Despite the attractions of living on an island, it has to be said that small islands, especially those located on the geographic margin, are susceptible to de-population and eventual abandonment.
Examples such as St Kilda are well-known, but perhaps the islands closer to the centres of population are perhaps less recognised.
Orkney is a vibrant, busy place that is attracting both people and cutting edge, technology-based companies. There is very little unemployment and yet there are islands in Orkney that have been abandoned in the recent past.
Two of those islands are very visible whenever visitors use one of the ferries that ply between the Scottish mainland and South Ronaldsay. The islands of Stroma and Swona have been abandoned completely within living memory. They are located in the middle of busy shipping lanes and yet are never visited. The gaunt remains of farmsteads, kirks, landing places and other structures are a witness to the changing demands of society. Countryfile’s Adam Henson visited the island in 2012 and the 2017 BBC2 documentary programme, Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney, detailed the haunting scenes that greet any travellers brave enough to sail across to Swona.
The islands of Orkney are fighting back and their future is looking brighter than at any time in the last thirty years as initiatives are increasingly developed to retain the population. Archaeology, art and the creative industries are playing an increasing role in these initiatives as training programmes are established that provide local inhabitants with the means to stay.
Our Islands, Our Past Conference Call For Papers
- Date: 14-17 September 2017
- Venue: Orkney
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 01856 569225
The conference will be a celebration of island Identities, collective traits and traditions, through aspects of recent and contemporary archaeology. This conference intends to contribute to the Scottish Government’s ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ agenda, initiated by the Local Authorities of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.
Please see our conference website for themes and further details.
We wish to encourage multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions that engage critically with Scottish islands’ archaeology, as well as comparative islands perspectives.
We invite papers, posters, exhibitions and installations. Abstracts of no more than 150 words together with name, e-mail and institution should be sent to: email@example.com.
Call for papers closes 30th April 2017.