Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments

1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic

Principal Convener: Laura Sokka (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)

The session will be focused on the various aspects of the climate change and its impact on the Arctic environment and society. A special emphasis will be attended on the social and economic consequences of the observed and expected climate change.

Objective of the session: to discuss questions of interconnected processes in the Arctic environment in order to predict perspective complications and/or their beneficial effects on the sustainability of the region. We suggest discussing and welcoming speakers on the following topics:
-Recent theories of the climate change in the Arctic
-Climate monitoring in the Arctic and observed tendencies in components of the Arctic climate system
-Dynamics in land cover physical/chemical/biological/geophysical properties in the Arctic
-Trends in solar activity, atmospheric constituents and cloudiness in the Arctic
-Variations in ocean biota and water physical/chemical properties in the Arctic
-Changes in atmospheric, river, and cover pollutions in the Arctic
-Economic consequences of climate change in the Arctic
-Climate change as a driver in energetic industry development in the Arctic
-Impact of climate variations on migration activity and population water and meals supply in the Arctic
-Losses and benefits related to warming and cooling periods in the Arctic
-Impact of climate trends on human health in the Arctic
-Decision making in warming and cooling periods in the Arctic management
-Atmosphere-sea-ice climate system of the Arctic and its impact on economic and social conditions in high latitude domains.

1.2 Fresh Water in the Arctic Climate System: Consequences of Global Climate Change and Future Projections of the Arctic Environment

Principal Convener: Dmitry Dukhovskoy (Florida State University)

Observational data show that the Arctic Ocean environment has significantly and rapidly changed over the last few decades - change which is unprecedented in the observational record. One of the most prominent signs of Arctic climate change in recent years has been a reduction in both sea ice extent and thickness. The Greenland Ice Sheet and other Arctic land ice are melting at a rate that has dramatically increased since the early 1990s. Less obvious, yet not less important is increasing freshwater flux into the Arctic Ocean related to the sea ice and land ice melt. Accelerating ice melt exerts a significant impact on thermohaline processes in the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic. Observational studies indicate that freshwater content in the Beaufort Gyre of the Arctic Ocean has been increasing since the early 2000s. The volume of surplus freshwater discharge from Greenland into the sub-Arctic seas since 1990 is approaching the magnitude of the freshwater anomaly (10,000 km3) advected into the North Atlantic during the 1970 Great Salinity Anomaly event, suggesting that this freshwater source may have significant impact on ocean conditions in the region. Recently several studies have hypothesized that growing Greenland freshwater flux can also impact thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic and influence the natural climate variability of the Arctic and global climate. In addition to this, release of excess freshwater currently stored in the Beaufort Gyre can cause another Great Salinity Anomaly event leading to dramatic change in regional and global climate. Consequences of future climate change for commerce and ecosystem in the Arctic are elusive. Of essential importance to our understanding of the evolving Arctic system, and its impact on the global environment, is to discern the role and consequences of increasing freshwater flux into the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic.

This session will bring together results from numerical modeling, observational studies, and theoretical investigation addressing problems related to the role of freshwater in Arctic and global climate change. Possible topics include: Pathways and time scales of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic; Sensitivity of terhmohaline circulation to freshwater flux; Relationship between sea ice and freshwater content in the ocean; Economical and environmental consequences of accelerated ice melt and increased freshwater flux.

1.3 Siberian Inland Waters: Vulnerability to Global Change and Human Impact

Principal Convener: Sergey Kirpotin (National Research Tomsk State University)

There is a large need of assessment of the importance of inland waters for the C cycle of Siberia, including C exchange with the atmosphere and riverine export of land based C to coastal regions. Here we invite talks from various fields including e.g. aquatic biogeochemistry, hydrology, permafrost dynamics and remote sensing that together will advance understanding the effects of warming on C fluxes. The session will discuss the climate, and other, impacts on the role of lakes, streams and flow pathways for atmospheric CO2 and CH4 emission, as well as lateral C export, in Siberia. The outcome of discussions will be of importance for stakeholders and the scientific community as this will provide new insights of the role of inland waters in the C cycle in one of the least tudied but largest terrestrial northern ecosystems in the world.

