International Small Islands Studies Association




A Walk on the Edge


My favourite assignment is to ask students in my University of Prince Edward Island IST 614 class: “Islandness: Culture, Change and Identity” to take a walk on the edge as part of our discussion around what “the edge” means to islanders. This is generally not a hardship when you live on Prince Edward Island: it usually means a welcome trip to the beach. However, when you ask them to do so in January or February… well… it’s not so much fun. But my students stepped up to the plate, and in wonderful fashion they tell us here what it’s like to walk the edge of Prince Edward Island – on a freezing cold day in early 2017.

And for "Walks on the Edge" from previous years, go to

Ian blog image 2

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The crossing from hell

Laurie Brinklow

A friend from Prince Edward Island decided to visit the Galapagos Islands. She knew that I had been there in 2013 (it was a pilgrimage of sorts to the Island Studies "motherland"), so she asked for some travel and accommodation tips. I was happy to oblige... after all, someone had done the same for me. 

This morning she posted a video on Facebook of a snippet of her "crossing from hell" from Santa Cruz to Isabela Island, along with these words:

...journey to Isabella Island on a Galápagos "ferry". The "ferries" are 2 or 2 1/2 hour transfers in open ocean. My San Cristobol to Santa Cruz ride was just beautifully smooth so what were the words of caution all about? I am a wind in your hair kind of gal so no big deal, just another boat ride. In the afternoon onward to Isabella Island........well the video says it all! Thanks to Jeannie and Laurie for the heads up about these ferries......I...

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John Donne was wrong

Anders Källgård



One of the most famous island quotations, ”No man is an island,” originates from a beautiful 17th-century text written by the English poet John Donne:




No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; 
every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, 
as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; 
any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

This text deserves to be analysed.

The use of the word ”man” for ”human...

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At a recent public symposium sponsored by University of Prince Edward Island's Institute of Island Studies, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, speakers explored the current population landscape. Geographer and professor of Island Studies Dr. Jim Randall laid out the demographic challenges facing our island: an aging population, a declining birth rate, a shrinking workforce, chronic out-migration, rural decline.

Cultural geographer Katie Mazer profiled the new face of out-migration, inter-provincial workers (that is, Islanders who live here but work Out West) and the regulatory system that encourages that trend.


Finally, Tony Wallbank prefaced the imminent arrival of Ontario Amish families who are moving to the Island...

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Seeing Island Red

Laurie Brinklow

In September 2015 I had an e-mail from an artist based in Ontario, Canada, who was looking for help in finding soil for an interdisciplinary art project documenting earth colours from across Canada. He was looking for “soils and rocks that leave a good stain or streak,” which he could use as an artist pigment.

We here at the Institute of Island Studies get lots of queries about our Island – our history, geography, our economy, our culture, our islandness. We hear from scholars wishing to visit or become Research Associates, and from students who want to come study for a few weeks or a semester. We have people looking for reports or books or information about PEI and our comparative studies with other islands. It’s fun to open my e-mail each morning to see what’s waiting.

But I must admit: I’ve never received a request for information about dirt. I was intrigued.

Prince Edward Island is well-known for its red soil. Except...

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