Organized and facilitated by Bojan Furst and Sheila Downer of the Harris Centre at Memorial University and Andrew Jennings of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Laurie Brinklow at the University of Prince Edward Island, the workshop brought together 30-some researchers and students, in-person and online, from around the North Atlantic to strategize a research agenda for the coming year.

The group discussed a number of themes, including:

  • Youth: leaving vs. staying; access to education and meaningful employment; mental health as a cost of isolation;
  • Blue Economy: importance of blending scientific and traditional knowledges; reconciliation; diversification
  • Indigenous languages: ensuring languages remain "the breath of the culture";
  • Climate Change: creating place-based climate change adaptation strategies;
  • Energy: unpacking NIMBYism; creating place-based, island-made social enterprise solutions;
  • Transportation: effects of links (fixed and ephemeral) on island viability and identity, food security; utilizing hub-and-spoke models;
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage: creating inclusive communities, well-being, sense of belonging, identity through traditional and Indigenous knowledge and ICH; utilizing culture and ICH to address big challenges such as climate change.

Youth and climate change came across in all the discussions. Other cross-cutting themes included the challenges of competing interests and contested space on islands, doing a better job of sharing best and worst practices, and reframing the conversation to communicate the positive stories of island living. As one youth joining remotely from Black Tickle, Labrador, put it, "If you can make it easier to come and go, it becomes easier to stay." As it was, it would have cost her $5,000 CAD to travel to St. John's for the workshop.

Workshop report