ISISA 2020: Sharing Lessons, Sharing Stories

We are pleased to welcome delegates from around the world to the International Small Islands Studies Association 2020 Conference: Sharing Lessions, Sharing Stories, at Memorial University's Signal Hill Campus in beautiful St. John's, NL, Canada. Please save the date to attend. We can't wait to share our island with you!

The island of Newfoundland is renowned for its literature and drama; its music and dance; its vibrant visual arts scene; and its Intangible Cultural Heritage, like storytelling and boat-building, its culinary traditions and festivals. It has a rich history of settlement and resettlement: through moving the inhabitants of its small islands and outports to the “mainland,” or through outmigration, mostly “out west.” It is rich in natural history, being one of the oldest geological formations on the planet. Being an island, it is at the heart of climate change, and climate-change resilience. It deals with connectivity issues, and, often as a result, food security issues.

Now, island studies scholars and practitioners from NL and around the globe have an opportunity to hear these stories and lessons and share theirs – on an island that is also renowned for its hospitality. In addition, you will be treated to keynote speakers and community tours, and some of the best food Atlantic Canada has to offer.

Conference Program

Travel and Accommodations

Field Trips

Tourism Information


The Call for Abstracts is now open. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2019.

  • To submit your abstract, please go to the submission portal. You will be prompted to create an account if you do not already have one. If you have used the portal before, you can simply log in. Once you are logged in, click on "create new submission" and choose "ISISA 2020" from the drop-down menu. You can come back to your submission as many times as you want. When you are happy with the submission, click "submit." After you submit your abstract, you will not be able to edit the submission.
  • Abstracts should be around 150 words in length. 

We invite submissions on the following themes:

  • Sharing stories about the arts and culture (literature, music, visual arts, theatre) of islands, and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH); art and culture as engines of sustainable economic development; entrepreneurship and innovation in and for island spaces.
  • Sharing lessons of island depopulation, repopulation and gentrification. This is particularly relevant in light of Newfoundland and Labrador's historic (and ongoing) practice of resettling islands and outports, and comparing this with today’s islands that are affected by changing demographics, anthropogenic climate change, and sea-level rise.
  • Sharing stories of natural history on islands. This includes narratives about managing invasive species; protecting unique habitats and biota; finding the elusive balance between environment and development in small island spaces.
  • Sharing lessons of climate change and governance on islands; to include such issues as food security, non-fossil fuel energy, living with the threat of natural disaster, health and quality of life, coping with hurricanes and typhoons, vulnerability and resilience.
  • Sharing lessons of connections lost and gained. Islands are dependent upon connections with the outside. Issues include transportation challenges, impact of new technology (such as the Internet) on island life; connecting archipelagos; skills, training and education for the 21st century; marine and maritime initiatives / green and blue growth models and prospects.
  • Sharing stories of Indigeneity and resilience. Island colonialism and post-colonialism. Islands that have been built, bought and sold, co-opted and abandoned.
  • Other island-themed papers, presentations, and panels are also welcome as they pertain to the discipline of Island Studies, especially those that engage with an “island imagination.”

We welcome submissions that look at these themes on a case by case, island by island, or regional basis. All disciplinary perspectives are welcome. We are especially keen to engage with presentations that wish to push the theoretical boundaries of Island Studies, as well as wish to adopt a more comparative framework or methodology in their critical analysis. Finally, different formats are encouraged: traditional papers, panels, Pechakucha, and posters are all welcome.


Abstract Submission: 31 December 2019
Notification of Acceptance: 31 January 2020

This website is under development. Check back frequently for updates.
More information regarding the registration process will be available soon.

We are very pleased that our colleagues from the Canadian Association for Irish Studies are joining us for the last day of the conference as they gear up for their own conference on North Atlantic Worlds from June 25-28. This is a great opportunity to particpate in both conferences in a unique location that is the island of Newfoundland. Please vist their website for more information. 

For more information, contact Mandy Rowsell at mandy.rowsell[at] or call (709)-864-2275.


We are Here

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000