Resilient northern communities

The questions on how to build macro-economically reasonable and locally sustainable living conditions for subarctic and arctic rural communities are central in the course contents and in the tutoring of the UiT AUN Bachelor of Northern Studies, as well as in the research of the NSRG team

E-handbook on business and community development in indigenous regions of the circumpolar north

Tor Arne Gjertsen of the NSRG is heading the international work of the University of the Arctic (UArc) on creating a new E-Handbook focusing how to attain good industrial and social development for indigenous peoples in the high north. This project is supported by UArctic funds. Related to this line of Gjertsen’s research and development assignments, in the fall of 2017, he also accepted to chair the UArctic Thematic Network on Local and Regional Development

R&D-projects aiming for local development in rural regions of northern Norway and Russia have applied a variety of theories, methods and techniques borrowed from diverse social contexts globally. Evaluations have revealed systematic differences in results between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and regions, indicating the need for more specialized apporaches in the development of existing indigenous practices, to attain new positive conditions in northern communities.

In the work on the E-handbook on northern indigenous business and community development the methodologies used in earlier projects are critically evaluated and related to best-practices for social and economic development in remote and sparsely populated regions found internationally, with an emphasis on circum-arctic communities. 

The core-partner institutions in the “Northern Indigenous people’s BCD-E-handbook” project are the Institute of Finance and Economics at the North-Eastern Federal University of Yakutsk - Russia, the Community Development Institute, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George - Canada and the NSRG “home department” of Tourism and Northern Studies, UiT AUN Campus Alta - Norway.

Sport and out-door recreation – part of what constitute attractive living conditions in northern rural communities

In this line of work Tor Arne Gjertsen is collecting data on the “Svalbard Ski-marathon” – possibly the most northern ski-based marathon race in the world – held near 78 degrees North on the arctic islands of Svalbard/Spitsbergen. The project is part of an international study of sports tourism events and the social significance they have for crisis-stricken smaller northern communities. A comparative case-study is made on the “Emperor's Challenge” in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

Contact person:
Tor Arne Gjertsen, UiT AUN Campus Alta

The Yakut Centre of Spiritual Culture, Yakutsk, Russia. Photo Urban Wråkberg in 2014. The building was damaged by fire in 2018 but is presently under restoration

Spiritual interests are on the rise in the international visitor’s industry. Can the urbanites’ attraction to traditional knowledge be catered to by indigenous communities? Prof. Anatoly Chistobaev, St. Petersburg, about to test an ethnic drum at the US-Kut tourist lodge and homestead of the Atlasov family, outside Yakutsk, Russia, instructed by Valentina Atlasova, in Yakut national costume, herself stemming from a family of shamans.
Photo: Urban Wråkberg