2016 marked the first year of Our Alaskan Stories, a program designed to teach Mt. Edgecumbe High School students about video and audio storytelling while looking at their hometowns through a different lens. 

6 fellows. 7 weeks. 57.05306 N, -135.33 W.             
The Sitka Fellows Program brings together some of the most exciting, promising talent across all fields and disciplines to spend a summer residency at the Sheldon Jackson Campus in Sitka, Alaska. We look for visionaries of all stripes: frame-busting, independent thinkers who wish to immerse themselves in their work alongside smart, enthusiastic young people from radically different backgrounds.

"The residency gave me the much needed time and space to complete the first draft of my novel. That in itself was significant. But in addition I had the opportunity to be a guest of the community – to meet new people and a new culture and to enjoy the hospitality of my hosts and their friends and people I met… I also loved the experience of being in such an extraordinary natural environment and one that is so different to where I come from… It was a completely unforgettable and wonderful experience that I will always treasure."      ---Jesse Blackadder, September 2007 Resident, Fiction, Australia

You really don’t know how much of an impact these symposia have had in catalyzing understanding for so many of us. Thank you for creating both the opportunity and the safe haven for authentic discourse.

Established in 2014, The Sitka Story Lab is a place where young Sitkan writers ages 7-19 can tell their stories, practice their writing skills, and unleash their imaginations. Our programs are free of charge and open to everyone. We believe that storytelling is an essential art form, especially for young people. It builds confidence, fosters important skills, and strengthens interpersonal connections. We aim to empower youth to think creatively and express themselves with clarity and purpose.

The Island Institute has worked on a variety of other projects over the years. Explore those here! 

Writers Read is a near-monthly event showcasing local literary artists in Sitka. Since starting up in 2011, over fifty local writers of diverse experience levels and genres have read their work for a supportive live audience.