Svalbard Studies

This webpage is dedicated to Svalbard Studies, a new area studies discipline which is currently being developed with RSCPR's active participation. See below for related events:


Part I, Papers: 7 February 2020, Huset (Styrerommet)

09:30 – 10:30 Frigga Kruse, “Paper Tiger, Toothless Dragon: How British Mining Failed to Influence the Outcome of the Spitsbergen Treaty” (keynote)

Coffee break

10:45 – 11:15 Thor Bjørn Arlov, “Mining for Sovereignty? Norwegian Coal Companies and the Quest for Supremacy over Svalbard 1916-1925”

11:15 – 11:45 Birger Amundsen, “The Black Veins of Svalbard”

11:45 – 12:15 Svetlana Sokolova, “Spot the Miner: Do Clothes Really Make the (Wo)man?”

Lunch break

13:00 – 13:30 Andrei Rogatchevski, “Sergei Kharchenko’s «Tsvety i l’dy» (Flowers on Ice, 1971) and the Representation of Mining in Soviet Fiction”

13:30 – 14:00 Lisbeth Wærp, “Svalbard’s coal mining in Monica Kristensen’s (non-)fiction”

14:00 – 14:30 Elin Haugdal, “Coal Mining in Photography”

Coffee break

14:45 – 15:15 Turid Austin Wæhler (appearing by Skype), “Coal Mining and Health on Svalbard

15:15 – 15:45 Yngvar Steinholt, “The Hammer and the Chisel: Mining in the Popular Music of the Cold War Era”

15:45-16:15 Jacek Szymala, “Polish Documentary Films about Svalbard”


Part II, Film screenings: 8 February 2020, Galleri Svalbard, 14:00-16:00

Russian documentaries from RGAKFD (The Russian State Archive for Documentary Visuals, Krasnogorsk), introduced by Marina Iuzhaninova (Norfest)

Далеко на Севере / Far Away in the North (1932, dir. unknown) 19 min

На 78й параллели / At the 78th Parallel North (1934, dir. V. Boikov) (a fragment   No. 31/530) 5 min

За четырьмя морями / Beyond the Four Seas (1966, dir. I. Gorchilin) 19 min

Севернее – только Северный полюс Further North, There Is Only the North Pole (1976, dir. I. Galin) 9 min

Polish documentaries from WFO (Educational Film Studio, Lodz), introduced by Dr Jacek Szymala (University of Wroclaw)

Do Ziemi Torella / To Torell Land (1934, dir. W. Biernawski) 9 min

Szpicbergi / Spitsbergen (1958, dir. J. Brzozowski) 18 min

Wśród gór i dolin Arktyki / Among the Mountains and Valleys of the Arctic (1958-59, dir. W. Puchalski) 14 min


All the films have English subtitles. Everyone is welcome!




4 March 2019, 6pm in room 6.222

  • 1932, 1934, 1966, 1976 | 38 min (unsubtitled)

Далеко на Севере / Far up North (1932) 9 min

На 78й параллели / 78 degrees North (1934) 2 min

За четырьмя морями / Beyond Four Seas (1966) 18 min

Севернее – только Северный полюс / Close to the North Pole (1976) 9 min 

These rare films have been preserved at the Russian State Archive for Documentary Film and Photography, and selected and introduced by the independent exhibition and festival curator Marina Yuzhaninova (Norfest, Moscow)





A two-day workshop "Svalbard and the Humanities", generously funded by the Svalbard Science Forum (SSG/NFR), was held at UiT on 27-28 November 2017 under the auspices of the RSCPR research group. The workshop has inaugurated a new area studies discipline, called Svalbard Studies. See below for the workshop programme. A downloadable attachment with paper abstracts can be found on the right side of this webpage. A publication of the workshop proceedings is planned (published in February 2020 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Svalbard Treaty).


27 November 2017, Humanities Building, room C-1007

10.15 Words of welcome by the organising committee



10.30 Dr Thor Bjørn Arlov (NTNU):

«Maps and Geographical Names as Tokens of National Interests: The Spitsbergen vs Svalbard Case»


Panel 1 Resources, objects and concepts (chaired by Professor Andrei Rogatchevski)

11.30 Dr Dag Avango (KTH, Sweden):

«Industrial Heritage Sites on Svalbard: A Resource for Communities in Transition?»

12.00 Coffee break

12.15 Professor Geir Ulfstein (UiO, appearing by Skype):

«Nationalisation and Internationalisation in the Light of the Svalbard Treaty»

12.45 Dr John Ash (SPRI, University of Cambridge, UK):

«Protein, Pirates and Arctic Politics: Svalbard and Conflict in a Changing Climate»

13.15 Lunch


Panel 2 Practices (chaired by Dr Leonid S. Chekin)

14.15 Professor Aleksandr Portsel (MSTU, Murmansk, Russia):

«The "Poliarnaia kochegarka" (Polar Furnace) Newspaper as a Source on the Soviet Mining on Spitsbergen in the 1930-80s»

14.45 Andrian Vlakhov (RAS Institute of Sociology, Moscow, Russia):

«Russian Settlements on Svalbard in Transition: A Longitudinal Community Study (2013-17)»

15.15 Dr Ulrike Spring (UiO):

«Tourism and Adventure: Cruises to Svalbard in the Late XIX Century»

15.45 Coffee break

16.00 Professor Urban Wråkberg (UiT):

«Tourism Initiatives on Svalbard: A Cultural Perspective»

16.30 Professor Henning Howlid Wærp (UiT):

«Encounters with the Polar Bear in Scandinavian Children’s Literature from Svalbard»


28 November 2017, Humanities Building, room C-1006

Panel 3 Verbal and visual representations (chaired by Dr Dag Avango)

10.00 Dr Leonid S. Chekin (AIRO-XXI, Moscow, Russia):

«Islands and Peninsulas of the Arctic in Medieval Texts and Cartography»

10.30 Jan Martin Berg (Longyearbyen lokalstyre):

«Galleri Svalbard»

11.00 Dr Silje Solheim Karlsen (UiT):

«Coming of Age through Svalbard Adventures»

11.30 Coffee break

11.45 Dr Julia Gerlach (Freie Universität Berlin) and Dr Nadir Kinossian (IFL-Leipzig):

«Cultural Landscape of the Arctic: ‘Recycling’ Soviet Imagery in Barentsburg»

12.15 Dr Elin Kristine Haugdal (UiT):

«Photographs of Barentsburg and Pyramiden, 1950s–1970s»

12.45 Professor Andrei Rogatchevski (UiT):

«Recent Russian Documentaries about Spitsbergen in the Context of Feature Films on the Soviet Exploration of the Arctic»

13.15 Questions, discussion, future plans and recommendations. Conference closure