We also would like to invite talks that discuss various research approaches needed to address urgent questions. Part of Western Siberia could be viewed as a natural mega-science facility with, owing to the development of oil and gas complex, has the most developed infrastructure in the ArcticThis well-developed infrastructure (good road network) provides unprecedented access to the region for researches and field experiments. Thus, Western Siberia is a key region and for studying both the fundamental questions of interaction of climate and permafrost and considering the practical aspects of these changes and evaluation of these social impacts. For other regions in Siberia, the possibilities for extended field collection of data are more difficult, implying a need for development of new methods and initiatives.

1.4 Vulnerability of Arctic Communities to Natural Disasters

Principal Convener: John Eichelberger (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

In the context of current international Arctic discussions, the risk of disaster from extreme natural events has received little attention. In fact it is human nature to ignore disasters until they occur, despite the general understanding that preventative measures can save lives and assets and enhance resilience.

Some disasters have the same characteristics across all climatic regions of Earth, such as earthquakes. Others tend to be worse in cold climates, such as catastrophic melting of glaciers on volcanoes and wildfires in Boreal forests. Still others are largely restricted to the North, such as ice-jam floods and geomagnetic storms. Special concerns are that much of the Arctic is a great distance from where help and supplies must come and the short time window for rescuing survivors in extreme cold. Mitigating the risk of natural disaster is complementary to other Arctic themes. In common with climate change, continuous monitoring of the environment is important, though with a view towards forecasting near-term acute events rather than long-term changes. In common with Search and Rescue (SAR), preplanning an international response for is necessary, though victims may not need to be searched for and they may be more numerous. Perhaps the most important mitigating measure is to minimize vulnerability in the design phase of critical infrastructure, whether large ports or rural sanitation systems.

This session will examine the characteristics of principal natural hazards in the Arctic and provide examples of successful and failed practicies in mitigating disaster risk. The conveners will provide a brief summary discussion following presentations that include eminent experts on natural hazards.

1.5 Assessment of Environmental Impact of Industrial Activities in the Arctic

Principal Convener: Lars Lövgren (Umeå University)

The Arctic has for long received an ever increasing attention from the industrialised countries, not the least as a source of various natural resources. The oil and gas industry as well as the fishing industry is strongly established in the Arctic. Also mining has been ongoing for a long period in certain areas. The increasing global demand for metals, not the least less common metals utilised in the modern society, such as rare earth metals, has resulted in growing international interest in finding and exploiting mineral resources wherever available. Since extraction of raw materials generally are associated to significant environmental impact there are great concerns that such activities in the vulnerable Arctic environment will cause substantial adverse effects in this region. There is definitely a need for improved methods for both assessing the environmental risks and impact connected to extraction of raw materials and to develop new and improved techniques to remediate effected areas.

Assessment of the environmental impact requires access to toolboxes involving a multitude of scientific and technical methods. In the risk assessment a wide range of chemical, physical and biological/toxicological aspects are to be considered. The proposed session would provide an opportunity for researchers and also consultancies in the area to share experiences and results. A particular objective would be to elucidate technical and scientific issues related to the vulnerable Arctic environment.

1.6 Strategies for Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Environmental Management of Soils and Contaminated Areas in the Arctic

Principal Conveners: Lars Lövgren (Umeå University), Eva-Maria Pfeiffer (Institute of Soil Science, CEN, Universität Hamburg)

The Arctic has in the recent decades been increasingly affected by industry development, such as mining and extraction of hydrocarbons, and logistics. At the same time, pronounced climatic changes have occurred affecting the environmental quality. It is of critical importance that there is an environmental management of the vulnerable Arctic region based on scientific knowledge.

Investigations of soil functioning in polar environments are crucial for the development of strategies for sustainable environmental management in response to anthropogenic disturbances and climatic changes. Emissions from industrial activities and transportation and their effects on biota must be minimized by taking measures relevant for the Arctic conditions: a dry and cold climate, extreme light conditions, a commonly less developed infrastructure, suitable geologic materials and industrial residues (ashes, sewage sludge etc) useful in remediation of e.g. mining waste are not as accessible as in more southern areas.

