Island Lecture Series: “Camping in the Backyard: Provincial Park Campgrounds and Island Tourism, 1945—2000” with Dr. Edward MacDonald

Join us on October 17th, at 7 PM in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building for a lecture from PEI historian, Dr. Ed MacDonald!
The historical literature on camping in the Western world has been preoccupied with the period between the mid-1800s and the Second World War. It maintains that well-heeled city dwellers camped in order to escape summers in North America’s dirty, polluted, high-stress cities and connect physically and emotionally with the wild Nature. But it was the postwar era and the gradual democratization of tourism that brought camping to the masses. And the experience on Prince Edward Island tells a different story about the motives behind, and the experience of, camping. Focusing particularly on the Island’s provincial parks, “Camping in the Backyard” will unpack the rise and fall (and rise again) of camping in terms of the Island’s tourism industry.

Meet the Speaker

Dr. Edward MacDonald teaches in the History Department at UPEI. His research focus is the social, cultural, and environmental history of Prince Edward Island. Along with Josh MacFadyen and Irene Novaczek, he is co-editor of Time and A Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island, co-published by Island Studies Press and McGill-Queen’s University Press. The best known of his seven books is If You’re Stronghearted: Prince Edward Island in the 20th Century (October 2000).

[Research] PEI Wellbeing Survey

September 22, 2021 —

The Institute of Island Studies is embarking on a four-year study to better understand and assess the well-being and quality of life of Islanders. We would like you to be part of the initiative! Click on the survey link below to share your thoughts on how island communities could be better places to live, work and play. The survey is open until November 2021.

Full details available at

[Press Release] New island-specific policy recommendations for ‘building back better’

For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (April 26, 2021) —

A new report outlines challenges and creative solutions for islands to “build back better” as they recover from COVID-19. The Annual Report on Global Islands 2020 is published by Island Studies Press.

While the ongoing global pandemic may have spared many islands the negative health impacts of COVID-19 thus far, it has undoubtedly served as a wake-up call for islands, such as Prince Edward Island, that rely heavily on tourism.

“It is crucial that islands and their communities recover from COVID-19 not by going back to a business-as-usual scenario but by building back better,” writes Dr. Francesco Sindico, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, University of Strathclyde, Scotland, in the report. He has identified tourism and food security as two of many areas that need to be included in such a process.

“If resilience is about driving an agenda for a better island following a state of vulnerability, the question becomes: what kind of future does that island want?”

Based on analysis of a comprehensive data set contributed by islanders around the world, Dr. Sindico discusses the importance of shifting towards sustainable tourism and diversified island economies. He suggests that the ongoing pandemic provides islands with an opportunity to take stock, recognize policies that may have contributed to vulnerability, and begin a process to become more resilient and sustainable in the face of present and future crises.

According to Dr. Sindico, the first step in making islands more resilient is to recognize that governance and government is at the heart of many of the current vulnerabilities. He proposes a policy-relevant research agenda to ensure that post-COVID-19 recovery packages enable islands to “build back better” and move towards a more resilient and sustainable future.

Dr. Sindico is continuing to collaborate with UPEI and its Institute of Island Studies through the COVID-19 Island Insights Series, where 24 islands from all over the world are being analyzed not just in relation to how they coped with the pandemic, but also, along the lines of his chapter, on how they can build back better. The final goal of the project is to develop policy recommendations aimed at promoting greater island resilience and sustainability in a post COVID-19 world.

The Annual Report on Global Islands series is published by Island Studies Press at UPEI and edited by Dr. Jim Randall, UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability at UPEI. It is produced in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, P.R. China, a sister province to PEI. Released annually since 2017, the series features peer-reviewed chapters by international experts on major topics associated with the economic development of islands.

For more information and to read this and past editions in the Annual Report on Global Islands series, visit

Media contact:
Bren Simmers Island Studies Press

[New Publication] “Islandness: A COVID-19 Superpower?”

April 15, 2021—

MAIS student and IIS Interim Coordinator Marlene Chapman’s opinion piece, “Islandness: A COVID-19 superpower?”, was recently published in The Guardian. In this article, Marlene discusses the characteristics of islandness and how they have contributed to community resilience on Prince Edward Island – and in Atlantic Canada more broadly – in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the article on the SaltWire website

If you do not have a SaltWire subscription, you can access the article via the IIS Publications Library.


NEWS: Island Lecture Series – April 2021 – Celebrating Poetry Month with Laurie Brinklow, Bren Simmers, and Richard Lemm

Celebrating Poetry Month:
Laurie Brinklow and Bren Simmers in conversation with Richard Lemm

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 · 7:00pm – 8:00pm ADT (UTC-3)

Our April instalment of the Island Lecture Series celebrates National Poetry Month and features two Prince Edward Island poets in conversation with a third. Laurie Brinklow and Bren Simmers will read from their new books, My Island’s the house I sleep in at night (Island Studies Press, 2021) and If, When (Gaspereau Press, 2021), in a conversation hosted by Richard Lemm. Topics will range from the role of story, place, and history in their poetry to their own poetic practices, with an opportunity for questions from the audience.

This virtual event is free to attend and all are welcome! For more details and to reserve your spot, go to

NEWS: “Who’s your mother? Bringing Women’s work to the fore on Prince Edward Island” – Panel presentations at the 5th International St. Magnus Conference, April 2021

April 12, 2021—

The Institute for Northern Studies at the University of Highland and Islands will be hosting the 5th International St. Magnus Conference from April 14–16, 2021. Originally scheduled to take place in Shetland in 2020, this three-day conference will be taking place virtually via Webex. This year’s theme is ‘Island Histories and Herstories’ and explores the contribution of women and men in island communities from before the Viking age to the present, revealing the experiences of island life through research and storytelling.

