Early career professionals and Arctic youth are the bridge builders for future Arctic collaboration. The APECS & Arctic PASSION Sharing Circle initiated a close dialogue among the next generation of Arctic stakeholders and research leaders.

Early career professionals and Arctic youth are the bridge builders for future Arctic collaboration. The APECS & Arctic PASSION Sharing Circle initiated a close dialogue among the next generation of Arctic stakeholders and research leaders. Growing up in a world of global challenges, Arctic youth and early career professionals have the power to create positive change for the future. The Arctic benefits from a close dialogue between Arctic youth, young professionals and early career researchers working and living in the Arctic. The Association of Polar Early Career Sciences (APECS) and the EU project Arctic PASSION fostered this dialogue by inviting eighteen participants from 9 countries to a Sharing Circle in Sevettijärvi and Inari, Northern Finland, from 2-6 October 2023.

The EU project Arctic PASSION is working with a diverse group of Arctic rights holders and stakeholders towards co-creating a coherent, integrated Arctic Observing System, based on intercultural collaborations and equality of different knowledge systems. The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is offering education and training activities in the frame of Arctic PASSION by addressing the young generation. With the support of IASC funds, we organised an event to create a deeper understanding of the Arctic and its people, the intercultural and transdisciplinary complexity of the Arctic, and the value of sharing experiences and knowledge in collaborations. The Finnish NGO Snowchange Cooperative, partner in Arctic PASSION, built an essential part of the Sharing Circle by sharing their knowledge and experiences about the local Skolt Sámi culture and indigenous-led and co-managed environmental restoration projects of the region. The Sharing Circle was hosted at the Sanila’s Reindeer Farm, a Sámi family-run accommodation that shone with hospitality and warm-hearted souls.

“The Sharing Circle was a unique combination of outdoor excursions to Snowchange rewilding and restoration sites, balanced with indoor discussions and presentations in the kota hut, a circular-shaped wooden grillhouse at the reindeer farm. This structure meant that the conversations we had in the cabin were contextualised and expanded by our daily outdoor activities. For example, the participant Élise Brown-Dussault gave an insightful presentation on reindeer habitats and lichen on the same day that we went to a Snowchange rewilding site and were shown different types of lichen. The visits and activities highlighted not only the topics we discussed but gave us the opportunity to understand why these topics and conversations are so vital to have. The Sharing Circle was exactly that, a collaborative and shared environment to circulate and debate incredibly important issues.”, reported the master student in Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern Indigenous Areas, Jessica Hall, one of the participants of the Sharing Circle.

Being in Sápmi, homeland of the Sámi, while learning about intercultural and transdisciplinary collaborations and meeting different Skolt Sámi community members as well as the local school that teaches Skolt Sámi traditions are just some highlights of the Sharing Circle. Discussing how collaborations can work best and at the same time hearing about great best-practise examples from Snowchange, made important topics tangible. Another highlight was the group that was gathered in this remote region; they were bonding from the beginning and created a supportive and appreciative atmosphere, providing a good basis for discussions. The lively discussion rounds to various relevant topics and a lot of exchange among the group were an integral part of the Sharing Circle. They brought various expertises and perspectives onto the table and everyone was very motivated to contribute and learn from each other. Creating these spaces for young people and seeing that this event has the potential to honestly address and discuss potentially sensitive issues, was a great success of this format. “A truly fantastic part of our experience was participant involvement in the shared learning. In addition to lively discussions, many participants were invited to present their work and/or research to the Sharing Circle. This was a brilliant part of the schedule as the following conversations were so diverse and we covered an incredible number of topics in our five-day trip.”, Jessica added.

Learnings and experiences from the Sharing Circle will help participants to build a frame for working towards equitable and genuine collaborations and a sustainable Arctic future. Spending a week together in a remote location, gathering an international group with different perspectives and knowledge backgrounds but having their common ground in being engaged in the Arctic, has made a special meeting for everybody that very likely lasts more than these few days. “We all left this experience feeling inspired, determined, and reminded that we are all working and researching necessary topics. To be surrounded by inspirational people, such as our hosts, Snowchange, the Skolt Sámi activists, as well as the participants, was a week that cannot be compared to anything else I have experienced.”, Jessica concluded.

After the Sharing Circle, the 18 participants of the Sharing Circle have become Arctic PASSION Ambassadors and develop their own outreach projects to distribute learnings of the event to a wider audience. Further information about the project will be publish here: https://arcticpassion.eu/sharingcircle/

Please find here the full article from Jessica Hall https://arcticpassion.eu/blog/sharingcirclereport / https://www.apecs.is/news/apecs-news/5208-sharing-circle-report.html and further information about the Sharing Circle incl. the program here: https://arcticpassion.eu/sharingcircle/.

1. Participants learned a lot about the Samí, co-management, and collaborations which they will integrate into their own fields of engagements

2. A close dialogue and personal connection of early career professionals and Arctic youth across the Arctic are valuable and much needed to create positive change for the Arctic.

3. Participants felt that the Arctic PASSION Sharing Circle this was highly relevant and created a safe space to  talk about sensitive topics 

Date and Location

2 – 6 October 2023, Sevettijärvi and Inari, Finland

IASC Working Groups funding the project

Project Lead

  • Lisa Grosfeld (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany / The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS))
  • Sarah Strand (UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway / The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS))

Year funded by IASC


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