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Published: 2023-08-03

A PhD Course and Two Weeks of Writing in Tromsø

NEWS Strategic funding from Arctic Centre

Text: Monica Börlin

In the beginning of June 2023, Paulette van der Voet attended a PhD Course in Tromsø, Norway, and then stayed for a couple more weeks to write on her dissertation, and tie connections with her Norwegian supervisors. Her trip was funded by strategic funding from the Arctic Centre at Umeå University.

Paulette van der Voet is a Doctoral Student at the Department of Language Studies, and an associated researcher at the Arctic Centre at Umeå University. She applied for funding from the Arctic Centre’s strategic funds for her trip to Tromsø and was granted. Van der Voet explains that she attended a course and met with her dissertation supervisors.

– In the first week of June 2023, I took a PhD course: Theorizing and Applying Critical Indigenous Philosophizes, organised by the Centre for Sami Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. After the PhD course, I stayed 2.5 weeks longer in Tromsø to write my course paper, to work on a chapter for my dissertation, and to have supervision in person with Hilde Sollid and Åse Mette Johansen (two of my supervisors who work at UiT). During those two weeks, I could borrow an office at the Centre for Sami Studies, so that I could be part of that research environment during my stay.

All these things together really motivated me and gave me a lot of inspiration for my writing.

When asked about the course and the two weeks of writing, van der Voet describes them as inspiring and helpful.

– I felt inspired by the PhD course! Being in another environment also benefited my writing and I got very useful feedback on my project by my supervisors and the researchers at the Centre for Sami Studies. My dissertation is a comparative study of curricula for Indigenous language education from four different contexts whereas two of these contexts are Sami language education in Norway and Sami language education in Sweden. Therefore, it has been very helpful to be able to discuss my project with those who work in the Sami context in Norway, and with others working with different Indigenous contexts.

Two of van der Voet’s three supervisors are based in Tromsø. She shares that although it works well with supervision on Zoom, it is something completely different to be in the same room together and discuss the work.

– All these things together really motivated me and gave me a lot of inspiration for my writing. So, I managed to finish a lot of writing while in Tromsø, and I went home with many ideas for my continuous work.

Van der Voet could also mention four ways her trip was beneficial to the Arctic.

– Firstly, this activity highlights the connections between Arctic universities and the researchers working there. Secondly, Indigenous language education is an essential part of life in the Arctic, and it is valuable to not only look at the context in one country, but to do this from a comparative perspective. Thirdly, my research itself is already highly interdisciplinary combining educational sciences, linguistics and Indigenous studies. But being at the Centre for Sami Studies, where I could have lunch with those working within for example political sciences, anthropology or history, all related to Indigenous peoples, has been a really nice opportunity to discuss my project from different perspectives.

The fourth point she makes is of environmental and sustainable value. Van der Voet explains that she travelled by bus and train, even though the first thought might be to travel by plane due to the long distances in the Arctic. She hopes to be able to inspire others to travel by more sustainable measures. She adds that the benefit of being able to work during the travel is a big bonus as well.

About the course

Theorizing and Applying Critical Indigenous Philosophizes (5 ECTS)
The course is a PhD singular course open to doctoral degree students, and held by the Centre for Sámi students at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

It takes its starting point in Sápmi and focuses on theories of knowledge and different knowledge systems, the application of knowledge and different approaches to Indigenous methodologies, as well as how these can be integrated and applied as analytical tools in Indigenous research.

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