Scottish Island Futures – 2050 and beyond

Four Workshops in 2023 Exploring the Future of the Scottish Islands

With the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 and the current £100 million Islands Growth Deal, Scottish society is becoming more aware of the importance of the Scottish islands. However, what future awaits them? The UHI Institute of Northern Studies is delivering four themed workshops that will research potential futures, exploring their demographic challenges, their large-scale renewable power generation projects, space centres, rich cultural heritages, and creative industries. The workshops will involve expert island researchers from Scotland, Ireland, and members of the UArctic Thematic Network Arctic and Northern Islands Research from the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Canada and Finland. The experts will engage with islanders during the workshops, conference and on the INS website.

The following core questions will be addressed:

  • How will vibrant, successful island populations be maintained into the future?
  • What level of autonomy will best serve the island communities going forward?
  • How can the islanders best engage with the changing environment?
  • How can islands become sustainable, and how can large-scale developments be absorbed by small island communities?
  • What role will island cultures and languages have in future scenarios?

The four workshops will be as follows:

1.The Future of Core Periphery Relationships – 3 February 2023, 13:30 to 16:30

This streamed session will focus on island governance. What is the nature of the relationship between islands and their metropoles i.e. Edinburgh and London. Are there better models of governance? Is island autonomy a goal to be strived for?

Full details and booking here.

2. Speaking of the Future – the Role of Language, Culture and Heritage – 3 March 2023

This workshop will be held in the Outer Hebrides and will examine the role of the indigenous culture and languages in supporting vibrant communities. Is there a future for Gaelic and the Northern Isles dialects?

3. Future Sustainable Communities – exploring the scope and scale of island development – 21 April 2023

This workshop will be held in Orkney and will examine the optimum level of development for islands. Ought they to be industrialised, or should the focus be on small scale development, such as support for the creative industries?

4. Networking for the Future – islands doing it for themselves – 12 May 2023

This online workshop will focus on inter-island discourse, and the creation of island focussed networks. Island communities can establish links with each other, without involving the centre. What will be the future for islands if this trend continues?

The workshops are intended to have a direct impact on Scottish island communities, bolstering islander agency, supporting islanders to make informed decisions and to maximise their potential, while minimising the effects of future threats, and helping them to chart a course to a sustainable, vibrant future. They are also intended to have an impact on policy makers and informing local and National Government policies.

2 thoughts on “Scottish Island Futures – 2050 and beyond

  1. Theresa Nelson

    Hi there,

    I am looking at the 4 workshops listed under Scottish Islands Futures 2050 and Beyond. I submitted an application to SIF in December on behalf of Bute Community Council. I haven’t had any response as yet and am wondering if BCC might be able to get access to a recording of the initial meeting and sign up for future meetings, even before our membership goes through?

    thanks very much, Theresa Nelson, secretary Bute Community Council

    • Kirsten Gow

      Hi Thelma

      I am one of the board members for the Scottish Islands Federation and have only just seen the message you left on our website about the island futures events. Apologies for the delay in responding.

      These are run by UHI and the best person to speak to is Andrew Jennings –

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