April 2017, Grenfell researchers Brennan Lowery and Ukachi Okpara visited Fogo Island. The island is relevant to both students’ research: Ukachi’s Master of Arts research paper is investigating social capital on Fogo Island, and Brennan’s PhD research on sustainability monitoring in rural regions aims to conduct community-based research with local leaders on the island around measuring well-being in the communities on Fogo Island.
During their visit, Brennan and Ukachi received extraordinary hospitality, staying at a beautiful heritage home in Barr’d Islands owned by the Shorefast Foundation, receiving the same Community Orientation that guests of the Fogo Island Inn experience, and taking a private tour of the Inn. The students also met with the Town of Fogo Island and the Fogo Island Co-operative to discuss research collaboration opportunities, and had numerous informal conversations with local residents ranging from fishermen to local artisans.
The highlight of the visit by far was the Community Orientation, when a kind and knowledgeable resident of Tilting showed the students around the island, stopping at the wharf to discuss fisheries issues with fish harvesters, visiting a local artist and quiltmaker’s shop, and concluding with the well-known Phil’s Party Shed in Tilting.
Ukachi and Brennan are very grateful to all the residents with whom they spoke, as well as the Town of Fogo Island, the Fogo Island Co-operative Society Ltd., and the Shorefast Foundation for their hospitality.