Working Group Activities related to the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III)


• Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use Workshop, Helsinki, Finland - April 2014

• Arctic Coastal Communities Observatory Network (CACCON), Copenhagen, Denmark - April 2014

• Culture and Arctic Climate Change - Integrating Long-Term Perspectives from Archaeology and the Environmental Sciences, New Haven, USA - May 2014 / AGU, San Francisco, USA - December 2014

• ICARP III Town Hall Meeting at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) VIII, Prince George, Canada - May 2014

• Town Hall Meeting at the 54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association, St Petersburg, Russia - August 2014

For more information please see the ICARP III website



Understanding Peace in the Arctic

When: June 2017 | Where: Tromsø (Norway)

The Arctic is often claimed to be a unique region, both for its natural environment, as well as the peaceful political conditions that continue to prevail, despite the tensions and challenges taking place on a global scale. Cooperation in the Arctic has shown to be robust and in some ways detached from disagreements and tensions developing elsewhere in international relations. The Understanding Peace in the Arctic conference is a timely international event that brings together international and local researchers that contribute to the understanding of the Arctic, ranging from natural sciences, to social sciences and art. The purpose of the conference is to ask what is “Peace” in the Arctic, in which ways, or how, does our research across the disciplines play a crucial role in contributing to peace in the Arctic, and how is our research relevant to developing policy?

Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv

Scientific Highlights


Permafrost Dynamics and Reindeer Herding in Northwest Russia Workshop

When: September 2017 | Where: Syktyvkar or Vorkuta (Russia)

This workshop will investigate past and present human land use in permafrost landscapes and assess the impacts of climate-related landscape changes on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples by exploring the interaction of permafrost and indigenous land use in different regions across the circumpolar North. Discussions at the upcoming workshop will focus on the current state of scholarship and future research needs with geo-, environmental and social scientists, local land users, and other interested stakeholders to provide a better understanding of indigenous land use in permafrost areas of northwestern Russia. This initiative builds on a 2014 ICARP III workshop that examined thermokarst basins in Central Yakutia and Sakha animal husbandry, and resulted in the establishment of an International Permafrost Association Action Group to investigate indigenous land use in permafrost regions.

J. Otto Habeck

Scientific Highlights


Multidisciplinary communication and the governance of evolving global dynamics in the Arctic

When: April 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic) and June 2017 | Where: Umeå (Sweden)

Specific evolving socio-political and material global dynamics, such as the progress of unprecedented anthropomorphic global warming and the rise of climate change skepticism, put increasing pressure on multidisciplinary communication. This project explores whether the notion of 'boundary object' from science and technology studies could be used to facilitate the further development of multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder communication in the context of evolving, global Arctic governance. In its original framework, the concept was used to examine how the viewpoints and interests of actors inhabiting different social worlds, such as natural and technical scientists, philanthropists, and recreational hunters, have been able to be accounted for in the organization of cooperation for scientific work in complex institutional settings. Two conference sessions, one during Arctic Science Summit Week 2017 and the other during IX International Congress for Arctic Social Sciences, will assist in exploring whether it could also be utilized to facilitate the translation and communication of different normative, epistemic and ontological assumptions of different socio-political actors and scientific disciplines in the development of new, sustainable global governance.

Justiina Dahl

Scientific Highlights


Long-term Perspectives on Arctic Social-Ecological Systems

When: March/April 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic)

A long-term, interdisciplinary perspective is needed to better understand past human responses to changing Arctic environments and present transformations and in turn strengthen the knowledge base for future sustainability strategies. The use of complimentary chronological perspectives (palaeo, contemporary and future) can provide mutually-reinforcing insights into factors that contribute to vulnerability and resilience within the closely interconnected social-ecological systems (SESs) of the Arctic. A conference session will be convened during Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2017 to assist in integrating historical, archaeological and long-term environmental and climatic records in order to improve understanding of the ‘palaeo’ aspects of Arctic SESs. In order to build on the ‘palaeo’ outcomes of the ASSW 2017 conference session, opportunities will be explored to convene subsequent conference sessions at ASSW 2018 in Davos, Switzerland to explore developments affecting contemporary Arctic SESs, and at ASSW 2019 in Arkhangelsk, Russia to explore opportunities to support future sustainability.

