The scale of change in the Arctic, the size of the challenges involved, and the difficulty of understanding a place of such complexity, urgently requires the education of a new generation of scholars, policymakers, business leaders and informed citizens equipped to respond.
The UArctic Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education is dedicated to renewing the study of the Circumpolar world to meet this need. Their mission is to support UArctic member institutions in designing and delivering best-practice Circumpolar Studies teaching, grounded in a sensitivity to diverse local perspectives on what it means to ‘be Circumpolar’. For more detail about the Læra Institute and their planned projects, please see their informational page on the UArctic website.
The UArctic Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education is calling for participation in an online workshop on Friday 12th March to discuss the following themes about Circumpolar Studies. What do you think it means—academically, pedagogically and practically—to say that Circumpolar Studies is...
• ...interdisciplinary? Circumpolar Studies is more than a collection of academic disciplines united merely by geographical focus or by an issue such as climate change. How can this interdisciplinarity be fostered pedagogically, especially at the undergraduate level?
• ...comparative? One of the false conceits about the Circumpolar world is that ‘the Arctic is the same all the way around the Pole’. Circumpolar Studies must involve a comparative approach that highlights the similarities and differences between circumpolar regions and countries.
• ...polyvocal? No one voice speaks for the entire Circumpolar world. ‘Circumpolarity’ has often been defined through the imagination of privileged and powerful voices. How can a wide range of representative voices of the Circumpolar world be heard and incorporated into Circumpolar Studies?
• ...pedagogically diverse? Circumpolar Studies can take many forms—from classroom-based lectures to experiential learning to on-the-land programming. It relies on various theoretical approaches and learning styles. How can this diversity be respected whilst ensuring that Circumpolar Studies is united across the UArctic by a shared set of standards?
• ...interconnected? Despite the great diversity in the Circumpolar world, it is united by a commonality of ‘circumpolar experience’ that has proven resilient in the face of global change. It also seems impossible to understand the Circumpolar world fully without recognising the themes above—and perhaps even socially, economically, political and environmentally dangerous not to do so. How can this ‘intersectionality’ be emphasised pedagogically without sacrificing diversity?
If you would like to participate in this workshop, we would be grateful if could send your responses to the themes above to the Managing Director of the Læra Institute, Dr Anthony Speca of Trent University, at email@example.com.
Your written responses and the ensuing workshop discussion will ultimately be used to inform the Læra Institute’s work to develop a set of ‘curriculum criteria’ for best-practice Circumpolar Studies teaching and learning. Written responses can be from individuals or groups. Please keep responses to under 1,000 words, and submit them by Monday 15th February.
Depending on the written responses received, and the direction of workshop discussions, we would also be interested in considering the possibility of developing them into an accessible publication or online resource. Thank you very much for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Dr Anthony Speca, Managing Director: firstname.lastname@example.org