FACE-IT at the Arctic Congress Bodø 2024

29 May to 03 June 2024

The FACE-IT partner Nordland Research Institute and the Nord University in Bodø are hosting the Arctic Congress Bodø 2024. It will be a unique event, combining the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) XI, the UArctic Congress 2024, and the High North Dialogue 2024. The event will consist of high-level plenary sessions, several parallel sessions, network activities, and social and cultural events. If will provide researchers, policymakers, businesses, and students with many opportunities to exchange knowledge and meet and connect across the Arctic.

FACE-IT member Grete K. Hovelsrud (Nordland Research Institute) is the chair of the steering committee. Furthermore, many FACE-IT colleagues are (co-)convening in as many as six sessions.

Choose a session and submit your abstract now! Abstract submission deadline is 05 January 2024, 5 pm CET.


Session 2.2.1: Gazing at melting ice? Arctic tourism in transition, multi-sensory encounters in changing Arctic landscapes

Thora Herrmann1, Halvor Dannevig2, Vesa-Pekka Herva1, Kristin Løseth2, Julia Olsen3, Albina Pashkevich4, Margareta Pintér5, Carina Ren6, Alix Varnajot1
1University of Oulu, 2Western Norway Research Institute, 3Nordland Research Institute, 4Center for Tourism and Leisure Research, Dalarna University, 5The SAXO Institute, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, 6The Techno-Anthropology Lab, Aalborg University

Tourism has been identified as one of the main drivers for economic development in Arctic communities in the Nordic region. While Arctic tourism is growing, the region is also undergoing rapid and dramatic climate changes, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification (Rantanen et al, 2022). Increasing tourism flows combined with climate and environmental changes provide both opportunities and challenges to local communities, the wider tourism industry and governance. In addition, the rapidly changing socio-ecological landscapes of remote Arctic areas are a catalyst of multisensory interactions that shed light on processes and ways in which these places are interacted with-, experienced, and represented.
This panel will discuss how changing tourism patterns combined with rapid climate and environmental changes are shaping the Arctic region. What are the implications of these changes for communities, product and destination development, the tourist experience and visitor management? We will discuss notions of place, presence, absence, in-betweenness, enchantment and disenchantment, ecological grief, traumascapes, Arctification, dark tourism, human-object relations, relational heritage, and tangibility/intangibility. We invite scholars, but also practitioners, and panelists from the tourist industry to share and discuss their experiences in relation to the rapidly changing environment and multiple responses from Arctic tourism. The session takes a multidisciplinary perspective and welcomes contributions that delve into the relationships between last chance tourism, place attachment and Arctic futures.


Session 2.3.4: Managing change in Arctic coastal communities: resources, practices, and livelihoods

Grete Hovelsrud1, Anna G. Sveinsdóttir1

1Nordland Research Institute

This session explores approaches that will contribute to an understanding how changes in the marine environmental affect communities, livelihoods, and managerial practices. Climate change combined with pressures and opportunities from fishing, tourism, shipping, and changing socio-economic conditions have consequences for Arctic fjords and coastal communities. One question is how to facilitate recurring interactions between scientists and local actors, communities and policy makers work together to create knowledge that can be used for adapting to the rapid changes in the Arctic, and for assessing options for adaptive co-management. The session will address how to facilitate joint learning about societal challenges and opportunities related to changing biodiversity and climate in Arctic fjord systems and support management at the local and national levels. In this session, we share some of the project insights and learnings concerning co-production of knowledge with local actors around the fjords Nuup Kangerlua, Greenland; Isfjorden, Svalbard; and Porsangerfjorden, Norway. While each social-ecological fjord system faces its unique management challenges, there are several common concerns, including changing biodiversity, the importance of policy decisions and regulations as shapers of change, and increasing competition for space. We invite presentations that may contribute with new knowledge and ideas on how to further this challenging, but promising approach. The session is organized by a team of researchers from the EU-funded inter- and transdisciplinary project The Future of Arctic Coastal Ecosystems – Identifying Transitions in fjord systems and adjacent coastal areas (FACE-IT) which addresses interacting changes of marine biodiversity, ecosystems, nature-based tourism, and local livelihoods.


Session 3.2.1: Arctic Green Transitions: Contexts and Practices

Lill Rastad Bjørst1 , Peder Roberts2

1Aalborg University, 2University of Stavanger

Green transitions are currently underway or in discussion for many parts of the world – including in the Arctic. This open session explores the phenomenon of the green transition in historical and contemporary context. The global green transition involves resources that may be found in the Arctic – but without necessarily recognizing Arctic residents and communities in the solutions envisioned. Communities across the Arctic have long experience with transitions that have changed both lifeways and environments, often in the context of unequal power relations that have imposed rather than coproduced changes. We hope to bring perspectives from past transitions in Arctic regions and local energy stories into discussion with current discussions of green transition with a particular focus on these as socio-political as much as technical phenomena. Debates over wind power, hydro power, oil extraction, Power-to-X installations, carbon capture and storage and mining of rare earth elements all raise questions of the agency of local Arctic residents in the context of global pressures for particular transitions. Consequently we seek contributions from historians, planners, political scientists, anthropologists, and all others whose work bears upon how Arctic communities can navigate the green transition.


