The Archipelago Institute at Åbo Akademi University in Finland works on archipelago issues – having one of the world’s most extensive and unique archipelago areas on its doorstep.
The Archipelago Institute promotes sustainable development by coordinating projects and encouraging research and collaboration between organisations, authorities and islander, both regionally, nationally and on a European level. The strength and asset of the Archipelago Institute, founded in 1977, lies in the great interdisciplinary knowledge in archipelago related research available at the Åbo Akademi University.
One of the institute’s most important tasks is to popularise archipelago research carried out in our country. This is done, among other things, by issuing the publication “Tidskriften Skärgård” (in Swedish) four times a year, and by organizing the Forum for Archipelago Research twice a year.
The Archipelago Institute is continuously disseminating information as well as educating the concept of habitability, which is a tool for measuring and developing smaller island communities. In 2022–2023, the institute coordinates the national theme network Habitability with funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, where the Institute is building up a national network for islanders from all of Finland’s archipelago areas. We are also deeply involved in habitability analyses across Europe and provide training for local coaches.
During 2022–2024, the theme network “SALT – Archipelago and rural areas in collaboration” (link in Swedish) is being led by the Archipelago Institute. The network’s main goal is to increase children and young people’s sense of home through the educational concept of the Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve. This network is financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The Archipelago Institute has always been widely used by many actors as a referral body and advisor in all kinds of matters affecting the archipelago: regional and national archipelago programs, EU programs such as Leader, as an expert body by the media, organisations, municipalities, researchers, and authorities.
The list of projects, collaborations, courses, and seminars organised during the institute’s more than 45-year history is long. Almost everything that has been carried out over the decades has been done exclusively with external funds. In recent years, the institute has been involved in the largest project to date: the St Olav Waterway, with a budget of 1.5 million Euro. The result is the completed St. Olofs Waterway from Turku to Trondheim in Norway.
The activities of the Archipelago Institute are part of the Center for Lifelong Learning at Åbo Akademi University.