Martin Mohr Olsen

Prior research

The following is a shortened version of a chapter recently produced for a PhD thesis. I adopted the current form to account for scope and clarity. It also builds on research previously completed on sustainability implementation in higher education within the Arctic. A 2018 study (Blaxekjær, et al. 2018) identified emerging trends in Arctic academia, including the demand for innovative skills, the establishment of a "co-creation of sustainability" mission statement, adoption of the SDGs, and increased interest in Arctic conferences and collaborations. A 2019 report (Lauritsen et al. 2019) emphasised the role of students in driving sustainable development in the Arctic. A study of the University of the Faroe Islands (Olsen, 2020) examines its historical and organisational structure and potential for improved sustainability engagement. I (Olsen, 2021) explore institutional implications of a fourth mission statement and helix-based engagement in Natcher & Jokela’s (2021) volume on Renewable Economies in the Arctic. A systematic literature review explores global SDG implementation within academia, highlighting a need for stakeholder engagement and civic involvement (Olsen and Rosati, forthcoming). The present article aims to bridge local and global perspectives within the context of a larger body of work by examining how Arctic universities integrate sustainability into their operations at the regional level.

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Caoimhe Isha Beaulé & Pierre De Coninck

When Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples come together in a project to address issues relating to Arctic communities, how do fruitful collaborations come to be? Among the elements that constitute the approach for genuine cooperation and creativity in complex projects, trust is an indispensable ingredient. From a systemic and complexity paradigm and design lens, this article explores the “dynamic” of trust in collaborative projects involving Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples in the Arctic. How does the dynamic of trust within a collaborative project operate, evolve, and re-organise in action and how can we conceptualise it? What factors influence cooperation and trust in Arctic collaborative projects? Guided by action research and project-grounded strategies in design, the research draws from the two-year Dialogues and Encounters in the Arctic (DEA) project that took place in the Indigenous Sámi context. Multiple qualitative tools were employed, including seven semi-directed interviews, two reflective journals, one workshop, and one post-project online group discussion. The research involved twelve DEA collaborators (both Indigenous Sámi and non-Indigenous). Our findings present results from a preliminary analysis, shedding light on the dynamic nature of trust in the DEA project through the example of in-person project encounters and ethical framework development, reflecting how trust weaves itself into a project's very fabric. We found that, amidst the complexities and various influences on trust dynamics (e.g., socio-political contexts, a global pandemic, or individual personalities), fostering consistent interaction between project collaborators emerges as an effective strategy to nurture a dynamic of trust. And ‘organising’ design approach is seen as being favourable to such processes.

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Michaela Louise Coote

Interdisciplinary research is a popular methodological choice for informing environmental decision-shaping; however its use needs further critical evaluation to ensure that it is able to meet grand environmental challenges and societal needs. This research provides a historical and conceptual analysis of interdisciplinary environmental decision-shaping in an Arctic context. The primary methodology for the study was interviewers with experts who have been engaged with interdisciplinary environmental decision-shaping in the Arctic to answer the research questions: 1) does interdisciplinarity involve the softening of boundaries in the Arctic; 2) does interdisciplinarity promote the diffusion of ideas in the Arctic and 3) does Interdisciplinarity support scientific enquiry in the Arctic? The objective of this research was to further academic inquiry regarding the use of interdisciplinary research in Arctic environmental decision-shaping. Whilst interdisciplinary research in the Arctic was found to encompass a spirit of reinvention, critical thinking and open-mindedness; its use was found to be impacted by geopolitical factors, past and present practices, epistemologies and ontologies including power hierarchies and colonialism. Epistemological differences between actors was seen as a strength in Arctic interdisciplinary studies but required the practitioners to be respectful and willing to reevaluate their knowledge and approach.

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Korinna Korsström-Magga

The world's population growth with its increasing need for resources, along with globalisation and climate change, are seriously affecting minority and Indigenous peoples’ cultures in the North. Sámi reindeer herders have to adjust their livelihood because of other stakeholders that are desiring to use the lands where the reindeer graze. This research project encourages the reindeer herders to come forward and introduce their livelihood and profession as vivid, culturally sustainable and valuable, and as a source of knowledge that is needed as the world faces climate change and other challenges while seeking environmental sustainability. The study uses an art-based action research strategy, implementing the Photovoice-method as a means to collect data and bring forward the reindeer herders’ daily life. Five Sámi reindeer herder families from the region around Lake Inari in northern Finland took snapshots of their everyday life around the year. With the photographs, they built an exhibition about their daily lives and also published an even more descriptive picture book. Art-based actions emphasise the decolonial potency of participative action research and co-research. The research was conducted by an art-educator-researcher, also involved herself in reindeer herding, which opened deeper possibilities to plan, operate and fulfil the research actions to benefit the Sámi reindeer herders and also to develop art-based action methods as a research strategy.

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Jennifer Spence, Edward Alexander, Rolf Rødven & Sara Harriger

Since the end of the Cold War, the Arctic has been defined by Arctic scholars as “exceptional.” A region protected from geopolitical tensions to the south. However, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent pause of circumpolar cooperation have challenged this designation. The Arctic appears to be again dominated by geopolitics. This article seeks to see beyond conventional understandings of “Arctic exceptionalism,” acknowledge a broader range of characteristics and features that make the Arctic unique and consider how this expanded view alters our perceptions of the region’s governance. Constructed as a thought experiment, this article asks, “what makes the Arctic exceptional?” And, by extension, “how does this allow us to see the Arctic and its governance differently?” To answer these questions, we introduce three stories of the Arctic as defined through geopolitics, environment, and Gwitch’in homelands. What insights do these stories provide about the past, present and future of the Arctic and Arctic governance? In a time of rapid change, uncertainty about the future, and reckoning with the past, it is important to examine assumptions, challenge the status quo, and continue to foster governance innovation. This article seeks to contribute to this effort.

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Ekaterina Zmyvalova

This paper explores the legal changes which have been taking place in Russia since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine in February 2022. The paper also demonstrates that due to socioeconomic reasons and disinformation, the number of Indigenous combatants in the war is proportionally higher than the number of ethnic Russians. The partial mobilization was mostly carried out in the remote regions of Russia, where most of Indigenous peoples reside. Thus, a high number of Indigenous individuals have been summoned to the war. The paper demonstrates how Russia distances itself from its international commitments, and how this affects the Indigenous peoples of Russia. As a result, for example, Russian citizens, inter alia Indigenous individuals, cannot apply to the European Court of Human Rights, as Russia is not under its jurisdiction any longer. International cooperation of Indigenous peoples of Russia has significantly decreased. Changes in the national legislation have resulted in the aggravation of responsibility under criminal and administrative law. The analysis of the changes reveals the tendency of the Russian Federation’s attempts to summon as many combatants to the war as possible. This paper demonstrates the impact of these changes on the rights of Indigenous peoples. The initiatives have been undertaken to promote laws on the exemption of Indigenous individuals from the mobilization. However, without success.

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