Peter Jordan

Workshop Report

Workshop Slides

Scientific Highlights

• Launches the SHWGs new theme of ‘Long-Term Perspectives on Arctic Social Ecological Systems’.

• Goal was to integrate archaeological, historical and ecological datasets to investigate Arctic SESs from a ‘palaeo’ perspective, and to better understand what contributes to their long-term fragility, resilience and long-term sustainability.

• Papers had wide temporal and full circumpolar geographic coverage; papers also presented by several Russian colleagues.

• Early Career Scientists played a central roles (both as speakers and as co-chair).

• Papers will be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Quaternary International (Elsevier).

Polar Archaeology Network (PAN)

For more information please see the Polar Archaeology Network website

Archaeological sources of environmental, social and cultural data are frequently overlooked in broad arctic science initiatives, including those that have an applied component. Yet in many recent national and international science plans and initiatives understanding past arctic states, including human dimension, these sources identified as critical for developing accurate projections of future changes and for managing and adapting to change. Outside of the polar regions, archaeology has shown it’s potential for illumination of global and regional environmental change events, particularly with respect to changes in ecosystems, upper trophic levels, and human systems.

Arctic archaeological sites, especially those that are permafrozen, contain a wealth of baseline biological and downscale climatological data in the form of preserved flora, fauna and in sediments. Archaeological time series can be used for developing downscale models of changes in arctic ecosystems and ecosystem services. These data are necessary for developing effective local and regional scale climate change remediation strategies, ecosystem restoration activities and management practices.

The Polar Archaeology Network (PAN), encompassing Arctic, Subarctic, and Subantarctic archaeology, is a forum to meet the need for addressing scientific issues, research policies, education, public outreach, cultural heritage and other questions relating to archaeology and early history of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Peter Jordan (Chairman)

Peter Dawson (Deputy Chair)

Scientific Highlights






10th Siberian Studies Conference, "Passion for Life: Emotions and Feelings in the North and Siberia"

When: 24-26 October 2016 | Where: St. Petersburg (Russia)

The Siberian Studies conference in St. Petersburg is the largest international conference for Siberian Studies researchers in Russia. It aims to increase the interest of early career scholars in Siberian native culture and emotional anthropology, and to provide a mentoring role for new scholars. The SHWG will support the participation of early career researchers from IASC countries to attend this conference in October 2016. It will provide an opportunity to discuss future project proposals.

Gail Fondahl

Hiroki Takakura

Scientific Highlights


Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) Meeting

When: 19 June 2016 I Where: Potsdam (Germany)

Announcement and Invitation for a Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) Meeting prior to ICOP 2016:

An informal Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) meeting prior to the 11th International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) will take place on Sunday, 13:00 - 15:00, 19 June 2016, Telegrafenberg, A 43.14473 Potsdam, Room A43-KR.


A European Arctic Policy: The Role of EU Non-Arctic Member States

When: 10 June 2016 | Where: Madrid, Spain

As the European Union is increasingly becoming involved in Arctic affairs, the congress proposed to discuss the role of the regional organization as a unitarian actor, while considering the priorities and strategies developed by its Member States which, in most cases, are already Observers to the Arctic Council and therefore represent the first contact point between the two organizations. Bearing in mind the European commitment to Arctic human and environmental sustainability, the congress was structured around three panel discussions aimed at fostering the debate among its participants: researchers, academics and experts from different fields of knowledge. Moreover, it served as a forum for all early careers to present their contributions and to establish a long lasting international networking. The result of the congress will be made available by issuing the congress proceedings and the most representative papers selected from the related call for papers, will be published by the Spanish Yearbook of International Law.

