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Future North session at Arctic Frontiers


22 January, 2015

What are the current and potential issues and questions of the circumpolar North concerning landscape as well as culture? How will they be addressed in the years ahead? Within what frameworks can they be anticipated, and productively so? How do our actions today as citizens, communities, educators and researchers contribute to shaping the North of the future with a particular focus on its societies, cultures, landscapes and industries?


The Future North session at the Arctic Frontiers Conference brings together landscape theorists, visual media specialists, architects, ethnographers and cultural communicators to explore the potential and converging powers of change in settlements, cities, and territories of the North.

Arctic landscapes are at the core of these debates – the waters, coastlines, fisheries, sea floors, as well as the terrestrial territories of the North. Where ‘Landscape’ used to lurk at the margins of society, landscapes are currently at the forefront of concern – all over the world – due to rapid physical transformations brought about by climate change, and, not least, due to access to and consumption of contested resources.

This Future North Session will address relationships between landscape, society, culture and industry as follows:

Concepts and theories
This theme will examine the conceptual transformation of Northern landscapes. Concepts and theories have very direct influences on issues of environmental awareness as well as on our perceptions and contestations concerning land use. They also refer to the practices and critiques of extraction-centred policies and decision-making and to the direction of future ‘development’. The theme will investigate approaches to the study of landscapes oriented towards the future of land and territories of the Subarctic and Arctic, both in Norway, Northwest Russia and the Canadian North.

Landscape, settlement and territory
In the North, cities and settlements are strongly dependent on their territories and on local communities’ understanding of changing landscapes. This theme will include presentations that investigate theory and practice in support of the new and innovative relations between local communities and the landscapes they inhabit. How it is that some cities are mobilizing to benefit from their proximity to charged areas, while others are struggling to survive as sustainable societies?

Participatory mapping and ethnographies
Ways in which participation, community perspectives and discursive process are conducted, constituted and critiqued are taken up in this session. Also under discussion are the representation and mediation of diverse stakeholders in approaching the future North.

Speculations and Projections
The future of the circumpolar North is rooted in contemporary practices as well as anticipatory and speculative ones that reach beyond the comfort of the present. This theme will include presentations that discuss experimental design practices and addresses the discursive and affective challenges of future landscapes of the North.

These four theme will be elaborated in the Future North session programme by an array of Nordic and international presenters.

This addition of Future North to Arctic Frontiers offers the wider conference complementary and diverse views on the changing nature of the far North. The session if based on the assumption that productive and analytical modes of inquiry and expression may bring forth speculative and challenging scenarios for future thinking in and about Northern territories. We welcome participation and discussion.



09.00 Welcome

09.30 William L Fox (Center and Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art) Brandscape: the role of public art in contemporary nature

10.00 Janike Kampevold Larsen (Oslo School of Architecture and Design) The new landscapes of North

10.30 Coffee

11.00 Geoff Manaugh (bldgblog.blogspot.com) Urban speculation and landscape futures

11.30 Svein Harald Holmen (Vardø Restored, Varanger Museum) Restoring community, Vardø

12.00 Lunch

13.00 Live Posters: Kjerstin Uhre: Mining controversies + Morgan Ip: Ethnographies of the North

14.00 Alessandra Ponte, (Université de Montréal) Testing Ground: Mapping Mining in the Canadian North

14.30 Aileen Espiritu (Barents Institute) Kautokeino and Kvalsund Compared: rejection and acceptance of mining in communities in Northern Norway

15.00 Coffee

15.30 Peter Hemmersam (Oslo School of Architecture and Design) Arctic urbanism: Kola mining towns

16.00 Andrew Morrison (Oslo School of Architecture and Design) Co-narrating the future North

16.30 Closing statement: Johan Schimanski: Reading the Future North



Conference fee: NOK 1200,- (1100,- for students).

Please register at the Arctic Frontiers website (One Day Pass: Science Thursday 22 January).