Graeme Robertson (SCIS) Chairs Sustainable Futures workshops at ISISA 2010

Graeme Robertson, SCIS Hon. Research Fellow will chair the Sustainable Futures panels at the 2010 ISISA conference, Bornholm. Papers will be delivered in this stream by a range of international scholars in the field of island studies and sustainability  including papers on  ecological ‘fingerprints’, renewable energy, and the political ecology of tea production. The sessions papers are listed here:

From ecological footprint to ecological fingerprint – sustainable development on Helgoland (Germany)

Beate M.W. Ratter

Investigating the peculiarities of sustainable energy policies in islands communities for smart grid development: insights from complexity science and agent based models

Christophe Rynikiewicz

Contributing to a Sustainable Island and Institutional Renewable Energy-Based Resource for Higher Education: A University of Hawai’i Maui College

Clyde Sakamoto

 Sustainable Futures: A case study- goals, challenges and initiative implementation for sustainability on Maui

Joie Taylor

The Environmental Political Ecology of Tea Production in Hillside Taiwan ~ A Case Study of Island Spatial Economy

Shew-Jiuan B. Su

Using stone weirs to preserve biodiversity in the Penghu archipelago of Taiwan

Shyi-Liang Yu, Huei-Min Tsai, Kuo-Yuan Kan and Chyuan-Yuan Shiau

Ray Burnett delivers on ‘Pelle the Conqueror: Reflections on History, the Arts and Small Islands’

Ray Burnett, SCIS Hon. Research Fellow,  will deliver a plenary session paper at the ISISA 2010 conference at the Bornholm Art Museum. The paper entitled “Commemorating Pelle the Conqueror: Reflections on History, the Arts and Small Islands” is part of the wider programme of delivery of this years conference. For details of all papers and sessions click here:

The abstract for Ray’s paper can be read here:

Commemorating Pelle the Conqueror: Reflections on History, the Arts and Small Islands

Ray Burnett

Isle of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Scottish Centre for Island Studies, University of the West of Scotland

The life and times of the writer Martin Andersen Nexø is most often presented and discussed either in the context of his literary career as a major Scandinavian novelist of the twentieth century or his political career as a prominent cultural figure in Europe’s anti-fascist struggles, a committed member of the Danish Communist Party and a resolute defender of the Soviet Union. In each of these overlapping contexts his significance for Danish, Scandinavian and European literature, culture and politics is enduringly associated with his classic novel, Pelle the Conqueror. Published over 1906-1910, it vividly drew on Martin Andersen Nexø’s deep memories of his childhood and formative years on Bornholm and the island town of Nexø which he later took as his adopted name. This paper commemorates the centenary of the publication of the final volume of Pelle the Conqueror by approaching Martin Andersen Nexø from a specifically island studies perspective to raise the question: in what way might his portrayal of island life be of relevance to issues of culture, history and the arts in small islands beyond Bornholm, the Baltic and Scandinavia?

It offers some tentative reflections on this question by identifying some of the themes in Nexo’s portrayal of Baltic island life and tracing their applicability to comparable themes and issues in the small island communities of Scotland through a specific focus on history and the arts, reality and representations, in the Hebrides. The paper seeks to confirm the importance of Martin Andersen Nexø as a writer and observer of small island life and to raise awareness of the wider comparative significance of other writers and artists from within Scotland’s small island communities. It concludes with the reflection that there are several aspects of comparative small island research in relation to history and the arts, both within a specific Scottish-Nordic-Baltic arc and beyond, that would benefit from further collaborative engagement.

Celebrating Island Connectivities ISISA Conference XI – Bornholm – 2010

ISISA Conference XI – Bornholm – 2010

Celebrating Island Connectivities

Centre for Regional and Tourism Research (CRT) and the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA) welcome scholars, students, policy makers and practitioners to the 11th Islands of the World Conference, to be held from Monday 23 August to Thursday 26 August 2010 on the island of Bornholm, Denmark.

Download second and final call for papers in pdf format. Abstracts should be submitted by 14 May 2010.

Visit the official conference webpage at the CRT homepage for more information on the conference and the island of Bornholm e.g. accommodation and transport. Also, check the draft programme and book of abstracts to get to know more about the papers, which will be presented. 

Late registration is now possible. The conference fee is 3.000 DKK. The fee covers conference participation and material, local transport, opening event, lunch and coffee servings and galla dinner.

Please note that late registration closes on 5 August 2010 at midnight (Danish time).  

Sign up now.

Rachael Flynn SCIS PhD student delivers at 2010 MECCSA Postgraduate conference

Rachael Flynn is one of  SCIS’s  full time research students. Rachael delivered  a poster paper based on her first year of study at the 2010 MECCSA Postgraduate conference held at the University of Glasgow. See all sessions and paper details here:

From the Hebrides to Herm


See images here of the trip to the island of Herm during the conference.  Compton MacKenzie lived on the island of  Herm from 1920-1923. See here for some additional images and details of his time on the island and neighbouring Jethou. or  for some information on the tenants of Jethou, including MacKenzie, see this link

A co-authored paper (Ray Burnett and Kathryn A Burnett)  on  the legacy and influence Compton MacKenzie and other writers and film makers have had on the  iconography and representation of  Scotland’s Hebrides was delivered by Ray Burnett, Hon. Research Fellow, School of Creative and Cultural Industries,  to the SICRI 2010 ART AND ISLANDS ISLOMANIA CONFERENCE  conference in Guernsey.

