Proposed Sessions

Arctic Nomadism: Heritage, Usage, Knowledge

Affiliation: Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) | Country: Russia | Organizer(s): Andrei Golovnev

For centuries the Arctic was the space where nomadic tradition survived and implied the practice and knowledge of mobile spatio-temporal strategies, values and techniques of migration, “reindeer thinking,” and the rhythms of ecological and social behavior. Mobility is the key characteristic of the people of high latitudes, the algorithm of their culture, in which dynamics dominates over the statics. In many cultures of the Arctic the migration was considered prosperity, and the sedentary life – a calamity. Today Arctic nomads experience the impacts of both climate and technological matters. A study on nomadism would previously be difficult due to the lack of means for its documentation. The visual and virtual revolution brought along new instruments for migratory lifestyle observation, i.e. cartography, GPS-monitoring and visual tracking, which provide the sufficient means to record and represent a nomadic tradition as the pivotal part of the Arctic cultural heritage.

Arctic policy-making

Affiliation: UiT The Arctic University of Norway | Country: Norway | Organizer(s): Aileen A. Espiritu, Marc Lanteigne, Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv

As the Arctic begins to assume a more prominent role in international affairs, Arctic governments seek to deepen their engagement in the region in the areas of environmental policy and human security. At the same time, a growing list of non-Arctic states seek to develop and strengthen their own Arctic identities, in policy documents, and expanded participation in Track II regional regimes. The development of Arctic identities has been crucial for the Arctic Council observers from Asia -- granted that status in 2013, namely China, India, Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea. The Asia-Arctic Five (AA5) hurriedly constructed their Arctic policies despite much less developed histories in the region compared to European observers. This has been especially challenging in the case of China, which has brought forward to concept of the country being a ‘near-Arctic state’, and arguing that certain areas of Arctic governance, including in economic affairs, should not be restricted to those states specifically in the region. These views have played out in several parts of the far north, notably Russia, seeking to act as a bridge between Asian and European Arctic interests, as well as Greenland, which emerged as a fledgling arena for great power rivalries involving China, the United States and the EU. These events have advanced the question of how best to define an Arctic stakeholder, as well as how the challenges of the Arctic’s opening affect changes in political culture not only in the Arctic itself, but within the AA5 as well.

Are we really post-colonial? Exploring the lasting impacts of colonization on schools across the Arctic

Affiliation: University of Alaska Fairbanks | Country: United States | Organizer(s): Douglas Cost, Diane Hirshberg

There are numerous discussions about the decolonizing of social and political structures in supposedly post-colonial societies. However, while Indigenous peoples are gaining more recognition of their rights and sovereignty internationally, have we actually shaken the dispositions of a colonial mindset in the field of education? In this session we invite colleagues to join us in exploring the impact of lingering structures of colonization in formal schooling and how education policies dating back to colonization perpetuate barriers to inclusive and equitable education across the Arctic.

Art-based research on changing Arctic

Affiliation: University of Lapland | Country: Finland | Organizer(s): Mirja Hiltunen, Maria Huhmarniemi

There are an increasing number of development and research projects involving collaboration between art, education, crafts and the social sciences. In addition, the approach of art-based research has become more common in various disciplines, including the social sciences. We are interested in multidisciplinary research on change in the Arctic, sustainability, intergenerational dialogue, and revitalisation of traditions. In this session, we discuss current opportunities, challenges and results of art and social sciences cooperation and art-based research in the field. We ask, how revitalisation could be understood, supported and studied in relation to post-colonial (formal and informal) education, when traditions are continued and reformed in a cross-generational manner. The focus is on people and places in the Arctic and on socially and environmentally engaged art and education, as well as on arts and designs strategies recognizing past, present and future generations of Arctic residents. The session addresses the conceptions of intergenerational learning too, being central to the field of community based art education.

Artificial Intelligence for Natural Language Processing and Research

Affiliation: Northern (Arctic) Federal University | Country: Russia | Organizer(s): Higher School of Social Sciences, Humanities and International Communication, NArFU

This session is an interactive one focusing on promising practices and research on a wide range of fields from Neural Machine Translation to Neurolinguistics. Participants in this session will contribute to the discussion on different topics of multilingualism, translation studies, language acquisition, and other spheres where Artificial Intelligence is used. The session will make connections between ideas and concepts across different disciplinary boundaries. Nowadays, it is of particular interest as scientific breakthroughs and significant scientific solutions are often due to an interdisciplinary approach. The Arctic is the ideal place for the international collaboration. Using Artificial Intelligence for Natural Language Processing and Research we can raise the effectiveness of intercultural communication.

