As a new arrival at the Arctic Centre, allow me to introduce myself. My name is William Davies, a PhD research postgraduate from the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds (UK) who will be based at the centre until mid-December as part of an ESRC-funded Overseas Institutional Visit. My broad academic interests revolve around sustainable development, political ecology and natural resource management in an Arctic context. More specifically, my PhD research explores social construction of ‘scale’ in relation to Arctic extractive industries and the ways in which scale-framings of stakeholders discursively influence debates surrounding Arctic extractive activity, especially offshore petroleum and uranium mining. Furthermore, I’m also interested in the notion of ‘Arctic identity’ and how cultural and technical definitions of the Arctic influence environmental policy in the region.
Whilst instinctively reluctant to pigeonhole myself into one academic discipline, if pushed I’d say I come from a predominantly ‘human geography’ background; my previous studies including a BA in Geography and an MA in Sustainable Development from the University of Leeds as well as a Masters in Coastal and Marine Management from the University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland. Indeed, the time spent in the Westfjords piqued my fascination with all things Arctic.
During my visit at the Arctic Centre, I will be assisting Florian Stammler with various facets of the Extractive Industries Working Group, the upcoming week-long PhD course and Rovaniemi Process conference, as well as getting involved with other activities taking place at the centre.
When not ruminating on Arctic issues, I’m never happier than when riding my bike; be it cycling amidst the smog and bustle of rush-hour London traffic or the serenity and peace of remote, coastal Iceland.