My name is Svetlana Usenyuk, I am a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture, Helsinki. I completed my PhD last summer in Ekaterinburg, Russia, with the topic “Arctic Design: the Principle of Co-creation for Transport Vehicles”. My research experience is rooted in studying Western Siberian indigenous peoples, particularly Khanty and Nenets.
My current project “Arctic Technologies of Adaptation and Survival: Traditions and Innovations” is meant to be an extension of the previous one, with broader consideration of material culture of circumarctic indigenous peoples.
The aim is to reveal their principles of adaptation and survival in extreme environment through man-made things. The research is long-term, comparative, performing in an iterative way. The core idea is to shift the framing of Arctic indigenous knowledge from a theoretical concept that has been of long-standing importance within anthropology and archaeology, to the area of critical design practice.
During the next two years in Finland I will be particularly interested in Sámi people, i.e. on their contribution to circumpolar adaptation technologies.
I know that a big challenge is going to be the link between fieldwork and results from theoretical modeling of human-object coexistence. That is why I am very pleased with the opportunity to work at the Arctic Centre’s anthropology research team as a visiting researcher. I envision my cooperation with the team not only in the studies of humans in an Arctic environment. My project will also hopefully significantly enriched by multiple viewpoints from scientists with different theoretical frames.
And who knows…? Maybe somebody here in the blog or in the team is interested in discussing with me the link between Arctic Anthropology and Arctic Design – my own professional field. I would very much look forward to any feedback!