The proposed session aims to create a forum for sharing of experiences among scientists and engineers concerning methods to reduce the environmental burden caused by past and current industrial activities in the Arctic. Different methods to remediate industry grounds and waste deposits can be presented as well as different methods to monitor and assess the effect of different remedial activities. Critical soil ecosystem services in polar regions will be discussed, such as carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas cycle regulation, soil as a filter and buffer for contaminants, regulation of water movement and water quality in catchment basins, regulation of microorganism biodiversity and storage of genetic information, and regulation of the environmental state of polar regions.

1.7 Invasive Species in Arctic Ecosystems in the Changing World: Is it a real threat?

Principal Convener: Aleksandr Egorov (St. Petersburg State University)

Arctic ecosystems are quite vulnerable to disturbances associated with the invasion of undesirable species; however, harsh climatic conditions represent not only a barrier to the penetration of undesirable species, but also act as a barrier to mass outbreaks of pests and epidemics of diseases.

The current climate changes and anthropogenic activity often promote northward directed changes of ranges of animals, plants and pathogens. Such range changes and invasions are real threats for northern taiga and subarctic ecosystems which can lead to weakening or even extinction of edificatory plants that form the key ecosystems. For instance, the four-eyed bark beetle Polygraphus proximus that normally feeds on firs (Abies spp.) was occasionally introduced from the Far East of Russia into the Western part of Siberia and, ultimately, into European Russia. Currently, the pest has invaded in European Russia and several areas in Siberia covering an area of approximately 30 000 ha, and it has caused significant tree mortality of Siberian fir. The EPPO Panel on Quarantine Pests for Forestry has recommended P. proximus to be included in the EPPO Alert List. Outbreak scale and frequency of other bark beetle species such as Ips typographus, Tomicus piniperda and T. minor are increasing in the last 15 years in northern parts of their ranges. Pathogen fungi Graphium ulmi caused death of thousands of elm trees in Scandinavia and St.Petersburg (NW Russia) during the last 25 years. Invasion of another fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is also a real threat for existence of ash trees in Northern Europe. The pine ematodes are also becoming to be a real threat for pines of northern taiga.

Undesirable plants can easily be carried to the north by different means. At the first stage of invasion, the spread of invasive plants is likely to be limited by rural places. Do they represent a real threat to the local ecosystems at this stage? How the situation will develop in future under conditions of changing climate and increasing human disturbance?

The key questions for presentations and discussions:
(1) invasion of species of fungi, plants and animals in the Arctic region;
(2) potential of invasive species as real threat for plants and ecosystems of Arctic; assessment of the vulnerability and resilience of Arctic environments to these treats;
(3) prediction of the impact of invasive pathogen organisms’ activity on northern taiga and arctic ecosystems;
(4) perspectives of scientific cooperation in the field.

1.8 Novel Approaches to Communicate Research Facts and Predictions of the Future of Arctic Marine Biota to Non-Scientific Stakeholders

Principal Convener: Dieter Piepenburg (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research)

Environmental changes, such as ocean warming and acidification, as well as sea-ice decline, are significantly affecting Arctic marine systems at variable scales in space and time. Increasing human activities, such as resource exploration/exploitation, ship traffic, and tourism, add further pressures. Substantial effects on marine biota from sea surface to seafloor are expected, leading to shifts in all ecosystem functions and services.

Understanding and projecting the profound ecological consequences of these environmental changes at a panArctic scale are current research priorities, with large-scale and transdiscplinary data integration being one of the major approaches.

In addition, there is a challenge to convey the conclusions and predictions of the research efforts to a variety of other societal stakeholders, ranging from students to decision-makers. Developing and implementing appropriate approaches of education and outreach to address this task is crucial in the process of translating science-based knowledge to ecosystem-based management regimes that are necessary to mitigate the ecological and economic consequences of ongoing and future environmental change.

Our session aims to provide a forum for (i) reviewing ongoing/planned efforts of developing information systems for both scientific and non-scientific users, (ii) pinpointing fields/opportunities of international and transdisciplinary collaboration in such efforts, (iii) showcasing advantages and possible applications, (iv) discussing technical aspects of publicly accessible information systems, (v) exploring implications for the development of appropriate ecosystem-based management measures and identifying priority decision-making issues that are at the interface of science and environmental management, and (vi) identifying priority issues (technical, legal, etc.) to be solved yet. The session will demonstrate the huge benefits of promoting international pan-Arctic data-integration efforts and developing publicly accessible information systems for education and outreach purposes.

Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies

2.1 The Role of Law and Institutions in Arctic Transformation Process

Principal Conveners: Timo Koivurova (Arctic Centre/University of Lapland), Natalia Prisekina (Far Eastern Federal University)

Legal systems are of much importance from the viewpoint of how Arctic regions develop, given that almost any issue-area is governed by law (in various levels). Legal regulation is an important part of how the region develops. Contemporary social and economic processes evolving in the North call for legal regulations; community of scholars should conduct research for fruitful cooperation ensuring its consistent development.

This session aims to identify what is the role of law in the vast transformation process that is facing the Arctic region from a multitude of drivers (climate change, globalization in general, etc.). The idea is that each contributor to the session identifies the role of law (and how it is evolving) in different areas of human activity impacting the Arctic region and evaluates whether this enables sustainable human development in the region or not (and if not, what are the reasons for it and how it can be reversed).

The main areas of human activity in the region covered are increasing shipping, potential for Arctic fisheries, the rights of indigenous peoples, adaptation to climate change, etc. The idea is to tease out the role of law, and whether law could make a contribution to building long-term human capacity, especially so because law tends to enable long-term trajectories of human development, for better or for worse. Moreover, since both legal and political dimensions are involved in regulation of Arctic development through policies, laws, administrative measures, social concepts and governance. In this case proposed session addresses all kinds of studies devoted to control and use of Arctic social innovations.

 

2.2 Resource Development and Building Capacity in Arctic Communities

Principal Convener: Chris Southcott (Lakehead University)

Resource development in becoming more important to Arctic communities. In the past these developments have often resulted in an increase in environmental, social, and economic problems in the region. Increasingly new systems of governance and new forms of relationships between Arctic communities and industry mean that communities have a greater opportunity to use resource development to improve capacity and general well-being. Over the past 5 years a number of new research networks have arose to examine how best to ensure mining and oil and gas developments benefit rather than endanger Arctic communities. ReSDA, ArcticFROST, and the UArctic Arctic Extractive Industries Thematic Network and others have been working on this issue, often in partnership. This session is devoted to highlighting the results of this research.

2.3 Current Infrastructural Challenges, Extreme Weather and Natural Hazards and the Effects on Northern Communities

Principal Convener: Grete K. Hovelsrud (University of Nordland)

It is well established that unforeseen consequences are emerging from the current rate and magnitude of climate change in the Arctic, manifesting in increased temperatures, precipitation, extreme weather events, thawing permafrost causing infrastructural damage, and changes in precipitation affecting the frequencies and the size of landslides and avalanches. These factors create new social challenges that affect mobility, services, limitation of daily activities, disconnection of internet, telecommunication, and electricity. A 24/7 society is increasingly expecting that such infrastructure is reliable. Broader societal, economic and demographic changes have in many places shifted livelihoods from small-scale mixed cash-subsistence economies to industrial activities and the service industry, requiring commuting or relocation to larger centres. Wellfunctioning, and predictable infrastructure have become increasingly important to sustain social and economic activities. While infrastructure disruptions due to environmental and climatic conditions are not new phenomena in the Arctic, increased natural hazards and extreme events exacerbate risks to infrastructure and adds a layer of uncertainty to how communities can respond to immediate risks and plan for
the future. For example, extreme weather conditions, long distances and sparse infrastructure often implicate that local communities do not receive immediate assistance in the case of an emergency. While day-to-day weather conditions are
inherently uncertain, this uncertainty can be exacerbated by new extreme weather patterns due to the effects of global warming. For example localized snow avalanches closing roads in Northern Norway are occurring in new places, increasing the uncertainty of risk for local people.

In this session, we will focus on how Arctic communities experience and respond to the uncertainty from increased extreme weather events, and perceive the risks associated with infrastructure challenges and climate change. We wish to examine how uncertainty about risks influences local well-being, adaptive responses and adaptive capacity. We are particularly interested in the role of social capital, local knowledge and practices, in dealing with uncertainty in the light of infrastructure risk.