European Arctic Policy Report

Scientific Highlights

• The interdisciplinary nature of the congress contributed to a strengthened understanding of the European Arctic policy and facilitated an analysis of the recently released document An integrated European Union Policy for the Arctic.

• The Congress provided a forum for sharing knowledge regarding the brand-new project EU-PolarNet, a consortium of European polar research institutions, which aims to develop an integrated EU Polar research programme.

• Results from the Congress will be made available through Congress Proceedings. Select papers will also be published in the Spanish Yearbook of International Law.

• The congress also built on the work of previous scientific activities organized within the research project “The race for the Arctic: International Law issues considering climate change” (MEC, Ref. Num. DER2012-36026). 

Two Workshops on “Building Arctic Resilience”

First Workshop - When: October 2015 | Where: Reykjavik (Iceland)

Second Workshop - When: 30 May -5 June 2016 | Where: Inari (Finland) and Tromsø (Norway)

This initiative aims to build sustainable and resilient Arctic institutions. A joint strategy for this proposal considers the Arctic region in the 2010s to have become part and parcel of global multi-dimensional change(s), and that the globalized Arctic has significant implications worldwide. The project is built on ten interdisciplinary research teams, each developing academic expertise in their own areas, namely: extractive industries and human security; roles of SOEs and TNC in formation of sustainable energy policies; environmental degradation, climate change and conflicts; Indigenous knowledge, governance and global land rush; Arctic technologies and infrastructures; regional development and economy, and migration; Arctic shipping and maritime safety; Asian-Arctic nexus in foreign policy and trade; peace and stability-building in the Arctic; and governance of the marine Arctic and maritime regionalism. Based on this expertise, the following cross-cutting issues are identified: transport, resource extraction and livelihoods. The expertise of the research teams will be used to develop sustainable Arctic institutions in each of these areas. The SHWG is supporting the participation of early career researchers to enable them to attend the first meeting of the research teams at the Arctic Circle in October 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss the state of the globalized Arctic and its implications, and an additional workshop in May or June 2016 in Inari, Finland and Tromsø, Norway to discuss new research methods.

Workshop Report Engaging Cultural Heritage When Building Resilience

Final Report Calotte Academy

Scientific Findings Calotte Academy

Scientific Highlights

• An important precondition for fossil fuel-based development is to redefine cultural heritage, including indigenous/ local (environmental) knowledge, and ‘paradiplomacy,’ as part of ‘industrial civilization’. This should also include ‘resilience’, in which institutions are capable of learning and fixing problems as they emerge.

• There are multiple actors, including extremely important non-state local and regional ones (e.g., the scientific community), directly affected by the results of regional and global processes in the Arctic. It is important to consider: (1) how the voices of different communities are being heard, or not heard, in public and political discussions; (2) how the various stakeholders participate in the building of Arctic futures; and, (3) how this in turn influences other actors in the region.

• It is important to maintain and further develop the interplay between science and politics, that between scientific knowledge and Indigenous / local knowledge, as well as the interplay between material and immaterial things and values. This supports and promotes high political stability in the Arctic, which is beneficial for science and academia.

Gender Asymmetry in Northern Communities: Building a Research Network for the Nordic Countries, Baltics and Russia (NOR-GA)

When: 25-28 January 2016 | Where: Lychen (Germany)

In the indigenous and rural areas of the Nordic Countries, the Baltics and the Far North of Russia, there is a widely shared feeling that female and male identities and life-ways are increasingly out of pace with each other. Building on the “Gender Equality in the Arctic” Conference, this pilot project aims to develop a research agenda and toolkit to address such gender-related social concerns. A workshop and seminar in Hamburg, Germany in February 2016 will explore what "marginal" identities and arrangements reveal about the current complexities and predicaments of gender relations.