Breaking new ground: Indigenous self-determination and the vexing matter of “territory”

Affiliation: University of Bergen | Country: Norway | Organizer(s): Aaron Spitzer, Per Selle

Since at least the Treaty of Westphalia, sovereignty and territorial authority have been seen to go hand in hand. But the possibility, and indeed desirability, of overlap between “people” and “place” has been challenged – not least by Indigenous decolonization. Moreso than elsewhere, such decolonization manifests in the circumpolar North. Hence, in the North we can study the (mis)match between Indigenous sovereignty and territory. Questions abound: How should territorial authority be reconciled where Indigenous and “settler” populations are mixed? Does thinking of territory “like a state” liberate or assimilate Indigenous peoples? Does Indigenous territory belong to individuals or collectives – and what level of collective? What is to be done where Indigenous land-claims overlap? How do we cope with mobility – for example, of nomadic reindeer herders? Are Indigenous rights portable outside of home territories – to Anchorage, Oslo or Moscow? Within Indigenous territories, do Indigenous governments have authority over “settlers”?

BRICS in the Arctic: a new global/regional player?

Affiliation: St. Petersburg State University | Country: Russia | Organizer(s): Alexander Sergunin

The proposed panel will examine BRICS’ growing role in Arctic cooperation. The BRICS partners tend to expand their cooperation from global issues such as finance, trade, climate change mitigation and security to the regional governance problematique, including the Arctic. The institutional factors, such as Russia’s full-fledged membership in the Arctic Council and China’s and India’s AC observer status, facilitate BRICS’ participation in the Arctic cooperation.

The panel will focus on discussing issues, such as (a) incentives for BRICS cooperation on the Arctic; (b) opportunities/potential venues for cooperation (natural resources exploration and development; transportation (maritime and cross-polar air routes); climate change mitigation/environment protection; social/humanitarian issues (including indigenous peoples; civil society’s role, etc.)); (c) barriers to cooperation; (d) implications for the regional governance system.

BRICS countries’ individual Arctic strategies will be examined as well.

Children and Uncertain Futures: The Ethics of Research with Youth in a Changing Arctic

Affiliation: Ilisimatusarfik, Binghamton University (SUNY), McGill University | Country: United States | Organizer(s): Jette Rygaard, Susan Vanek, and Marianne Stenbaek

Youth in the Arctic face challenges undreamt of by previous generations. Large-scale changes only beginning to take shape today will unfold during the lifetime of the region’s youth, bringing disruption with the past as well as uncertainty as to the future. Studies examining the struggles faced by children in Arctic are, thus, imperative as is the necessity to protect the rights of youth involved in such research. This session will explore the ethics of working with youth in the Arctic and discuss methods for conducting such research, including the inclusion of participants and communities in research, insurance of consent, mitigation of risks, dissemination of research, and distribution of benefits. Papers will draw on examples of research involving youth from across the Arctic, highlighting challenges encountered when conducting research with children and youth as well as innovative and inclusive research designs, methods, and overall ethical considerations.

Citizens participation in low-density contexts

Affiliation: Centre for Social Studies of Coimbra University | Country: Portugal | Organizer(s): Giovanni Allegretti and Begoña Dorronsoro

Citizens participation is fundamental in the construction of the quality of our democracies, effectiveness of policies and trust in representative institutions and the role of science. Only recently, literature started to engage in studying how civic engagement can differ in Northern contexts, especially with polar environment and low density of inhabitants, which apparently do not favour community-gathering in public spaces, and tend to mainly rely on the use of ICT technologies from remote. Recent studies on Iceland and Finland, as well on experiences of Participatory Budgeting in Siberian regions of the Russian Federation make clear that specific methodological settings can help to overcome a certain inertia and limitations posed by the natural/social context in order to create spaces of deliberation based on profitable face-to-face interactions among citizens and with institutions. This session aim to connect studies and experiments in arctic areas, viewing citizens participation both as a way to improve the quality of polity, and a necessary space for reconstructing identities and cultural awareness in post-colonial settings. We are interested in understanding how different methodologies, forms of political support and catalysers coming from the domain of art impact different experiences and their results. Particularly, we encourage to participate those who are interested to participatory and deliberative experiences applied on Climate Change and Climate Justice issues, where participation can complexify/modify behaviours and attitudes for adopting new collective models of development and life in community.

Climate Change and International Relations in the Arctic Region: Contradictory Effects

Affiliation: NRU HSE, University of Lapland | Country: Russia, Finland | Organizer(s): Anastasia Likhacheva, Dmitry Suslov, Vassily Kashin, Daria Boklan, Andrey Skriba, Lassi Heininen, Jeremy Tasch

The session tends to be interdisciplinary, representing the intersection of international relations and law, geography, and climate change studies. Today, the social and economic effects of climate change are actively discussed, but its international political aspects are also of great importance due to challenges to special legal Arctic regimes. For the first time, for Russia, the United States, and other Arctic countries non-traditional security threats like climate change can lead to direct traditional threats related to ice melting and military activities, revision of international law on shipping rules in the Arctic, issues of international responsibility for the regulation of border ecosystems, etc. In recent years, Arctic and non-arctic states are increasingly active on Arctic agenda articulating and promoting national interests in the region. At the same time, Arctic international cooperation and the capacity-building of Arctic institutions crucial for the climate change adaptation and the future of the region demand rethinking especially in the light of the increased global political and military confrontation between Russia, the US and NATO, China. Otherwise, the chance for a shared constructive agenda for the Arctic future will melt as rapidly as the Arctic ice.