As part of this conference, there will be a PEI-focused panel session on Wednesday, April 14th, from 11:30am-1:00pm ADT (UTC-3), featuring Dr. Laurie Brinklow and MAIS student Marlene Chapman.


Who’s your mother? Bringing women’s work to the fore on Prince Edward Island

Ever since European immigrants chose to settle in Canada nearly four centuries ago, the economy of Atlantic Canada has been rooted in traditional ways of making a living: agriculture and the fishery. Prince Edward Island is no different, with its ‘islandness’ intensifying the social structure associated with each industry, resulting in conservative yet – seemingly paradoxically – cosmopolitan societies. Women have played fundamental roles in the types of work associated with these industries, often sharing responsibility or taking the lead out of necessity.
This panel takes its title from the common expression used when Prince Edward Islanders meet someone new – “Who’s your father?” – used to emplace you in the patrilineal “tribe” that is Prince Edward Island. We turn it on its head, documenting how PEI has often been at the forefront of what we now call ‘feminism’ in the fishery and the arts – and attributing much of this empowerment to the intensity that comes with island living. 

Presentation ABSTRACTS:

Raising the glass ceiling in the Prince Edward Island fisheries
Marlene Chapman

Lobster fisher and Master of Arts in Island Studies student, UPEI

In Prince Edward Island, interest in women’s roles in the fishing industry is rising like the tide. Already in 2019, an island fishing community instituted an annual award to recognise women, and the provincial government launched a survey to figure out how to reduce barriers in the industry for females. This paper looks at this changing role of women and wonders aloud what this might mean for sustainability of the island’s fisheries.

A photo of Laurie Brinklow smiling

Women making art on Prince Edward Island
Dr. Laurie Brinklow

Institute of Island Studies, UPEI

Recently the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, hosted an exhibition entitled ‘Who’s your mother? Women Artists of P.E.I., 1964 to the Present’, showcasing PEI women’s art and correcting a gap in the Centre’s acquisitions to better reflect today’s ‘artistic scene that by now arguably produces more female than male artists’. This paper asks the question: how has being ‘islanded’ affected women’s acceptance in a profession that was dominated by males on what has generally been considered a conservative island?

For more information about the 5th International St. Magnus Conference, the full program, and to register to attend, visit

[Press Release] COVID-19 Island Insights for Prince Edward Island now available

For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, PEI (April 6, 2021) —

COVID-19 Island Insights for Prince Edward Island now available

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series entry for Prince Edward Island is now available online. The series aims to bring together critical assessments of how specific islands around the world have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the extent to which their recovery plans are able to promote long term resilience and sustainability.

Prince Edward Island is one of twenty-five islands around the world participating in this project. Like many islands, PEI has been able to reduce the spread of the virus better than many mainland states and jurisdictions. The international group of researchers behind the project hope it can be a tool for policy makers and island stakeholders. 

The Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island is a partner in this collaboration, which recently released papers focusing on COVID-19 responses in PEINewfoundland and Labrador, and Iceland. The COVID-19 Island Insights Series provides understanding grounded in local knowledge and has been released in sets of two or three periodically since November 2020, with a total of seventeen Island Insights now available online.

“While the entire series will not be complete and published until May, we can already see patterns emerging that we believe could help inform island policy makers here and elsewhere,” said Dr. Jim Randall, the project lead at UPEI. “When islands have the autonomy to craft their own responses, when they have the capacity to limit access, and when their residents are conscientious, they have been more successful in preventing the spread of the virus.” 

In May 2021, the Island Insights project team will be hosting online workshops where policy makers and researchers will come together to identify key lessons. The findings will be shared at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place November 1–12 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series is an initiative led by the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI and Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde, in collaboration with Island Innovation, a social enterprise which seeks to drive sustainable change across islands and rural areas around the world. 

To read the Prince Edward Island COVID-19 Island Insights paper, and the others in the series, visit

Media contact:
Dave Atkinson, UPEI
(902) 620-5117,

COVID-19 ISLAND INSIGHTS SERIES: Iceland, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island

March 22, 2021 —
Iceland, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island

The latest installment of the COVID-19 Island Insights Series features insights from Iceland, Newfoundland & Labrador, and right here on Prince Edward Island and discusses how these island regions have responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the extent to which their recovery plans are able to promote long term resilience and sustainability.

Click here to read more

MAIS Thesis Defense: Ian McIsaac

March 8, 2021 —
Master of Arts in Island Studies student Ian McIsaac recently defended his thesis, “Factors influencing change in the Prince Edward Island Lobster Fishery” via Zoom. The session was recorded and is now available to stream on the Institute of Island Studies YouTube channel.

→ Watch now:

In 2015, the PEI Marketing Council created the Lobster Fishers of Prince Edward Island (LFPEI) Commodity Board after holding a plebiscite. Ian conducted research to better understand what factors led to the decision, and to discover if any aspect of islandness may have influenced this independent group of Island business men and women who compete with each other to catch the same fish.

NEWS: Vital Signs report provides snapshot of quality of life on PEI

Vital Signs report provides snapshot of the quality of life on Prince Edward Island

November 19, 2019—

A new report from the IIS in partnership with the Community Foundation of PEI (CFPEI) 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.  

To learn more and to read the report, visit