Scientific Highlights

• The workshop identified the causes of spatial gender shifts and asymmetries, i.e., the separation of sexes in terms of work and residence, along with the predominantly female out-migration from rural to urban areas, with particular focus on the Russian Far North.

• In light of "the lure of the city", it is worthwhile to flip the perspective and discuss the ways in which small communities and tundra homes provide conditions for personal well-being.

• Gender disparities in the Far North combine with other forms of social exclusion and marginalisation, as is often experienced by single (mostly female) parents; men who take to illegal hunting; or herdsmen and hunters that cannot find a life partner. The concept of intersectionality facilitates the exploration of such multiple forms of marginalisation.

• A scientific domain of growing importance, Queer Studies, can offer valuable insights into gender disparities and muted identities, but it has thus far seldom been applied in circumpolar contexts.

Adaptation Options in the Barents Region – Synthesis and Feedback Workshop

When: 13-14 January 2016 | Where: Bodø (Norway)

The aim of the workshop was to discuss a preliminary assessment of literature about climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation in the Barents region, and use this in a chapter about adaptation options in the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme's assessment on Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic - Part C (AACA-C). The participants were also trying to refine and apply the concepts of adaptation options and interactive drivers of change. The workshop participants were scholars that are contributing to the chapter. They are all experts on climate change adaptation, from academic institutions in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

The aim and scope of the chapter is twofold: It will illustrate the processes that shape adaptation in the Barents Region in the light of multiple stressors and effects of cumulative and interacting changes, including environmental and climatic, societal, institutions and governance, political and economic. And through the analysis of a multiplicity of resources, including the previous chapters of this report, the chapter highlights the conditions that require adaptation, current and future, and assess adaptation actions and the adaptation options. The analyses and assessments are based on data, results, reports and other input from the four different countries and communities composing the Barents Region. The analysis includes a focus on barriers, limits, actions, opportunities and motivations that have a role in adaptation. New and unprecedented changes both in climate and in socio-economic conditions are likely to require a new way of thinking about adaptation.

The result of the workshop, a completed draft of the chapter, will be submitted to the AACA secretariat on the 1st of March 2016. The AACA-C report will be published by the beginning of 2017.

Halvor Dannevig

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

• The most significant trends that will require adaptation in the Barents Region include urbanization, unbalanced outmigration by gender from  rural areas, consequences of climate change for primary industries, industrial activities, including shipping, public sector responsibilities (floods, health), and infrastructure.

• Adaptation to cumulative and interacting changes is taking place at various societal scales by different actors, sectors, and local governments and take different forms depending on among others the institutional capacity, access to knowledge and to human and economic resources.  Such adaptation takes place with or without national guidelines

• Adaptation in practice is ahead of national developments and guidelines; in the primary industries adaptation is predominantly reactive and adaptation by local governments is predominantly proactive , such as spatial planning, regional and local climate strategies and programs, avalanche protection, adjusting location of buildings to account for sea-level rise .

Infrastructure in the Arctic as a Social and Ecological Challenge

When: 15-26 January 2016 | Where: Vienna (Austria)

Material infrastructure in the Arctic – for settlements, industry, transport, etc. – often means serious impacts on the fragile ecosystems of the North, some of which have been addressed by the ICARP III initiative Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate Change (RATIC). The social and human impacts of infrastructure, however, require better understanding. In response, this workshop, which will tentatively be held in Vienna, Austria in November or December 2015, will combine existing Arctic discourses and initiatives with non-Arctic perspectives. The ultimate goal is to arrive at a better integration of social and ecological perspectives in the study of Arctic infrastructures.

Peter Schweitzer

Scientific Highlights

• Infrastructure emerged as a critical unified topic of pan-Arctic relevance, bringing natural and social science concerns together.

• While infrastructure is a critical component of industrial development (see the IASC-sponsored RATIC project), its relevance is much broader, as infrastructure is a necessary precondition of human dwelling and mobility.

• While the workshop provided excellent examples of the social and ecological challenges of infrastructure, further holistic research regarding the socio-ecological dimensions of infrastructure is needed.


