Just got back from ASIF on Lord Howe Island - a massively stimulating and successful meeting of island representatives from around Australia (plus two NZ reps) and various federal and state politicians and bureaucrats and scientists and researchers + Zita Cobb from the Shorefast Foundation and a Kiribas film and culture presentation. One of the best events I have been to in decades in terms of networking, collegiality, organisation and support of island residents. A network and further ASIF events are planned and it looks to be really productive enterprise.
Over the last couple of months I have been working on a concept of the aquapelago, an attempt to envisage and assert the multi-faceted inter-connection that (some) island and coastal societies have with marine spaces. Visiting Haida Gwaai and doing follow-up research in late 2011 moved these ideas along and I have published a short (3500 word) Debates piece on the concept in the latest issue of Shima (v6 n1 2012) (online at www.shimajournal.org). Arianne Reis (assistant editor of Shima) approached some active island researchers from various fields and pleasingly four have written responses that are also included in the issue. These ranged from welcoming of the concept and its usefulness through to less positive assessments of the need for a new term. I am going to write up some specific thoughts on Haida Gwaai as an aquapelagic assemblage and link these to the responses in Shima + some consideration of Manuel DeLanda, whose work offers some useful insights. I would welcome discussion and collaboration on this area, so please feel free to engage with me on it.
Just returned from 25 days in British Columbia. Ostensibly on holiday - visiting partner and daughter currently on three months exchange in Vancouver - but also managed to get in trips to Haida Gwaii and Bowen Island. Haida Gwaii lives up to its reputation as a dramatic, stormed-tossed region of significant ecological and cultural interest - not least in the problematic relationships between Haida activists and loggers and recreational fishers. The Haida community at Skidegate, with its Bill Reid totem pole and community buildings was particularly impressive. Unfortunately the Haida Cultural Centre was shut while we were there (but looked impressive from the outside - and the Haida canoes are stored outside and easily viewed as well). Bowen Island (30 minutes boat ride from central Vancouver, if you take the fastest option) is very different, a semi-commuter island with a high number of resident creative industry people. There's a new book out entitled 'Captain, there's something funny about Bowen Island this morning: The Bowen Cartoons' by Ron Woodall - which has some of the most astute and wry commentary on island life that I have seen. I'll have to try and get a reviewer for Shima (and may be we can reproduce some of the images). While on the topic of BC island books, I also bought and read Stephen Legault's eco- detective thriller novel 'The Darkening Archipelago', which mixes a tough-guy detective narrative with First Nations issues and the vexed subject of salmon aquaculture in the vicinity of wild salmon runs. It's an interesting attempt to popularise some vitally important environmental issues and worth a read