Co-creation of knowledge and co-design in Arctic research projects: re-thinking calls, seed money and evaluation criteria of funding organisations

Affiliation: EU-PolarNet / Arctic Centre University of Groningen | Country: Netherlands | Organizer(s): Renuka Badhe, Brigt Dale, Nina Döring, Kirsi Latola, Amanda Lynch, Merete Omma, Andrey Petrov, Gertrude Saxinger, Annette Scheepstra

Equity-based research collaboration between Indigenous rights holders and Arctic researchers from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities has been intensely debated. As a result, ethics and research principles have been developed, but extensive implementation is still lacking. Funding organisations play a crucial role in steering Arctic research into an inclusive direction through setting the terms for the implementation of co-creation and co-design principles in Arctic research. This session aims to discuss how funding agencies can better support the co-creation of Arctic research projects by asking these questions: How can formulation of calls foster co-creation? What are suitable criteria for evaluating this approach in applications? Do we need specific means to support this process, e.g. providing seed-funding for jointly designed applications? This session invites funding organisations, evaluators, Indigenous rights holders and researchers to discuss feasible models for fostering co-creation of knowledge in the Arctic.

Collaborating on a Second Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic

Affiliation: Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage | Country: United States | Organizer(s): Katie Cueva, Birger Poppel, MarieKathrine Poppel, Vernae Angnaboogok, Jon Petter Stoor, Gunn-Britt Retter, Selma Ford, Tukumminnguaq Olsen, Sveta Yamin-Pasternak, Eduard Zdor

A collaboration of international Indigenous researchers and organizations, as well as academics, has worked to coordinate a second Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA-2). The first SLiCA surveyed Arctic Indigenous communities in Alaska, Chukotka, Canada, Sweden, Greenland, Norway, and the Kola Peninsula through face-to-face interviews on aspects of the economy, health and living conditions. This session will present progress thus far on the collaboration towards a second SLiCA, including an introduction to Indigenous-led surveys in each region that may incorporate SLiCA. The session will also facilitate a discussion on priorities for comparability/regionally-specific data, areas of living conditions that are important to remain consistent since the first SLiCA, as well as new areas of interest, and areas that may no longer be relevant to Arctic communities.

Critical Arctic Studies Revisited

Affiliation: Arctic Centre, University of Lapland | Country: Finland | Organizer(s): Monica Tennberg, Marjo Lindroth and Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen

The proposed session “Critical Arctic Studies Revisited” invites presentations that engage with contemporary critical social theories and concepts – approaches that are still largely lacking in the social scientific research of the Arctic. What kind of new and/or alternative research approaches are needed for studying the complexities of Arctic social developments? How could we examine aspects of contemporary developments that are less “known”, such as questions related to sexuality, the relationship between rights and power and the connections between affects and resources. The session revisits and advances discussions started at the ICASS VIII in 2014. In addition to fostering conceptual discussions, we welcome empirical analyses of different Arctic phenomena. The ICASS X conference will offer a great opportunity to (re)connect researchers conducting critical research, to present current research to a greater audience, and also to consider future cooperation.

Destabilizing Arctic Knowledge through Interdisciplinary Education

Affiliation: Durham University | Country: United Kingdom | Organizer(s): Philip Steinberg

The Arctic is increasingly heralded as a region that upends the conventions of singular academic disciplines. Arctic indigenous knowledge systems bring additional dimensions to the hegemony of Western thought; the region’s exceptionally dynamic geophysical environment challenges binary divisions that segment the world into discrete categories; its ecology is inextricably linked with political, economic, and climatic uncertainties; persistent mythologies and preconceptions interfere with research that aspires to objectivity. The Arctic thus is a region that requires new modes of knowing, and this session proposes an interdisciplinary approach as a means of achieving this. An interdisciplinary approach goes beyond crossing the boundaries of academic disciplines; it also challenges boundaries between the “Western” and the “indigenous”, between the practical and the conceptual, between the regionally specific and the seemingly universal. Session participants explore how an interdisciplinary approach, in both teaching and research, can foster the boundary-crossing ways of knowing that are crucial to understand and sensitively intervene in a dynamic, complex, and ever-changing Arctic.

Domesticating landscapes: Re-considering settlers perspectives on the Arctic cities through ArtScience collaboration

Affiliation: George Washinston University | Country: United States | Organizer(s): Vera Kuklina, Olga Zaslavskaya

Cities in the Arctic have long been the agents of colonization, built by settlers mostly for resource extraction and expansion of geopolitical power. However, settlers arriving to tame nature have developed attachment to place, and for many, it became their home. Adapting to extreme climate and environment, settlers domesticated landscape consciously and/or unconsciously to conform to their images of “normal city”, values and aesthetic preferences based on available resources. These practices and experience may serve as sources of resilience in the age of Anthropocene when human ability to transform nature has reached the highest point. This session aims to elaborate on human-nature relations in the Arctic cities using ArtScience collaboration to mutually reinforce both research and creative process.

Through discussion in the form of a round-table and presentation of the digital ArtScience website prototype we will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of domestication of landscape for urban sustainability.