We invite papers that examine:
1) How interconnected climatic and societal changes influence communities’ access to and reliance on infrastructure?
2) How current and new forms of uncertainty related to infrastructure and extreme weather affect local adaptation practices and societal well-being?
3) Examples of adaptation in the context of this theme? In addition, we welcome contributions on a broader range of issues such such as local adaptation practices and knowledge, preparedness and capacity to handle uncertainties and risks associated with natural hazards, extreme weather and infrastructural challenges.

2.4 Art, Design, Media and the Arctic - Marginalization, Power and Manifestations for Change

Principal Convener: Satu Miettinen (University of Lapland) 

The session welcomes oral presentations, panel discussions, documentation of visual or performative interventions and posters related on arctic media, art, art education, design projects and studies. The session provides the forum for research, art works, design projects and discussion on the arctic, including the questions of marginalization and the problems of periphery/center -dichotomies. Media representations and marginalization have a strong impact on different societies and minorities, not to mention the meanings that are attached on the arctic and geographically or culturally distant locations and peoples. Stereotypical media representations are one of the strategies to marginalize certain social groups; this kind practice can be described as a symbolic marginalization. The symbolic marginalization is closely connected with the idea of symbolic power. This means, that all the media representations – stereotypical and empowering ones – are closely connected to actual political power and should be analyzed within economic, cultural and historical contexts. Marginalization in the media and the stereotypes of certain social groups often reflect the actual marginalization in the society and community. Marginalization in media can also result the social marginalization in the society, like reducing the agency of ethnic and sexual minorities, women or elderly people. Marginalization can also lead into excluding certain social groups or communities from the participation in society. In the context of media representation this means, that certain individuals, communities and even nations lack the positive media representations, are denied from producing the media content by themselves and do not have the possibility for self-determination. Arctic design has tools for engagement and empowerment can these tools shift the power or focus in the discussions? What kind of manifestations can be produced through media and design.

The focus of session is in the relationships and manifestations within the themes of arctic, media, design and marginalities. How can media and design participate in these discussions through artwork, intervention or performance? Can this have an impact for transformational change? Session is looking for studies, examples or action related to these themes.

2.5 Geopolitics and Security of the Arctic

Principal Convener: Lassi Heininen (University of Lapland)

The Thematic Network (TN) on Geopolitics and Security, established in 2009, is a joint network by the University of the Arctic and the Northern Research Forum. Its aim is to combine the two focus areas -  studies on Geopolitics and Security studies -, and based on that draw up a holistic picture on Arctic geopolitics and security. Another aim is to promote ‘interdisciplinartity’ and the interplay between science and politics, as well as to implement the interplay between research and teaching, between young and senior scholars, and students.

The TN will organize an international academic panel, in cooperation with the Northern Research Forum, in 1st UArctic Congress. The theme of the panel is “Geopolitics and Security of the Arctic”. This theme is meant broadly to evaluate and discuss on Arctic geopolitics and security in the context of the globalized Arctic theoretically and holistically from many angles and disciplinary approaches; from the perspectives of the past, present and future; and from global, international, Arctic, national and regional/local context in the Arctic region. 

The panel will consist of oral presentation followed by discussion. 

 

Theme 3: Local and Traditional Knowledge

3.1 Arctic Human-Rangifer Communities: Vulnerability, Resilience, Adaption to Global Changes

Principal Convener: Rob Wishart (University of Aberdeen)

The world of reindeer herders and wild reindeer hunters is an holistic system incorporating indigenous people of the circumpolar North and their landscapes. Reindeer form the center of this social and natural unity; helping the indigenous peoples of the North to subsist and maintaining their spiritual life. In Europe, their communities are represented by Sami reindeer herders, in Asia - by the nomadic communities of the tundra reindeer herders and wild reindeer hunters, in Alaska and Canada – by caribou hunters. However, the stability of this relationship is threatened by a variety of external factors related to global climate change, large-scale mining projects, the development of tourism and its infrastructure, as well as information technologies. Even though industrialism and acculturation often brings positive changes for reindeer herders and hunters, the transformations of traditional culture and knowledge often results in commodification and neotraditionalism. On the other hand, indigenous peoples often adopt new technologies and life projects in such a way that they re-employ or even subvert the patterns of the dominant society giving them new possibilities for self-expression. Historicalically, many of these changes and adaptations can be read in the archaeological record.