Session 4.0.13: Greenland imagining independence: Postcolonial politics of comparison

Ulrik Gad1, Lill Rastad Bjørst2

1Danish Institute of International Studies, 2Aalborg University

The panel reports findings and preliminary conclusions of a collective research project reading Greenlandic politics as imagining ways towards independence. In these imaginations, comparisons play central roles. Greenlandic debates and development plans are shaped by extreme clashes of scales and, hence, extreme versions of all the dilemmas invoked by an ambition to move beyond coloniality. Since Greenland does not come with one pre-packed set of peer polities obvious to compare with, a wide variety of states, peoples, territories, and polities appear in Greenlandic political discourse as models to emulate or scarecrows to avoid. Notably, these comparisons – positive and negative – play very different roles for promoters of different identity narratives (e.g., some present Canadian Inuit as models when it comes to indigenous culture – others distance themselves from this identification). Moreover, the politics of comparison plays out very differently across sectors (e.g., in language policy, multicultural and monolingual models clash openly, while in infrastructure, European models come buried in technical standards). So even if the politics of comparison has been studied in the ages of empire (Stoler) and nationalism (Anderson), the project demonstrates that agency and imagination in the postcolonial era are so different, that a study of postcolonial politics of comparison needs a different focus. Offering a new theoretical account; conducting in-depth empirical analyses of the extreme Greenlandic case; and developing a coherent methodological approach, the project reported in the panel opens up a new research agenda on the politics of comparison in processes of decolonization.


Session 4.1.11: Restoring sustainable food systems, livelihoods and ecosystems in the Arctic

Majken Paulsen1, Camilla Risvoll1, Camilla Brattland2, Julien Lebel1, Maiken Bjørkan1

1Nordland Research Institute, 2UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet

Arctic environments and communities are experiencing rapid change. A warmer climate is an important driver of change, but a myriad of other factors also play a major role, such as effects from fishing, tourism, shipping, new or introduced species, demography and other changing socio-economic conditions. Ongoing climate and environmental changes, such as retreating sea ice and changing pasture conditions for livestock and reindeer, is bringing both new opportunities and challenges. Fisheries, shipping, tourism and oil and gas exploitation are expected to benefit from new environmental conditions in the Arctic. Yet, the burden on fragile ecosystems may increase further in connection with the expansion of human-related activities. Deteriorating ecosystems are already affecting the structure of Arctic food systems, with ramifications for livelihoods such as tourism and resource-based harvest. How do we work to restore food systems, livelihoods and ecosystems in the Arctic to prevent further environmental deterioration and to create the necessary conditions for thriving communities and local economies? With a point of departure in the ongoing research projects FACE-IT and Future Arctic Lives, this session invites research on efforts to restore food systems and livelihoods in Arctic communities.


Session 5.18: The powers of maps in shaping human-nature relations in the Arctic

Helena Gonzales Lindberg1, Camilla Risvoll1

1Nordland Research Institute

Maps do not merely represent places and spaces but also produce clear separations between the ‘human world’; country borders, roads, and dotted cities, and the ‘natural world’; forests, tundra, and glaciers. In their inclusions and exclusions maps cement specific human-nature relations and in so doing constitute a sense of hierarchy, certainty, and control, often naturalising political economic relations to nature. Moreover, maps perform different roles in political processes: as authoritative documents, points of departure, or proposals for the future. This can make maps highly influential. Yet, these powers of maps are rarely problematised in the study and practice of environmental politics or indeed in people’s everyday lives. We will discuss how maps shape human-nature relations upon which political choices are made, concentrating on examples from the Arctic region. Topics discussed will include:

  • How maps perform the political and their influence on environmental governance in the Arctic.
  • How maps are employed as arguments or proposals for how to deal with sustainability challenges in the Arctic.
  • How maps can be made or used to rethink taken-for-granted understandings about the Arctic.

Panelists will shortly present their paper drafts, which are circulated prior to the event. To focus on how maps frame our thinking of and in the Arctic means to recognise the complex relations between humans and nature, highlighting the role of non-state actors, marginalised knowledges, and anti-colonial perspectives. Thus, we welcome discussions on maps that are based on various knowledges and expression forms, including indigenous knowledges and art.


Photos: Simon Jungblut (University of Bremen)

People involved