Investing in Island Recovery: Archipelagic Approaches to Sustainable Living

Venue: Saxa Vord Resort

Location: Unst, Shetland, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: Apr 18, 2012 End Date/Time: Apr 22, 2012
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Investing in Small Island Recovery:
Archipelagic Approaches to Sustainable Living
Unst, Shetland, UK, 18–22 April 2012

Small islands are vulnerable to depopulation, distant governance, and retrenchment of investment caused by fluctuations in the wider economy. Through excursions and presentations, this conference will explore various public-, private-, and community-led strategies for overcoming these challenges. We will also consider the respective merits of development initiatives that focus on individual villages, whole islands, or entire archipelagos. This event is designed for individuals from academia, business, local government, and the community.

From our base at Saxa Vord in Unst (the northernmost inhabited island in the UK), we will investigate social and economic development initiatives taking place in the North Isles of Shetland. Our excursions in Unst will take us to local retailers and producers, to heritage museums, to community halls, to a renewable energy centre, to a new pier – and to abandoned settlements and ruined churches that are eloquent of past depopulation and rural decline. Saxa Vord itself represents an industry-led attempt to create a resort and business hub on the premises of the Royal Air Force base that once helped support Unst’s economy. We will also visit the island of Fetlar, where the Fetlar Development Trust is working to create jobs and reverse long-term decline that saw the island’s population drop to around 40 residents in early 2009.

The final days of the conference will be devoted to presentations and discussion forums that will provide interested Shetlanders the opportunity to learn about development efforts in other island communities and how these experiences might inform future initiatives in Shetland.

The call for papers will be released in spring 2011. More information will be available soon at Due the nature of the event, places will be limited. Please e-mail expressions of interest to the convenor Adam Grydehøj (


Saxa Vord
United Kingdom