Support for the Special Session “Resources, Quality of Life and Sustainable Development in the Arctic” at the International Geographical Union Regional Conference

When: 17 – 22 August 2015 | Where: Moscow (Russia)

A special session on “Resources, Quality of Life and Sustainable Development in the Arctic” was convened at the International Geographical Union (IGU) Regional Conference in August 2015. The session featured papers that examined the connection between the use of natural resources and human wellbeing in the Arctic in the context of sustainable development in different regional and institutional contexts.

Andrey Petrov
Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

Key messages from the special session included the following:
•    Sustainable development in the Arctic must be understood and addressed from interdisciplinary perspectives that incorporate approaches, methodologies and data from both the natural and social sciences.
•    Comparative studies (between regions and across time) are of high importance and relevance in the Arctic.
•    Urban issues in the Arctic, including urban sustainability, are significant and require further examination across the circumpolar region.
•    There is a need for knowledge synthesis regarding sustainable development in the Arctic.
•    Development of sustainable development indicators is one of the research priorities for the near future.


Workshop on Improved Health Knowledge in the Arctic: The Question of Missing Data

When: 11 June 2015 | Where: Oulu (Finland)

Addressing the IASC SHWG scientific foci human health and well being, the workshop focused on the monitoring of health data in the Arctic. It aimed to highlight the obstacles to a sustainable and long-term health monitoring in the Arctic, and became one of the sessions during the 16th International Congress on Circumpolar Health (ICCH-16).
It is uttermost important to have accurate information related to the health development in the Arctic.  Generally, official registers present information about the inhabitants of the Arctic regions that is of equal quality compared to the non-Arctic parts of a respective country. There are, however, two major deficiencies; parameters that are compatible between the Arctic countries and data that has the capacity to illustrate the indigenous peoples separately.

Peter Sköld

Arja Rautio

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights

Key messages from the workshop included the following:
•    Common health statistics such as life expectancy or mortality rates do not provide a sufficient understanding of health status.
•    With a range of different methods and terminology in use in each country, it can be difficult to compare quality of life, marginalization, discrimination, mental health, and living conditions across the Arctic regions.
•    There is a need to improve the inclusion of quantitative ethnic information pertaining to individuals in the Arctic in official health registers and statistics to better understand the health status of Arctic peoples and support sustainable indigenous cultures.



Supporting the preparation of the 2nd Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR II)

Preparation of the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR): Regional Processes and Global Linkages:

This second volume of the AHDR was released in 2015. It aims to provide an update to the first AHDR (2004) in terms of an assessment of the state of Arctic human development; to highlight the major trends and changes unfolding related to the various issues and thematic areas of human development in the Arctic over the past decade; and, based on this assessment, to identify policy relevant conclusions and key gaps in knowledge, new and emerging Arctic success stories.

The production of AHDR-II on the tenth anniversary of the first AHDR makes it possible to move beyond the baseline assessment to make valuable comparisons and contrasts across a decade of persistent and rapid change in the North. It addresses critical issues and emerging challenges in Arctic living conditions, quality of life in the North, global change impacts and adaptation, and Indigenous livelihoods.

The report is available at the following link:

Scientific Highlights

The assessment contributes to our understanding of the interplay and consequences of physical and social change processes affecting Arctic residents' quality of life, at both the regional and global scales. It shows that the Arctic is not a homogenous region. Impacts of globalization and environmental change differ within and between regions, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous northerners, between genders and along other axes.

