Our mandate:

  • To encourage a deep knowledge, understanding, and expression of Prince Edward Island;
  • To serve as a bridge between the University and Island communities;
  • To contribute to the formulation of public policy in Prince Edward Island;
  • To undertake comparative studies of Prince Edward Island and other islands.


Two good friends of the Institute of Island Studies receive awards at Congress in Calgary!


Congratulations go out to Dr. Lisa Chilton and Dr. Edward MacDonald of UPEI’s history department, who were nationally recognized for excellence in research and service. READ MORE…

Island Lecture Series continues…
John Cousins presents Island Studies April Lecture:
New London: The Island’s Lost Dream
Tuesday, April 19 | 7 p.m. | SDU Main  Building Faculty Lounge

John Cousins

The Island Studies Lectures Series concludes this season on April 19 with historian/folklorist John Cousins presenting a lecture entitled “New London: The Island’s Lost Dream,” tracing the rise and fall of the “Quaker” village of New London between the years 1773 and 1795. The talk – a sneak preview of a book to be published later this year by Island Studies Press – gets under way at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus.

New London was unique in the history of Island settlements. It was begun not as a community of scattered farms but as a compact industrial village stretched along “Leadenhall Street,” the road leading to the harbour mouth. The villagers for the most part were woodsmen, mill workers, and artisans: shoemakers, blacksmiths, coopers and woodworkers like the famous Benjamin Chappell. There was even a village doctor: Dr. Cullshaw. The plan of Robert Clark, the London Quaker who owned Lot 21, was to exploit the sea and the forest of his Island properties and export fish and lumber to the Caribbean. In return, products from the Caribbean – rum and sugar, for instance – would be carried back to the Island.

The village was unique in other ways. It was planned as a Quaker community and its core families were Quakers from London and from the southern and western counties of England – some of whose descendants still live in the area. Powerful Quaker industrialists in England, among them John Townsend, a London pewter merchant, and William Cookworthy, the founder of England’s porcelain industry, were Clark’s supporters. Yet, within 20 years, the settlement at New London’s harbour mouth had died.

Using eyewitness accounts and correspondence from the time, Cousins examines the village’s birth, its middle years and finally the “perfect storm” of events which led to the end of Robert Clark’s dream: the American Revolution, the business failure of Robert Clark, and finally the machinations of Island politicians who seized part of Clark’s property. In the end the dream of New London and its founders died. However, the first-hand accounts of its early days recorded by Benjamin Chappell, Thomas Curtis and Joseph Roake demonstrate that the courage, grace and toughness of the first New Londoners outlasted the death of their dream.

John Cousins was born in the fishing village of Campbellton, Lot Four, western Prince County in 1945. He has been a fisherman, a school teacher, a school administrator, a historian and a folklorist and has published a number of works on PEI history and folklore. He taught as a sessional professor of folklore in UPEI’s History Department from 2000 to 2014. He is descended from John Cousins and Mary Townsend, whose families were among the first settlers at New London.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Chair of the Institute of Island Studies and Co-ordinator of the MAIS Program
Dr. Jim Randall shares his thoughts on Quality of Life with
PEI Standing Committee on Health and Wellness
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 | J. Angus MacLean Building, Charlottetown, PEI

Jim Randall low-res

Some of my research has been spent looking at quality-of-life indicators. I was part of a team at the U. of Saskatchewan that assessed neighbourhood level quality of life of residents. This team included geographers, epidemiologists, sociologists and business management professors from university as well as City Councilors and representatives of the health district and community-based organizations in the Saskatoon region. This research was carried out several times so we were able to fine tune an instrument that we were comfortable was fairly accurate in assessing how individuals felt about their own quality of life (degree of “happiness,” sense of belonging). It also was used to help direct public policy (neighbourhood inequality, health determinants and perceptions of personal health and security). As I will talk about shortly, this is only one kind of instrument that can be used to assess quality of life.

Since coming to UPEI I have maintained my working relationship with this group. We carried out another version of this quality of life project several years ago, comparing perceptions of quality of life among residents in Charlottetown, Hamilton and Saskatoon. We employed a survey research company to carry out a telephone survey for this work and then followed up with focus groups, especially focusing on newcomers to each of these urban places. READ MORE

Remarks from Dr. Jim Randall, Chair of the IIS Executive on The Geography of Governance are now online! Here’s a teaser…

I served as rapporteur for the symposium on “The Geography of Governance” hosted by the Institute of Island Studies on February 25th. As such, it was my pleasure to summarize the ideas and discussion from the meeting. Ms. Diane Griffin, a Councilor from the Town of Stratford and a Vice President of the Federation of PEI Municipalities, gave a powerful keynote address. She reminded the approximately 60 people in attendance that ninety percent of the province still has no land use zoning and those living on the seventy percent of the Island that is still unincorporated have little recourse when developments are proposed in their backyards. There is very little to prevent someone from building an incompatible activity right next to you. Moreover, you and your neighbours will have to share the additional costs of servicing this ad hoc development; everything from snowplowing to road maintenance.  Borrowing from Justice Ralph Thompson’s recommendations in the 2009 Commission on Land and Local Governance, the provincial government is kick-starting the conversation by trying to get us to think about what constitutes a viable community. Is it a minimum population (i.e., 4,000 people)? Is it a minimum real property assessment (i.e., $200 million)? Or is it about following natural or social features like watersheds or cultural homogeneity?

(And click here for more on the Symposium – including the video)…





Diane Griffin, Stratford Town Councillor and Vice-President of the Federation of PEI Municipalities





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