So, here’s an interesting idea. Reading about island studies and definitions, I came across the idea of the ‘aquapelago’. This term is used by Hayward (2012) in an article in Shima: The international Journal of Research into Island Cultures’.
In his article, Hayward notes that the term ‘archipelago’: ‘has increasingly come to define the land area of a group of islands within a sea’ (p.3). In this definition the sea is simply the boundary that delineates the island. However, as he notes, the sea itself in terms of the sea-shore, the inner waters and more distant sea spaces, are themselves vital to the constitution of island identities. Therefore he proposes a new term ‘aquapelago’. He states: ‘I propose the latter term in order to provide an expanded concept of the territory and human experience of an intermeshed and interactive marine/land environment’ (p.5).
MV Eynhallow: many jobs in Orkney and Shetland may actually be based in the physical space of the sea rather than on the land itself.
This idea particularly appealed to me following the paper I wrote about the role of the sea in the career paths of people in Orkney and Shetland (which I have previously blogged about). In this paper I talked about how the range of sea-based careers available in island communities (and Orkney and Shetland in particular) may influence the choices of young people. Hayward’s concept of ‘aquapelagos’ perhaps appeals because when we talk about ‘careers in Orkney or Shetland’ we are also talking about careers that predominantly take place in the waters around Orkney or Shetland…
Hayward, P. (2012) ‘Aquapelagos and Aquapelagic Assemblages: Towards an integrated study of island societies and marine environments’ Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures vol. 6 no. 1