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Doctoral thesis defence: Morgan Ip


9 December, 2022, 10.00 – 16.00

Morgan Ip will defend his PhD thesis “Urban Futures in the North – A Collective Imagination of an Arctic Borderland” at AHO on December 9th.
The defence starts at 12.00.

The title of the trial lecture will be: “Hyperlandscape as an interpretive concept for imagining Arctic futures within architectural and urban practice”.


Summary of the thesis

This dissertation is a cultural landscape mapping project, merging ethnography with urban planning and design to uncover the contours of relevant local context to inform those interested in a socially-mediated urban future for Arctic communities. Design anthropology provides a framework for this pursuit, as it combines the tools from each parent discipline into a more well-rounded temporal and spatial practice. The approach bridges the enrichening human-focused aspects of ethnography with the future-oriented imagining of design practice at the scale of the landscape and the Arctic city.

The research is centred on the town of Kirkenes in Sør-Varanger municipality, an Arctic borderland where Norway, Russia and Finland meet. This thesis is an account of voices in the border region and how local imaginings reveal distinct elements of what contemporaneously constitutes the cultural landscape. The fieldwork was an ephemeral forum for sharing community aspirations, and the pieces come together as a glimpse into the dynamics of everyday life and future-thinking in the Arctic border region.

About the candidate

Prior to his PhD work, Morgan Ip completed a Master of Architecture from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Further, he worked on several Arctic community-based research projects at Health Canada, then Lateral Office in Toronto. During his doctoral research, Morgan co-taught Master’s studio courses “Arctic City – Urban Design” and “Taste of a Territory”, and contributed to the “In:Transit” studio series. He was also a research associate with the “Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City” consortium.  Morgan is currently on the “Arctic Cultures” project at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

Supervisor and committee

Supervisor: Aileen Espiritu
Co-supervisor: Peter Hemmersam

The committee:
Professor Heather. N. Nicol, PhD
Jérémie McGowan, PhD
Associate Professor Einar Sneve Martinussen, PhD