI colleagues, government departments, and other institutions in Canada and around the world, being a bridge between the University and the community and focusing on PEI’s economic, environmental, and cultural health and well-being. She will continue to help Island Studies Press’s Bren Simmers produce award-winning publications that celebrate the Island’s culture and stories. And she will continue to work closely with Dr. Jean Mitchell, UPEI’s UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, to expand small islands’ sustainability across intersecting socio-economic, cultural, aesthetic, and environmental domains in the Pacific and Caribbean. Dr. Brinklow’s own research explores “islandness” and people’s attachment to islands through the language of art in Tasmania, Newfoundland, and other north Atlantic islands. 

The mother of two daughters and soon-to-be four grandchildren, Laurie lives in Charlottetown with her musician husband Michael Mooney and cat Alvin– when she’s not travelling to other islands. 

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

[Research] Retention on PEI: A Survey

March 29, 2022 —

The Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island is working with the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture to better understand population mobility and retention on Prince Edward Island. We want to know the factors that have led to the outmigration of PEI residents as well as those factors that have prompted PEI residents to remain in the province. Hearing from both those who have left and those who have stayed is important. In the end, the key motivation is to improve retention of newcomers. What we learn will feed into the next population strategy.

Researchers have created two online surveys: one for current PEI residents and one for former PEI residents. Says Dr. Laurie Brinklow, Interim Chair of the Institute of Island Studies, “All of us who live on PEI know stories about why some people leave the Island and some people stay, but we don’t have any concrete data to back this up. This is why we’re hoping to hear from as many people as possible through these two surveys. Reaching those who have left is going to be the most challenging, so once you’ve filled it out, if you know people who have moved, we’d love it if you could forward the link to them.”

The deadline for the completing survey is midnight April 15. Participants have the opportunity to enter a draw for one of fifty (50) $15 gift cards.

Population Retention Survey – Current PEI Residents: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PopulationRetentionCurrentResidentsofPEI

Population Retention Survey – Former PEI Residents: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PopulationRetentionFormerResidentsofPEI

DEADLINE: April 15

Please feel free to pass along these links to other current and former PEI residents who might be interested in sharing their thoughts on why they have remained on PEI, or why they moved away. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laurie Brinklow at brinklow@upei.ca or Jim Randall at jarandall@upei.ca

Island Lecture: Trade in the Nicobar Islands with Shaina Sehgal March 2022

Trade in the Nicobar Islands
Shaina Sehgal March 2022
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 · 1pm AST (UTC-4)
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In the second installment of our Island Lecture Series, Shaina Sehgal presents some of the findings from her Ph.D. research on the Nicobar Islands. The Nicobar Islands is a little-known archipelago in the eastern Indian ocean. However, these islands were ports-of-call along the ancient sea route from West Asia to South-East Asia and reported by traders and sea-farers throughout history. In this talk, Sehgal sketches the trading world of the Nicobar Islands between the 18th and 19th centuries. Analysis of historical texts, maps and images from this period shows the connection between seasonal trade within the archipelago and trade with the Nicobar Islands. This study concludes that these islands were a site of sustained contact within the bustling Indian Ocean world until the early 20th century.


Shaina Sehgal is an interdisciplinary scholar who has studied the social and environmental issues across diverse and challenging terrains across India (mountains, forests, and islands) over the past decade as a graduate student and researcher at Ambedkar University Delhi, India. Her Ph.D. in Human Ecology examined trade, agriculture, development and governance in the Nicobar Islands, using archival research, quantitative data analysis, social network analysis, and ethnographic research.

MAIS News: Student Awards

MAIS Students Win SSHRCC Awards

We are pleased to announce that two of our MAIS students, Greg Elison and Alyssa M. J. Gillespie, are receiving awards from last year’s Canada Graduate Scholarships Master’s Program Competition from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC)!

Congratulations, Alyssa and Greg!

Greg Elison: MAIS Thesis Student. Thesis title “The Path to Carbon Neutrality – Community Based Renewable Energy on Prince Edward Island”

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Greg received his Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Mount Allison University in International Relations and a double minor in Economics and History.

