Skip to content
Main menu hidden.
Published: 2024-05-24

Science and creativity explored on Arctic doctoral field trip

NEWS Between 22 and 26 of April 2024, Doctoral students at the Arctic Graduate School went to a combined doctoral course and field trip to Rovaniemi, Finland. The course, called “Communication and Transdisciplinary Methods in Arctic Research”, and the field trip were both parts of the program at the Arctic Graduate School.

On Monday, 22 April, the train left Umeå with destination Haparanda-Tornio. On the train were seven Doctoral students from the Arctic Graduate School, as well as the Head and Coordinator of the school. Together, they went for their first stop on their week-long field trip to Rovaniemi, Finland. In Haparanda-Tornio, they all got to meet with Hanna-Leena Ainonen, Cross-border Development Specialist at Tornio Town Hall, for a presentation about the history, culture, and politics in the twin cities.

Doctoral student Alina Bavykina was most amazed by the usage of differences between two cities and countries for entrepreneurial opportunities.

– For instance, Hanna-Leena mentioned the double New Year celebration on each side of the Tornio River, giving an opportunity for inhabitants and visitors to enjoy the fireworks twice. For me as a visitor, it felt like Haparanda-Tornio is one big town intertwined with the Swedish-Finnish culture and their unique traditions, culture, and language, Bavykina says.


Scientific methods meet creativity

The next day was scheduled with creative workshops and presentations in Rovaniemi. Among the activities was a workshop with Postdoctoral fellow Pamela Bachmann-Vargas on transformative methods in research. She described “transformative methods” as student centered learning methods that enables imagination and thinking outside the box. The Doctoral students did a few exercises and practical activities as part of the workshop, such as making poetic reflections and convert them into haiku by listing three key concepts that describe their research.

– I enjoyed the workshop very much and found it useful to conceive of my research from different angles, comments Doctoral student Marcus Aronsson.

Exhibitions and talks at the University of Lapland

Both Wednesday and Thursday were spent at the University of Lapland, where Wednesday had an exhibition at Arktikum Science Centre on the agenda, and Thursday was filled with talks and presentations. Wednesday began with a brief introduction to the Arktikum and the Arctic Centre, followed by a presentation on just green transition in the Finnish Arctic by Docent Tanja Joona. Thereafter, the students went on a guided tour through an exhibition about the history of Lapland and Rovaniemi.

– Wednesday was personally my favorite and perhaps the most insightful day of the week. Most impressive was the guided tour through the exhibition. As I am not from Sweden or the high north, there is a host of knowledge that I am completely lacking. It was really good to have this engaged guide explaining the culture and history of the Arctic region, Doctoral student Paul Schmidt explains.

On Thursday, the Doctoral students got to listen to talks which were all revolving around communication and scientific methods. Among them was a talk on “Researching with Proximity”, by Professor Outi Rantala and Researcher Neal Cahoon, where they presented the idea that human and other than human social life is mutually dependent. The students got to experiment with what was called “walking with” as a methodological experiment that explores and enhances a curing and caring orientation towards beings and thoughts.

A fun and interesting trip

Upon the train ride home, the Doctoral students express that the field trip has been fun and interesting. Doctoral student Hilde Weiser sums up the week with themes like justice, land use rights, local conflicts, and other challenges in the geographical space of northern Finland/Sapmí. Doctoral student Marcus Aronsson expresses he has gained a much greater appreciation and understanding of how lived the northern part of our two countries are.

– To wrap up, this trip has made me feel more energized, confident, focused, and competent. 10/10 would do again, Aronsson concludes.

Field trip participants

Marcus Aronsson
Doctoral Student in Economic History

Alina Bavykina
Doctoral Student in Business Administration

Freja Fagerholm
Doctoral Student in Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Madelen Johansson
Doctoral Student in History and Education

Paul Schmidt
Doctoral Student Political Science

Camila Urrea
Doctoral Student in Ecology

Hilde Weiser
Doctoral Student in Food, Nutrition and Meal Science


Linda Lundmark
Head of Arctic Graduate School

Anngelica Kristoferqvist
Coordinator of Arctic Graduate School


The Arctic Graduate School with a focus on Sustainable Development is for Doctoral students with research focusing on the Arctic and sustainability. The school collaborates with different departments at the university and offers workshops, field trips, seminars and much more.

Learn more about Arctic Graduate School