Workshop on Extractive Industries & Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic: Past, Present & Future

When: 26-27 November 2014 | Where: Umeå (Sweden)

Extractive industries have had an extensive impact on indigenous communities in the Arctic. While resource exploitation and megaprojects may offer a critical source of income for advancing economic development and innovation, they also raise critical questions on best practices forward to achieving sustainability, reduce risks, and to further local human and not just economic development and quality of life, especially for the indigenous peoples of the north. This workshop explored extractive industries and the impacts on indigenous peoples in the past, present, and future with presentations by Indigenous representatives, students, and scholars from ten countries. This included aspects of governance, economy, legal systems, demography, health, and environment, as well as indigenous comparisons to Australia.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


Support of the Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security's Panel on Security of the Arctic at the 2nd Arctic Circle

When: 31 October – 2 November 2014 | Where: Reykjavik (Iceland)

The Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security - a joint network by the University of the Arctic and the Northern Research Forum - organized an international academic panel on “Security of the Arctic”, in cooperation with the Northern Research Forum, in Reykjavik, Iceland from October 31 – November 2, 2014 as a part of the 2nd Arctic Circle. The panel, which was led and coordinated by Prof. Lassi Heininen from University of Lapland, consisted of one plenary and four breakout sessions.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


Participation in the Arctic Council’s ‘Gender Equality Issues in the Arctic’ Conference

When: 30-31 October 2014 | Where: Akureyri (Iceland)

The SHWG supported the participation of a SHWG member in the conference on “Gender Equality Issues in the Arctic”, which was organized by the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) of the Arctic Council. The conference was part of a SDWG project, “Gender Equality in the Arctic: Current Realities and Future Challenges”. The project’s purpose is to “promote extensive, policy-relevant dialogue on gender equality issues in the Arctic in the context of current realities in terms of economic and social development, as well as current and future challenges, inter alia relating to climatic and environmental changes.” The conference brought together government representatives, policy makers, academics and a wide range of other stakeholders. It focused on the diverse and differentiated situations of men and women throughout the Circumpolar North and how to meet associated societal challenges.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


Support for the Early Career Scholars (ECS) Workshop on Arctic Sustainability

When: 18-20 September 2014 | Where: Anchorage (USA)

An Early Career Scientists Workshop on Arctic Sustainability was held in Anchorage (USA). Workshop participants were given the opportunity to present their research at the Arctic Sustainability: Meanings and Means Conference and interact with leading scientists and emerging researchers involved in the study of Arctic social-ecological systems and sustainability. Following this Conference, early career scientists were given the opportunity to discuss their research papers with appointed mentors at the workshop and learn more about career paths.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


Town Hall Meeting at the 54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association

When: 29 August 2014 | Where: St. Petersburg, Russia

As part of the ICARP III process, the SHWG hosted a Town Hall meeting to offer an opportunity to solicit input from social scientists and humanities scholars. It encouraged all researchers interested in the Arctic and Subarctic to attend and find out more about ICARP III and provide ideas and views on research/science priorities for the next decade. The meeting notes were added to that which was learned at the Town Hall meeting at ICASS VIII. Both records will inform the SHWG ICARP III process. The working languages of the Town Hall meeting were English and Russian.

Meeting Report

Scientific Highlights


Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use

When: 6-7 April 2014 | Where: Helsinki, Finland

This workshop was convened during Arctic Science Summit Week on April 6th to 7th, 2014 in Helsinki, Finland. Focusing on the Central Yakutian Lowlands, it brought together scholars from various disciplines to explore how local communities have made use and are making use of permafrost dynamics for subsistence activities; assess how climate change is likely to change permafrost dynamics and indigenous land use in this part of the Sub-Arctic; and explore to what extent humans have appropriated and actively shaped the thermokarst landscapes of Northeast Siberia.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


Social & Human Working Group Meeting at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) VIII

When: 24 May 2014 | Where: Prince George, Canada

A meeting was held to inform Arctic social science and humanities scholars who attended the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) VIII about the activities of the Working Group and some of its future plans, including the review of its scientific foci in 2015, with discussions taking place during Arctic Science Summit Week in 2015 from April 23rd to 30th in Toyama, Japan. Those who attended the meeting were given an opportunity to provide their comments and ask questions.