As a thesis student in the MAIS program, he has chosen to focus his research on regional development, economic decarbonization, and Islandness with the hopes of utilizing this interdisciplinary approach to explore the socio-economic factors that facilitate community renewable energy expansion on Prince Edward Island.

Alyssa M. J. Gillespie: MAIS Thesis student. Thesis title “Roots, Routes, and Rural Youth Retention on Prince Edward Island”.

Alyssa is a born and raised P.E.Islander with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and English from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). As a Master of Arts in Island Studies thesis student, she is applying her degree to the study of rural youth on Prince Edward Island and their migratory habits.

Alyssa’s scholarly pursuits are anchored in her passion for child and youth studies, culture, and relation to place, and she has a particular interest in creative writing, specifically poetry. She has worked with the L.M. Montgomery Institute, housed in the Robertson Library of UPEI, since the fall of 2019 as an editorial assistant for the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies.

NEWS: Dr. Jean Mitchell named UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (January 20, 2022)

Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI, has announced the appointment of Dr. Jean Mitchell as the next UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability at the University. Dr. Mitchell is an associate professor of anthropology at UPEI with extensive research and project experience in Indonesia, India, and the South Pacific nations of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. In the role as UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Dr. Mitchell will take a broad perspective on small islands’ sustainability across the intersecting socio-economic, cultural, aesthetic, and environmental domains. Among other things, she will serve as an effective conduit for transferring innovative ideas; develop connections and collaborations; and contribute to research on small islands and the training of the next generation of island studies scholars and practitioners. The long-term mission of the UNESCO Chair at UPEI is to contribute to achieving the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This has been a UNESCO priority since the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. This priority was also extended to Sub-National Island Jurisdictions. The UNESCO chair is hosted by the Institute of Island Studies (IIS). Established in 1985, the IIS is a research and public policy institute based at the University of Prince Edward Island focusing on the culture, environment, and economy of small islands around the world, with emphasis on Prince Edward Island. Drs. Jim Randall and Godfrey Baldacchino were named co-chairs in 2016, and Dr. Randall took on the role of sole chair until his retirement in 2021. Details on the UNESCO Chair’s work to date can be found at islandstudies.com.

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

Island Lecture Series: Arts and Climate Adaptation – Ilse van Dijke

Island Lecture Series: Arts and Climate Adaptation:
Ilse van Dijke
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022 · 1:00pm – 2:00pm AST (UTC-4)
Watch video

(Hosted by the Institute of Island Studies · Jan 18, 2022)
In the first installment of the 2022 Island Lecture series, Ilse van Dijk presents the findings of the research she conducted as an intern with Island Studies and the School of Climate Change and Adaptation at UPEI. The research was funded by the Climate Sense project. In her research project, Ilse aimed to identify possibilities for the integration of artistic processes into climate change adaptation policies on Prince Edward Island.


Ilse van Dike is currently a research master’s student at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She is following a specialization in islands and sustainability, with a particular focus on the theme of culture and climate change adaptation. Ilse recently completed a research internship with Dr. Laurie Brinklow from Island Studies and Ross Dwyer from the School of Climate Change and Adaptation. She holds a masters’ degree in human ecology from Lund University in Sweden, and a bachelors’ degree in cultural anthropology and development studies from Radboud University in the Netherlands.

Report: Two-year Timeline of COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Islands Worldwide

From January 2020, the Global Islands Network (GIN) website2 began to source and feature articles on how COVID-19 was having disparate consequences upon islands worldwide. Over the next two years 1100 articles were posted on the GIN News Desk covering some 150 different countries, territories or local jurisdictions. All these are individually named and listed, together with regions (i.e. Caribbean, Pacific, SIDS), on the contents page so that readers can quickly identify them and their associated articles. In addition, the main purpose of this report is merely to act as a resource enabling all those who are interested to undertake further research. As you would expect, the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 upon islands predominate throughout this series of press articles. Whilst the repercussions for island tourism are manifest there are ten additional thematic areas listing articles covering multiple other topics that are specific to islands.

Read the report | Download PDF