Monday, February 14, 2005

Culture Café on Small Islands - Small Acts

Culture Café on Small Islands - Small Acts: Island Communities Within a Globalizing World
The public is invited to attend a free Culture Café called Small Acts: Island Communities Within a Globalizing World on Wednesday, February 23, at 7 p.m., at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

On December 26, 2004, tsunamis caused by earthquakes killed more than 150,000 people around the Indian Ocean, including on Andaman Islands, Hafun, the Maldives, the Nicobar Islands, Phuket, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Sumatra. Once again putting islands on the map and agenda globally, such large-scale disasters and smaller-scale incidents like the storm surges that have devastated coastal areas locally are reminders of the vulnerability of islands to natural disasters and the challenges that isolated geographies face when dealing with risk and disasters.


During this café, audience members can join in an informal dialogue with UPEI faculty members Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, Dr. Edward MacDonald, Dr. Irene Novaczek and Professor. Annie Spears who will speak from their particular areas of expertise about the forms of vulnerability experienced by island settings and the potential roles that islands may play in the public and political sphere. The discussion will explore the role of island connections and possibilities of mutual learning and aid among islands, the role of island researchers in preventing, mitigating and responding to natural disasters, as well as development paths and how they may worsen the vulnerabilities of islands.


Island societies vary extensively in their physical size and location, environmental conditions and natural resources, cultural, social, economic and political profiles, historical experiences, and relative insularity or peripherality.

This event will examine a possible shared role amongst island-dwellers in a globalizing world - their unique position to contribute to the study and creation of knowledge regarding the characteristics and abilities of small islands, and the potential for “small acts” which could respond to and be used to reduce their vulnerability.


Dr. Irene Novaczek is the newly appointed Director of the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI. A former board member for CUSO, she has been working as an independent scientific and research consultant in marine ecology and coastal community development.


Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino is the first Canada Research Chair in Island Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at UPEI. He is also visiting professor to the Department of Sociology at the University of Malta and the director of its’ Workers Development Centre.


UPEI history professor Dr. Edward MacDonald focuses his research on PEI history, placing it within a comparative context, regionally, nationally, and in terms of island societies. As well, he is interested in tourism here and the subject of cultural transference within immigrant groups coming to Atlantic Canada in the 18th- and 19th-centuries.


Professor Annie Spears is the coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies, and professor of economics at the University of Prince Edward Island.


The Gallery’s Culture Cafés are free forums for open dialogue on vital current issues. All are welcome. Coffee and refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Shauna McCabe, Senior Curator, at 629-1152.

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