SHWG Meeting Notes

Scientific Highlights


ICARP III Town Hall Meeting at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) VIII

When: 23 May 2014 | Where: Prince George, Canada

An ICARP-III Town Hall was held at the Eighth International Congress of Arctic SocialSciences (ICASS VIII) on 23 May 2014. The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity to solicit input from social scientists, humanities scholars and other participants at the Congress. ICASS, convened triennially, is the premier gathering of Arctic and Sub-arctic social science and humanities scholars, attracting academics from a wide range of disciplines,as well as a significant number of indigenous northerners, government and NGO representatives and other participants. ICASS VIII attracted 468 delegates from 26 countries and at least 15 northern indigenous groups. Over 350 delegates attended the ICARP-III town hall, hosted by the IASC SHWG. The event was also live-streamed, to ensure its availability to those IASSA members not able to attend ICASS VIII. After a short welcome by Gail Fondahl (IASSA President and IASC SHWG Co-Vice Chair), ICARP-III Chair David Hik presented an overview of the aims and goals ofICARP-III. Peter Schweitzer, Chair of the IASC SHWG, described the Working Group’sICARP-III initiatives, recent and planned. Chris Southcott provided a short summary of UCCARP activities on behalf of UArctic, and Gerlis Fugmann, Executive Director of APECs, described APECS involvement in ICARP-III. Peter Sköld (IASC SHWG co-Vice Chair) then moderated a 45-minute discussion period. Participants highlighted a number of areas that they felt were important and/or potentially lacking from the outlined activities, addressing both particular focus areas of importance to social sciences and humanities, and the outlined process for ICARP-III. The input from this town hall, along with the input from similar events over the next months, will inform a White Paper to be delivered for ICARP-III at ASSW 2015.

Scientific Highlights



Russia and Arctic Anthropology: Toward an Agenda for the 21st Century

When: May 2013 | Where: St. Petersburg, Russ. Federation

Ten Arctic social scientists, from eight countries, convened in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, for a workshop on “Russia and Arctic Anthropology: Toward an Agenda for the 21st Century”. The workshop was organized by Nikolai Vakhtin and Peter Schweitzer, and supported by European University – St. Petersburg and the IASC SHWG. The participants included one indigenous scholar originally from the Russian Artic. The group discussed the current state and future of Arctic anthropology and other social sciences research both broadly and specifically in Arctic Russia. Participants then worked toward developing a framework for a new, large-scale research initiative focusing on key elements of change in the Russian Arctic. The group expects to continue elaborating the framework in the next months.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights



Between Discourses and Modernities: Histories and Methodologies of Arctic Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

Location: Umeå, Sweden | When: 13 December 2012

IASC WG Human & Social Science arranged the scientific workshop Between Discourses and Modernities: Histories and Methodologies of Arctic Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at Umeå University Sweden. Ten invited keynote speakers presented on themes including Scientific representations of the Arctic, The history of environmental monitoring, Governance, natural resource exploitation and geo-politics in the Arctic, International law, The use of historical documents, traditional knowledge and scientific practice, Indigenous self-representation, The relevance and influence of research, and Driving-forces, and the construction of knowledge and expertise. The workshop attracted 39 participants from 10 countries.

Workshop Report

Scientific Highlights


CARMA workshop on 'Global status of migratory tundra Rangifer'

Location: Vancouver, Canada | When: Late Fall 2012

The Social and Human Sciences Working Group is supporting a CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment (CARMA) workshop on the global status of migratory tundra Rangifer. The workshop will include academics, aboriginal representatives, co-management group members, climate specialists and agency biologists and managers. The workshop is consistent with IASC's mission to be circumpolar in scope. CARMA focuses on 22 herds across the North in Canada, USA, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Russia. The objectives of the meeting will be 1) to better assess the mechanisms behind the recent declines in Rangifer, 2) to share management experiences over the last decade to deal with these declines and 3) based on these discussions, to recommend monitoring indicators and management actions that should be employed through future cycles of abundance of migratory tundra Rangifer.

