This paper reflects on ways of understanding climate change from an Indigenous paradigm. Through the lens of Indigenous water concept (Griffith, 2018), it will look at the contemporary processes shaping the identity, spirituality and hydrosocial relations in Sakha (Yakutia). It will look at how these processes are influenced by climate change. Traditionally, the relations between societies and water in permafrost areas have been understood in strict economic terms as cost-ineffective and unprofitable. Previously, research has pointed out the “cost of the cold” (Hill & Gaddy, 2003). However, what was often omitted was the actual efficiency of cold and ice. In fact, Indigenous communities in Sakha (Yakutia) have succeeded in building a partnership with the ice and learned to benefit from it in conditions of scarce economic resources and lack of infrastructure. However, climate change and rapid transformations of the permafrost environment are not only causing additional costs but also cultural loss. Focused on this connection, this paper reflects on the following questions: how has the ice shaped the identity, spirituality and traditional hydrosocial relations of Indigenous communities in Sakha (Yakutia)? How do their identity and spirituality change under climate change and current transformations in the cryosphere? And finally, how is climate change transforming the traditional hydrosocial relations in the Arctic?
Over the past decades, the Arctic has gone through a period of transformation. These changes particularly impact the everyday life of its Indigenous inhabitants due to their location in high-risk environments, vulnerability and dependency on environmental conditions. Although these communities are used to adapt to changing circumstances, the governance in times of transformative changes differs because of the complexity of change. Furthermore, the Arctic is affected by (post-) colonial and global dynamics through international agreements addressing Indigenous rights, sustainable development and climate change framed as international norms. However, global arrangements have to be rooted in regional contexts, which puts political institutions at these levels in a central position. Sustainable development studies consider inclusive institutions as key for achieving global commons. In order to overcome gaps in our understanding of policy approaches regarding sustainable development in the Arctic, this paper addresses the key role of Indigenous institutions. Against this backdrop, the paper proposes a framework on the nexus of Indigenous peoples and sustainable development by focusing on the governance of transnational political Indigenous institutions. Following sustainable development studies, this framework adds to the field of inclusive governance the relevance of political identity and Indigenous knowledges as complementing factors for the analysis of Arctic Indigenous institutions. The developed framework is exemplarily applied to two institutions, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Saami Council, to allow initial insights into its applicability. The framework could further act as a theoretical basis for in-depth analyses and support the derivation of testable hypotheses on the (inter)relation of transformative changes and the governance of Indigenous institutions.
Mervi Heikkinen, Suvi Pihkala, Leena Pääsky & Sari Harmoinen
In this article, insights about a global gender equality promotion instruments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are considered in the Arctic context to provide a gender-responsible view for the Arctic Yearbook 2020’s Climate Change and the Arctic: Global Origins, Regional Responsibilities theme. The paper’s intersectional and genderresponsible approach addresses the diversity of people living in the Arctic in consideration of co-creating sustainable and responsible futures. Currently, gender perspectives are hardly integrated into the research processes, and horizontal and vertical gender segregation as well as diverse exclusions persist in science and technology in addition to disciplinary silos. In relation to this challenge, this article introduces one of the most recent global actions and policies to improve gender-responsibility in science and technology, namely the SAGA (STEM and Gender Advancement) tools, and elaborates their affordances in the context of Arctic knowledge production. Responsibility and sustainability demands that we rethink our interrelatedness and interdependency with the world in relation to knowledge production processes, as global and local citizens, with the capabilities for problem-defining and problem-solving. Thus we frame the main challenge as to advance multidisciplinary research affordances, co-creating the understanding and cultivation of our imagination in an aim to relate with care to sustainability and responsibility in and about the Arctic through knowledge production.
Pablo Romero-Nieva Santos, Nikolai Holm, Julia Olsen & Grete K. Hovelsrud
Research on how communities in the Arctic can overcome the challenge of climate change have traditionally employed adaptation frameworks. The ability of these groups to continue thriving in the Arctic is complicated by historical, social, economic, and political complexities - issues thoroughly addressed through the postcolonial feminist concept of transformation. This article critically examines contemporary research on climate and gender, and the extent to which feminist transformative concerns are addressed, thereby challenging systems and promoting power structures that recognize or benefit all segments of society. The article adopts an analytical strategy which combines two parallel instances of critical reflection on climate research, specifically, a systematic literature review of climate and gender studies in the Canadian Arctic, and the results of a round-table workshop of international climate experts and researchers on the state of climate change, adaptation and gender research in the Arctic. The article explores the results of these analyses and distinguishes those strategies that represent a continuation of status-quo power relations and climate adaptation processes from those that account for current economic and socio-political factors.
Anitra Arkko-Saukkonen, Anzelika Krastina & Satu Miettinen
Arctic companies are located in rural and sparsely populated areas where long distances are a common feature. Innovations and development collaboration could offer Arctic companies the possibility to widen their potential business. Digitalisation can enable companies to expand their operations and collaborations in a sustainable way. The University of Applied Sciences should take responsibility for the mutual research, development and innovation activities of companies and students, where integration of collaborative work can benefit development of companies and simultaneously provide learning opportunities for students. Such integration responds to changes in society in terms of education and regional development.
In the area of design research, we present how Creative Steps 2.0 has been redeveloped into an authentic learning environment where Arctic creative business is matched with another business and where students provide innovation and development assistance for companies in cross-border collaboration. We looked at the functionality of an authentic learning environment and the benefits for companies. Authentic learning is the framework for the study and has a strong impact on strengthening working life skills. In the development phase, companies brought perspectives to support the development of the authentic learning environment through co-design. The data were collected with a mixed methods approach and analysed with a formative and content analysis.
Participation brought the benefits from perspectives, creating a network and ideas that could later be used. However, the final concept was not notable, and companies were critical of the outcomes. The importance of the international network was the most significant factor among the companies.
Maria Huhmarniemi & Timo Jokela
‘Handmade’, place-making, revitalisation and regional development are topical themes in the research of art and culture in the Arctic. The revitalisation of traditions through contemporary crafting has become a featuring approach in the Arctic, corresponding to global interest in materiality. The concept of Arctic art is used in this article to describe art, crafts, design and cultural productions that transmit the material and cultural heritage of Arctic nature and the northern knowledge system related to tactile situated knowing in northernmost Europe. Long-term art-based action research has been carried out in collaboration with the Arctic Sustainable Art and Design (ASAD) network of the University of the Arctic to promote art, culture and education for Arctic sustainability. A few case studies presented in this article were art exhibitions, and the art productions that were shown in the 2019 Arctic Arts Summit (AAS) in Rovaniemi, Finland. In the present work, we discuss the knowledge studied, illustrated and debated in contemporary art productions in the AAS 2019. We conclude that the northern knowledge system is formed in situated learning in relation to local ecocultures, traditions and diverse Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures. Northern knowledge can be adopted by newcomers and even guests when participating in ecocultures. Artists inform, educate and transform their global audiences by sharing and presenting northern knowledge and different ways of knowing. Research on the ‘handmade’, place-making, revitalisation and knowledge themes has relevance for policy making, contemporary art, arts research and art education on many levels.