How do non-Arctic actors’ interests matter the Arctic? – debates around Arctic Circle assembly

From October 13 to October 19, 2017, the Uarctic Thematic network “Arctic Extractive Industries” held a masters/Phd course on the topic of Security, Governance and Geopolitics in relation to Arctic Extractive Industries. This time the organizers invited participants to Iceland. The course brought together students and faculty from Arctic universities and research centers from 10 different countries. The program came in three stages:

Continue reading “How do non-Arctic actors’ interests matter the Arctic? – debates around Arctic Circle assembly”

resource development versus other community sustainability options’?

This is the general topic of the next course in our PhD programme by the Uarctic Thematic Network “Arctic Extractive Industries. It’s going to take place this time again in the wonderful town of St John’s Newfoundland, Canada.

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Offshore oil (see the servicing ships docking in the background) or other development options? St John’s and Newfoundland

PhD students who have an interest in participating (this time self-funded, I hope you find funds to come!!!), can write a 200 words abstract to one of the organisers. Spaces are limited, especially because of the limited presentation slots that we have at the conference, in conjunction to which we will hold this. Preference will be given to those who

1) already participated in an earlier course in our programme and want to complete the entire Uarctic certificate;
2) PhD students willing to commit to completing the program and to presenting at Petrocultures; and
3) Master’s students interesting in participating more or less as observers.

For European students: Uarctic TN partner students can use this course for 10 credits ECTS towards their PhD studies, if approved by their supervisor and completed fully with submitted paper. The Ulapland course code is TUKO 1217.

Here is a course abstract:

An interdisciplinary exploration of resource development versus other community sustainability options’

St. John’s Newfoundland; Aug 29 to Sun Sept 04, 2016.

We will be offering an intensive one-week PhD course comingled with the Petrocultures conference in St. John’s beginning on Monday aug 29, 2016. The theme of this course is ‘An interdisciplinary exploration of resource development versus other community sustainability options’. In brief, there are many reasons why resource development in remote regions can be damaging in social, environmental and economic terms. Yet, alternatives that can lead to sustainable economic security for remote peoples are often elusive, while resource development promises opportunities for local residents.

Our group, the Uarctic Thematic Network in Extractive Industries, has offered semi-annual PhD courses of this nature since 2012. This course will differ from some of the previous one in format: the first two days will consist of three seminars of roughly 2.5 hours’ duration. Each of those six seminars will be co-presented by one faculty member and one or several PhD students. The purpose of these co-presented seminars is to maximize student involvement, and to facilitate an exploration of ideas and implications, and relevant academic readings and theories, across sessions. This will be an interactive course in which students will be expected to join in discussions within each seminar. This format will facilitate even more intensive academic interaction between PhD students and professors.

On the final three days, students in our course will attend the Petrocultures conference, and will present their research within specially designated sessions. There will also be specified conference sessions to attend as part of the course, and a final mandatory discussion session for registered students at the conclusion of the conference, late on September 03, to reflect on the overall themes emerging from the course and conference.

Enquiries: Prof Arn Keeling <akeeling(at)mun.ca>, Prof Gordon Cooke <gcooke(at)mun.ca> (cc to Thematic Network coordinator Florian Stammler <fstammle(at)ulapland.fi>)

Human agents or resources in Arctic extractive industries?

Human Resources in Arctic extractive industries – a PhD course under the Uarctic Thematic Network “People and the Extractive Industries”

It was a small but extremely diverse group that we got together between September 10-16 in St John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, Canada. The participants to the course came from 5 different institutions and 7 different countries, to learn for a week more on a broad variety of topics related to what the economists and business studies people call ‘human resources’ and we in anthropology call ‘people’. Actually, Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger, one of the participants of the course, made a valuable comment in this respect – which is that at least for us the term ‘human resources’ totally lacks the agency of people who are involved in or affected by industrial activity. So maybe it’s better to call this next time ‘human agents’?

“It was excellent teaching, it was interesting topics, it was free, and it was fun” – along these lines Gertrude Eilmsteiner summed up the course – quite nice, thanks Gerti for the nice quote, and sorry if I don’t remember it as exactly as I wish

Ships for servicing the Hibernia oil platform off Newfoundland ‘hiding’ in the harbour from Hurricane Leslie on 11 September

Continue reading “Human agents or resources in Arctic extractive industries?”

Notes from the Arctic Dialogue conference 2011, Bodo, Norway

If we think about the impacts of extractive industries in the Arctic, for us anthropologists this means first and foremost looking at what industry does on the ground with people for whom the places on top of the deposits are their homeland.
As anthropologists, we don’t need to be told that cultural, social effects and interpersonal relations are absolutely crucial to understand why people make certain decisions and not others. But I am impressed and positively surprised how much business and management studies also now emphasise cultural and social factors in Arctic resource development. Their argument is actually very anthropological when they say that management practices in Arctic Extractive Industries face increasingly challenges of intercultural communication, and we need sort of cultural brokers to make mediate between different understandings and end up harmonising activities from different sides, e.g. from Russia and Norway. They also agree that harmonising does not mean ironing out different traditions, but rather different actors can benefit from this interaction as a joint mutual enrichment process (Bourmistrov and Sorne 2007). Continue reading “Notes from the Arctic Dialogue conference 2011, Bodo, Norway”