The session will be focused on following questions:
1. Human-rangifer co-evolution in the Arctic.
2. Old and new challenges in reindeer herders and hunters societies in the Circumpolar North.
3. Creativity and adaptation of human-rangifer communities to rapid changes of social and cultural contexts.
4. Field research of human-reindeer relations in the Arctic: new themes and approaches in the analysis of socio-cultural contexts.
5. The impact of innovations on human-reindeer-landscape relations

3.2 Local and Traditional Knowledge in Supporting Business and Community Development in Indigenous Regions of the North

Principal Convener: Oksana Romanova (North-Eastern Federal University)

Local and traditional knowledge acts as a resource for a socio-economic development of indigenous communities of the North. Such knowledge evolves and preserves at the same time, transmitting from one generation to the next on the level of an ethnic community. This knowledge also forms a basis for cultural and spiritual identity.

At the same time, traditional knowledge is not only a guarantee for preservation of a cultural heritage of the Northern communities, not only an ecological buffer for protection of an environmental balance, but it can also be a foundation for development of production and entrepreneurship.

Currently the following questions are of scientific and practical (applied) interest:
-Does local and traditional knowledge contribute to a preservation of an indigenous way of life?
-What impact local and traditional knowledge has on development of small business in indigenous communities?
-What is necessary for a systemic reproduction of a traditional knowledge potential?
-How implementation of innovations in development of local indigenous communities of the North takes place in modern conditions?
-What existing positive experience can we record and dissimilate?

3.3 Vulnerability and Resilience of Northern Languages: Ways to Move Forward

Principal Convener: Lenore Grenoble (The University of Chicago)

Linguists estimate that anywhere from 40-90% of the world’s languages will disappear over the course of this century and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Arctic. 21 Arctic languages have become extinct since the 1800s and 10 of these were lost after 1990, indicative of the increased rate of language loss. In fact, 28 languages are currently classified as critically endangered and another 24 ranked severely to critically endangered. The vitality of Arctic languages today varies greatly, and can change rapidly (Barry et al. 2013). Languages are important for both insiders, people in the community, and for others who are not community members but seek to understand information about the Arctic. Knowledge of language is intimately linked to well being, including both cultural well-being and mental health (Schweitzer et al. 2010). Language is deeply related to identity and social fabric. Indigenous communities working to fortify language usage report that these efforts strengthen the communities as well. Languages provide important information for researchers as well: they encode conceptual frameworks within which speakers understand, classify, and interact with their environment. Local environmental knowledge is encoded in languages, and this knowledge can be lost when a language is lost. At a time when researchers in the Arctic are interested in finding ways to incorporate indigenous, local knowledge into their research, language is key.

Indigenous communities throughout the Arctic have come together to assess, monitor and promote Arctic languages in an indigenous-driven endeavor (the Arctic Indigenous Language Vitality Project) that has its roots in the Arctic Council’s Salekhard Declaration of 2006. In this workshop, we welcome reports on the status of Arctic indigenous languages and ways of promoting their vitality. We take a special focus on the indigenous languages of the Russia’s North, Siberia and Far East. Speakers come together to address core issues of culture and traditional knowledge through the lens of language, and a wide array of methods to build capacity among indigenous peoples, ranging from traditional school-based education to the use of media and social media.

 

Theme 4: Building Long-term Human Capacity

4.1 Lifelong Professional Education in the Present Context of Transformation and Its Impact on the Quality of Life

Principal Convener: Olga Chorosova (Ammosov Northeastern Federal University)

Today, the changing and transforming world challenges mankind to face a vibrant process of the constant professional development and skills improvement.Lifelong Professional Education (LPE), traditionally defined as Continuing Education (CE), needs to respond to external factors including the political and economic changes in the world. In the meantime, the North is in need of qualified human resources. Lifelong Professional Education needs to be forward-looking and flexible especially in the North. Effective leadership is an important aspect of LPE management. Nowadays, Lifelong Professional Education is a possible tool to fill in the professional gap in the North by providing certificate courses and degree programs in a variety of disciplines, which changes the lives of thousands of graduates and their families. 