SCIS Paper on Compton MacKenzie delivered to SICRI conference 2010


A co-authored paper (Ray Burnett and Kathryn A Burnett) was delivered by Ray Burnett on behalf of SCIS to the SICRI 2010 ART AND ISLANDS ISLOMANIA CONFERENCE  conference in Guernsey. The paper –  “Portaying the Hebrides: the irresistible lure and the irredeemable legacy” – offers a critical examination of the life and work of Compton Mackenzie in relation to the wider representation of islands.  The abstract for the paper is available below.  A version of this paper was delivered to the June 18th 2010 SCIS Research Meeting and Seminar, UWS. Thanks to colleagues for their comments.

From the 18th century to the present, the islands that lie off the western seaboard of Scotland, collectively known as the Hebrides, have been one of the foremost island groups in Europe to attract the attention of artists and to acquire a substantial volume of cultural representations of their landscape, environment, people and communities, in literature, music, song, the visual arts, photography and film. Restricting itself to artistic representations in literature and film this paper examines the formulation and the legacy of two recurring and influential tropes of cultural representation of these islands ─ the ‘Hebridean Other’ and ‘Solitude and Desertion’.

The literary prism for this close focus study is provided by the life and work of Compton Mackenzie, the islomanic inspiration for D. H. Lawrence’s short story, ‘The Man Who Loved Islands’. MacKenzie’s lifelong attraction to islands involved successive periodic residency on acquired island properties from Capri in Italy, to Herm and Jethou in the Channel Islands and the Shiants and Barra in the Hebrides. The screen adaptations of MacKenzie’s Hebridean novels and the acclaimed Hebridean classics of the Michael Powell / Emeric Pressberger partnership provide the filmic prism.

The paper discusses the twin tropes of the ‘Hebridean Other’ and ‘Solitude and Desertion’ with specific reference to key iconic cultural representations, the novel/film adaptation Whisky Galore! (1947/1949 and the films The Edge of the World (1937) and I Know Where I’m Going (1945). It reflects on the enduring consequences of this cultural legacy for the island locations and communities with which they are associated, Barra, Eriskay, St Kilda, Mull and its adjacent isles in relation to the cultural referential framework they created. And it concludes by tracing the far-reaching and continuing reverberations in relation to ongoing issues relating to the cultural and symbolic capital of the islands.

June 18th Research Event

Following  the successful  SCIS  research meeting on 18th June 2010 at Paisley Campus, University of the West of Scotland (details under events page) a number of plans, research activities and opportunities discussed on the day are being taken forward. Please keep in contact regaridng your own island related research and news.  The next SCIS UWS event is under development and details will be posted shortly.

Research Meeting and Seminar

June 18th 2010

University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Campus, Room G116, Gardner Building 09:30 – 13:30.

In addition to a general update on the activity and plans for SCIS this event will be an opportunity to meet other colleagues from UWS and elsewhere with an interest in island studies and island related research. All welcome. Please contact to express your interest in attending. The meeting will be followed by a short research paper relating to current research at the centre.

Portaying the Hebrides: the irresistible lure and the irredeemable legacy

Ray Burnett
Kathryn A. Burnett
Scottish Centre for Island Studies
Faculty of Business and Creative Industries


Click  on the link to Prodigia – Project for the Digitisation of Island Archives – an initiative to encourage and facilitate community access to the archival cultural heritage of the Uists and Barra; to assist in the preservation of fragile records through the provision of digital surrogates; to build up a portfolio of captured archival images; and to provide case studies in their application to island settlement history.   This Heritage Lottery Funded project is complete; Phase 2 is currently under development.

IGU Islands Commission Conference, Ven

Aug 2010 –  IGU Islands Commission conference Ven

 Finding Their Place: Islands in Social Theory

Sweden, 27 – 30 August 2010.

Venue: Island of Ven, Sweden

 An International Conference organized by the Islands Commission of the International Geographical Union (IGU) in collaboration with the Department of Human Geography, Lund University, Sweden.

For details:

SICRI conference, Guernsey

June 2010 – SICRI conference on Guernsey. 


23 Jun 2010 – 26 Jun 2010

Details:  Contact: The Head of Arts Development, Guernsey Arts Commission +44 (0) 1481 749258, or  for submission of papers, Phil Hayward at SICRI on e-mail Part of the Small Islands Cultural Research Institute based at Southern Cross University. Co hosted by the Guernsey Arts Commission in association with the Art and Islands Initiative and the Culture & Leisure Department

For a full list of all sessions and papers delivered  go to

Joint Nature Conservation Committee supports UWS research project on Tristan da Cunha

A research partnership between the Scottish Centre for Island Studies, University of the West of Scotland, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee,  and the community of Tristan da Cunha  has been established to pilot some research into the challenges of climate change through education, awareness raising and  the dissemination of information,  good ideas and good practice.   

 The project aims to examine how it can support and facilitate the young islanders, all pupils of St Mary’s school, Tristan da Cunha to explore and engage with sustainability issues in relation to their own environment, history and future through the making and sharing of visual media both within the community of Tristan da Cunha and beyond to islanders and audiences interested in island culture and environment everywhere. Mr Jim Kerr, Education Advisor, Tristan da Cunha is the lead partner representative for the island community and school and is working closely with the young people in both producing and developing creative responses to the island’s environment and social change.

It is anticipated that this work with the young people of Tristan da Cunhna will inform and be informed by some of the other UWS research activities into Tristan’s history and cultural heritage.  For further information on the activities  of St Mary’s school please go to