Work in the Arctic: Arctic workshop of the University of Tartu

Work in the Arctic: Arctic workshop of the University of Tartu
University of Tartu
29–30 May, 2015

Ülikooli 16, room 212
Department of Ethnology

Life in the Arctic is often depicted as a place where people fight for survival, struggling with the harsh climate, long distances and the limited choice of consumables. Simultaneously, the Arctic is a resource frontier where circumpolar countries develop extraction industries by constructing or maintaining large-scale infrastructure with settlements. A narrative of heroic work under hard conditions is part of the image of life in the Arctic, exploited enthusiastically both by people who live in the region and outside of it. Sometimes the gains of that struggle are measured in high northern wages, sometimes hard work in the Arctic proves the extraordinary toughness of “Northerners”, sometimes modern industry is presented as a symbol of progress.

This workshop will focus on different aspects and interpretations of work in the Arctic. Our goal is to assemble a truly interdisciplinary collection of presentations that will focus upon the cultural and social side of working in the Arctic, contributing to a better understanding of the economic, political or ecological aspects in general. 

For more information please contact: Aimar Ventsel,


Friday, May 29

10.00 Aimar Ventsel (University of Tartu): Introduction

10.10 Mart Laanemäe (Ministry of Foreign Affairs):   Keynote speech: Estonia and the Arctic?

10.40–11.00 Coffee break

Chair: Meelis Roll (University of Tartu)

11.00 Maura Hanrahan (Memorial University, Canada): The Arctic in the Western Mind

11.30 Pilvi Vainonen (Museum of Cultures, Helsinki, Finland): Ethnographic exhibition and publication on the Arctic

12.00 Nikolai Vakhtin (European University at St Petersburg, Russia): Work in the Yupik Eskimo Society before and after the Russian Influx

12.30 Valeria Eboli (University of Pisa, Italy): The Arctic legal regime and its specificity

13.00–14.30 Lunch (for registered participants only)

Chair: Katrin Kullo (University of Tartu)

14.30 Panu Itkonen (University of Helsinki): Changing work patterns in the Skolt Sami reindeer herding community of Sevettijärvi

15.00 Olena Podvorna (Ostroh Academy National University): Foreign And Security Policy Of Russia Towards The Arctic

15.30 Andrian Vlakhov (European University at St. Petersburg, Russia): Working in Barentsburg: modern changes in Soviet town?

16.00 Olga Riabchenko (Kharkiv): Memories of professor B.P.Ostashshenko-Kudriavtsev about the participation in polar expeditions in 1899 -1900


Saturday, May  30

Chair: Margus Parts (University of Tartu)

10.00 Alla Bolotova (European University at St. Petersburg, Russia): Pride and fear: Belonging to the ‘town-forming’ enterprise in the Russian North

10.30 Anna Varfolomeeva (Central European University in Budapest): Mining as a Part of Environment: Indigenous people and extractive industries in Karelia

11.00 Elena Liarskaia (European University at St Petersburg, Russia): Indigenous people and migrants (the situation on the labour market of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Oblast)

11.30 Sigrid Schiesser (University of Vienna): Entangled Socialities and Materialities: Sakha Architecture in the 21st century

12.00 Final discussion I. Moderator: Igor Mikeshin

13.30-15.00 Lunch (for registered participants only)

15.00-17.00 Final discussion II . Moderator: Igor Mikeshin