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Published: 2008-10-03

Circumpolar arctic past and present – international conference in Umeå 8-10 October

NEWS On 8-10 October 2008 the conference “Human Dimensions in the Circumpolar Arctic: An Interdisciplinary Conference under the Auspices of the International Polar Year” will take place at Umeå University. In addition to the large number of scientific lectures, a special piano concert will be held in the Aula Nordica auditorium on the opening evening.

The conference - hosted by Umeå University in Sweden - will pay particular attention to human life and conditions in the North in the past, the present and the future. Questions that will be addressed are how the situation in the North has been depicted in science, art and literature and how the possibilities for various kinds of social and economical developments have been understood at various times.

On Wednesday evening, Kristín Jónína Tayloren will perform a piano concert of works by the Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson.
“This is the first time the ensemble will perform in Sweden, so it’s a premier performance open to all who are interested,” says Professor Lars-Erik Edlund, chairperson of the conference.

The conference will feature 150 scientists and researchers within the themes: indigenous peoples, gender dimensions, culture and science, resources and climate, and health and welfare.
”The conference is included in the International Polar Year. We are extremely pleased and honoured to be the organisers of this conference because Umeå University carries out significant research in relation to the International Polar Year. Northern Studies is one of the university's areas of excellence in research,” continues Lars-Erik Edlund.

The conference will be inaugurated by Chris Heister, Västerbotten County Governor. Furthermore, Professor Sverker Sörlin, Chairperson of the Swedish Committee for the International Polar Year, will deliver opening remarks.

The keynote speaker for Wednesday 8 October is Lars-Anders Baer, leader of the Swedish Sami political party Sámiid Riikkabellodat (Samelandspartiet) and chairman of the Swedish Sámi Parliament. He is also a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The conference will feature over one hundred lectures focusing on a wide range of disciplines from mammouths as ethnic symbols for shamanistic people of northern Russia, Vikings at the North Pole, to climate change and the rights of indigenous peoples.

Susan Barr will be the keynote speaker for Thursday 9 October. She is a world-leading expert at the Directorate of Cultural Heritage of Norway and has worked as the cultural heritage officer in Svalbard/Jan Mayen and later as an Historian at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Susan Barr is senior advisor on the polar arctic at the Culture Heritage of Norway and president of the International Polar Heritage Committee, a scientific committee of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

The conference will also feature two exhibitions. In the Aula Nordica auditorium, an exhibition titled ”Iskalla uppdrag (Icy Missions)” about the Polar Year will be on display. Additionally, the ambassadors of Latvia and Canada will open a photo exhibition by photographer and expedition leader Ivars Silis about the Polar Year titled “our Crystal World” to be on display nearby the lecture halls in the Arts Building.

Peter Honeth, Sweden State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Research, will discuss “The Importance of Higher Education and Research” on Friday 10 October, the final day of the conference.

Complete conference programme: www.umea-congress.se/polar_3.html

The conference will be held at the Umeå University main campus in the Aula Nordica auditorium, Arts Building and Social Sciences Building.


Lars-Erik Edlund, Conference Chairman Phone: +46 (0)90-786 78 87 Mobile: +46 (0)70-595 33 82
E-mail: lars-erik.edlund@nord.umu.se
Hanna Zetterberg Struwe, Information Officer, International Polar Year 2007-2008
Phone: +46 (0)8 - 546 442 39

Read more about the International Polar Year (IPY): www.ipy.org/ ipy.arcticobserving.org/index.php?lang=en

Editor: Carina Dahlberg