I conducted a research visit via North2North programme at the Aarhus University in April 2016. There were three reasons why I decided to use the opportunity given by the North2North programme. First, I wanted to interact with the scholars of one of the best political science faculties in Nordic countries. I was in particular interested in the department’s work on policy analysis and the European Union policymaking. Both aspects are central to my doctoral research, which is focused on the EU’s Arctic policy. In my work, I attempt to look at the policymaking for large transnational regions from a novel perspective – as coherence-enhancing practice – and it is of critical importance that I can have my ideas challenged by scholars outside of the University of Lapland. Second, I wished to use rich library resources of the Aarhus University. Third, I wanted to share the story – at least in my opinion an interesting story – of the EU’s presence in the Arctic. I was given a chance to lecture in two courses on the history of the European Union.
In my opinion, the research exchange achieved all the three objectives. Interaction with the researchers at the Department of Political Science indeed shook a bit some of my ideas. But it also provided me with a couple of possible interesting pathways forward. Is it not what research exchange is about? I was also able to share with the Aarhus scholars a few thoughts on the developments taking place in the Arctic and on the nature of the EU Arctic policy. Time spent in a library also proved beneficial. I managed to find a couple of positions potentially of key importance for my work, books and articles I would be unlikely to come across through googlescholar search. And finally, the interaction with students at the Department of History was a particularly enriching experience, as they proved to be interested in the developments taking place in the North and already very knowledgeable about the EU’s place in international affairs.
However, realizing these objectives would not be possible without amazing welcome I received at the Department of Political Science and the Department of History. Introduced by professors Rasmus Pedersen and Thorsten Olesen, I was able to set up a working space within one hour from my arrival. I was invited to department meetings. Through interactions with departments’ staff, I learnt how different academic cultures can be, even within the Nordic countries. (I also enjoyed quite a significant amount of very good espresso available in the department’s staff lounge.) The support from international office made all the administrative burdens unbelievably light. Aarhus itself is an amazing university town with great art and museums (including famous Moesgaard), and the university campus is a particularly enjoyable space.
Many thanks to Aarhus, North2North and the Univeristy of the Arctic! Highly recommended.