In this session, we will examine the current state of the quality of life in the North, discuss offered job opportunities, employment issues, vocational training services, and other topics. We will describe several studies looking at these issues from different perspectives providing international background. We hope that this session will become a platform for discussions, debates, networking, and a source for further collaborations and joint projects.

4.3 Teacher Education in the Arctic, Sustainable Schools, and Relevant Learning: Towards Social Justice and Inclusion

Principal Conveners: Ute Kaden (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Tuija Turunen (University of Lapland)

This session will explore specific issues related to teacher education and schools in the Arctic. A consistent and qualified teacher workforce integrated into the community is critical to the learning of students, the sustainability of schools, and the vitality of Arctic and indigenous communities. A focus will be on social justice and inclusion, and how these two issues could be promoted by initial teacher education. Social justice and inclusion mean treating all people with dignity and respect. Teaching students in the Arctic in ways that allow them to sustain their cultural identity is important for student motivation, curriculum relevance, and ultimately community and cultural sustainability.

Preparing and retaining effective teachers requires enhancing their awareness, skills, attitudes and knowledge about inclusive pedagogy. When they graduate, the teachers will be able to promote social justice by building strong, positive relationships in their communities and implementing culturally relevant curricula to engage and inspire the Youth. Equal educational opportunities for all, regardless of ethnic backgrounds and remote locations are crucial for the future of the Arctic countries in the era of international globalization. The Arctic regions can act as promoters and trendsetters for innovative educational solutions and equal opportunities for all.

During this session, we invite presenters who address the wide range of education related topics including but not limited to teacher preparation, social justice and inclusion during initial teacher education, teaching, rural and indigenous learning, sustainable schools, place-based curriculum, community and school relations, and partnerships with the objectives to:

- Sharing experiences, challenges, and solutions for educating the Youth of the circumpolar North

- Discussing possible effective strategies for teacher preparation, ongoing professional development, and retention

- Examining the complex relationships of education policies, teacher education, social-cultural context of the Arctic, and culturally effective schooling to sustain communities and indigenous cultures.

4.4 Circumpolar Health and Well-Being

Principal Convener: Rhonda Johnson (University of AlaskaAnchorage)

The mission of the Thematic Network on Health and Well-being in the Arctic is to improve the sustainable development of health and well-being in circumpolar regions by promoting research projects on the health of people, and by organizing research training and by distributing scientific information. Oral, panel and poster presentations will be solicited from TN members, the Circumpolar Health ResearchNetwork (CHRN) and the adhering bodies of the International Union of Circumpolar Health (IUCH). 

4.5 Work and Workers in the Arctic

Principal Convener: Natalia Simonova (Northern (Arctic) Federal University)

To find a balance between sustainable, cost-effective and profitable professional activities of people working in the extreme High North conditions and their mental and physical health;
To enhance compatibility of traditional indigenous activities and industrial exploration of natural resources;
To create the base for involving of indigenous peoples’ representatives in the modern production (study of reluctance and low efficiency of indigenous peoples’ employment in industrial enterprises, motivation increase of indigenous peoples, study of traditional indigenous labor forms in order to transfer this experience in educational institutions);
To preserve people living and working in the Arctic from northern stress and "polar night" depression;
To bring to the table discussion of maritime and labor law issues in reference to the occupational health in the extreme Arctic conditions.

4.6 Gaining a Better Understanding and Awareness of the Arctic through Education and Outreach

Principal Convener: Yulia Zaika (Faculty of Geography Lomonosov Moscow State University / APECS)

Co-converners: Gerlis Fugmann (APECS / UiT The Arctic University of Norway), Andrian Vlakhov (European University at Saint Petersburg), Julie Bull (University of Toronto)

The interest in the Arctic region is high at the moment and therefore, the role and importance of the Arctic has to be communicated at different levels to different audiences. The recent International Polar Year 2007-2008 had placed a strong emphasis on education and outreach, and building on its momentum, many early career and experienced polar researchers have gotten involved since then in communicating more broadly their work as well as the importance of the Polar Regions.

