INTANGIBLE: Understanding the socio-cultural dimensions of island population change in Scotland, England, Canada and Japan

The project deepens understanding of how island cultures are affected by population and demographic change.
Project status

The depopulation of subnational islands is a global phenomenon, and a range of initiatives aim at repopulation/revitalisation. Typically, these focus on increasing the number of migrants through improved jobs, housing and infrastructure. Less attention is paid to intangible aspects of shifting island populations, such as social and cultural change. Yet these socio-cultural dimensions are critical to the retention and integration of newcomers and the preservation of valuable cultural heritage.

To address this gap, we employ traditional and innovative methods in case study islands in Scotland, England, Canada and Japan. Following life history interviews with residents, we employ a novel ‘Photovoice+’ method, using photos, video and audio to give voice to experiences of socio-cultural change, to be incorporated into a film.

The project will culminate in island 'gatherings' at which the film will be screened and discussed, and crossnational policy guidelines co-created for addressing socio-cultural dimensions of island population change.

Principal Investigator: Dr Ruth Wilson, James Hutton Institute

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