The workshop is consistent with the scope and foci of the Social and Human Sciences Working Group since the abundance of Rangifer has a major impact on northern residents, particulaly aborginal hunters and elders. The Workshop opens up collaborations based on shared experience and will focus on the lessons learned from communities and co-management arrangements that have experienced shortages in caribou and reindeer and how to better prepare in the future. Industrial exploration and development is on going and of growing interest in the Arctic. Understanding the socio-economic trade-offs of development requires collaboration to understand and predict the extent and implications of possible changes.

Workshop Report

For more information go to

Scientific Highlights


Perceptions and Representations of Polar (Climate) Science

Lead Convenors: James Overland (NOAA, ) and Peter Schweitzer (University of Alaska Fairbanks, ) Where: IPY 2012 Montréal Conference | When: 22-27 April, 2012

Polar science faces a strange conundrum: while recent years (and the Fourth IPY in particular) have brought massive advances in understanding the polar systems, popular understanding of these processes seems to be diminishing. In light of tremendous changes threatening the state of the system in the Arctic and elsewhere, mis-perceptions and representations of polar climate science become a matter of concern for society at large. Given the critical role media and politics play in that field, representatives from these arenas will be part of the session as well as academics. The latter groups will include climate scientists, historians of science, as well as social scientists trying to understand the current situation.

Part of Area 3 (From Knowledge to Action) - Parallel Session 3.2.1
Organized by the Chairs of both the IASC Atmosphere WG and Social and Human Sciences WG.

A summary of the session, published in EOS by Jim Overland and Peter Schweitzer, can be downloaded here.


Scientific Highlights


A community-based workshop on Kodiak Island, Alaska, focused on local ecosystem changes and adaptations.

The Working Group will collaborate with the community and local industry in planning and conducting the proposed workshop.

Inventory existing funding opportunities and further advocate the humanities and social sciences in the funding structures for international arctic research.

Contribute to Arctic Human Development Report II (AHDR II), lead by the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland.

Explore existing initiatives that are in line with the set science foci

Look for ways of cooperation and creating synergies, e.g., by creating an inventory of past, existing and planned projects, looking for potential new partners and funding opportunities.

Scientific Highlights



IASC Social & Human Sciences WG Meeting

22 and 23 June 2011 | Akureyri, Iceland

The annual meeting of the IASC Social & Human Sciences Working Group (WG) took place on the first two days of the seventh International Congress of Arctic social Sciences (ICASS VII). The meeting kicked-off with an information session for all those interested in the WG activities and priorities. After a short introduction the Steering Group opened up the floor to questions, input and comments from the audience. The WG members hope to take this input from the broader Social Sciences and Humanities research community and integrate it in their further discussion on scientific foci and the planning of activities. Both the meeting following the informational segment and the one scheduled for the second day on June 23 were open to the public. The meeting ended with a short closed executive session.

If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please contact the WG Secretary Mare Pit

Agenda Akureyri Meeting

Scientific Highlights


Roundtable Perceptions and Representations of Arctic Science

When: 3 July 2011 | Where: Akureyri, Iceland

There are multiple and contested perceptions and representations of Arctic science. There has been an increasing if not widespread awareness of potential and actual misunderstandings on all parts, but even though this issue has been raised on earlier occasions, the issue has yet to be discussed systematically. Therefore the IASC Social and Human Sciences Working Group believes it was time to explore in a roundtable format how to further address the interconnection of Arctic science, politics, stakeholders, the media, and the wider public. The roundtable took place on July 3rd at the seventh International Congress of Arctic social Sciences in Akureyri, Iceland. Participants were encouraged to get acquainted with the ICARP II Science Plan "Arctic Science in the Public Interest".

If you have any questions regarding the roundtable, please contact the WG Secretary Mare Pit

Roundtable Abstract

ICARP 2 Science Plan: Arctic Science in the Public Interest

Scientific Highlights