This communication happens on many levels and in many different ways. We have well-established methods of sharing our research with peers in our field and with the broader scientific community, e.g. through our publications, conference presentations, posters. Our ways of communicating with the general public, decision makers, teachers and students are, however, less formalized and often less practiced. But this communication is a crucial part of every scientist’s job and essential for the greater impact of the research.

This session will discuss different methods, approaches and visions of education and outreach tools for Arctic research communication; their role in increasing the understanding and awareness of the Arctic and in building the human capacity of the region. The session not only invites speakers to participate on site, but will also be set up as an online session through a teleconferencing platform which will allow participants to connect with education and outreach experts from other countries, including those participating in Antarctica education and outreach activities to learn lessons from the South Pole.

 

Theme 5: New Markets for the Arctic, including Trade, Tourism and Transportation

5.1 Arctic Tourism Futures

Principal Convener: Patrick Maher (Cape Breton University/UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Tourism)

This session will look at where Arctic Tourism is now (from a current/completed research perspective), and where is it headed.

This session includes panel discussion and poster presentations about all aspects of Arctic Tourism: economy, culture, environment, governance, experience, etc.  After the brief poster introductions, session attendees can mingle amongst the posters for 30 minutes. The final 40 minutes of the session block will be a "look forward", whereby selected presenters will give their expert thoughts on Arctic Tourism over the next 25 years.

This session links with session 5.2 Arctic Tourism: The interplay between supply and demand, culture and environment.

5.2 Arctic Tourism: The Interplay between Supply and Demand, Culture and Environment

Principal Convener: Patrick Maher (Cape Breton University/UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Tourism)

This session will include up to eight, 15-minute research presentations, delivered orally on topics related to Arctic Tourism: how is such tourism developed, managed, and governed in relation to both cultural and environmental spheres?  What are tourists looking for in the Arctic (demand) and how does the industry deliver that (supply)? The session will critically question the sustainability of tourism in the Arctic region in relation to a variety of cultural and environmental resources, and the sustainability of the Arctic tourism experiences in relation to both consumption and production.

This session links with session 5.1 Arctic Tourism Futures.

5.3 The Role of Place in Northern SME-business Strategies

Principal Convener: Svein Tvedt Johansen (Harstad University College)

Northern SMEs often work out of small communities in which local communities are as dependent on the firm as the firms is on the community. Commercially viable firms constitute a precondition for many Northern communities while the relationships and services provided in local communities are essential for the people who work for small companies.

Many Northern SMEs moreover share a history with their local community and derive a sense of identity and pride from the community and the region. Still the business-strategy literature have paid little interest in the role of place in strategy formation. Instead, the literature tend to subsume places or communities under generic headings such as context or stakeholders (local communities).

This session will investigate the role that places or home-communities play in the formation of SME’s strategies. Places do not only constrain or enable a certain set of strategies, they do we suggest in many cases inform the content of strategies themselves or what strategies are about – that is firms develop strategies around places (place-centered strategies). The influence of places come in the form of the physical features of places (terrain, topography, climate, and physical distances) as well as in what places represent in the form of narratives, identities, values, norms and assumptions.

In the session, we will be interested in the different ways that Northern SMEs engage with local communities in their business-strategies and how such relationships influence the resilience of SMEs and communities over time. We will also be interested in the consequences of such strategies for communities and businesses alike (such as in the form of accumulation or depletion of social or human capital) We invite academics from different disciplines to help cast light of the relationships between Northern places and Northern SME-strategies. We invite academics from different disciplines and with different methodological approaches to look at how places influence the formation of strategies. We also invite contributions operating at different levels of analysis, including micro (focusing on individual managers) or meso (groups within firms) or
macro (e.g. constellations of firm-strategies within a community). We also invite contributions, which look at implications for different stakeholders (e.g. managers, municipal or regional governments).

Finally, the session should offer many opportunities to compare cases and examples from different countries and cultures within the circumpolar North. Comparative studies of business-community relationships in different countries and regions hence are particularly welcome.

 

Contact for session and abstract proposals:

Research@uarctic.org