Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 454

454 Arctic Yearbook 2015 hope that the so far successful cooperation between Western and Russian partners can be sustained despite the complex political and economic situation. The fourth day of the Academy didn’t contain any presentations; however, it featured long and in many ways enlightening travel across the entire Kola Peninsula, the heart of the Russian North and the home to many cultural, natural and man-made attractions. The first part of the day’s journey, the northbound route towards Murmansk, was telling the tale of conquering the North: the heavily polluted industrial sites of Monchegorsk and Olenegorsk, the Kola Nuclear Power Plant and the long-gone indigenous history of the area. The city of Murmansk, the largest human settlement above the Polar Circle and home to the Russian Northern Fleet, served as the midpoint of the journey. During the second part of the day’s ride, the Academy participants had an opportunity to look at the Russian war monuments, military installations from the Cold War era, heavy industrial pollution in Nikel and Zapolyarny (with nearly all vegetation destroyed) and borderland area with barbed wire and streaming rivers. Such insig hts into the cultural and natural history of the Arctic keep reminding researchers that the Arctic keeps traces of all kinds of human activity and there is still much to be discovered. Days 6-7: From Norway Back to Finland The last two days of the Academy, held at the maritime Norwegian town of Kirkenes and in Inari, the capital of Finnish Lapland, mainly focused on the issues of social sustainability, human capital in the North and indigenous and environmental studies. The researchers presented several cases from all across the Arctic, some of them discussing ways of achieving social sustainability and welfare in the circumpolar communities (indigenous and non-indigenous alike), some studying the strategies of environmental management in the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Region, some reflecting on the national policies of the Arctic activities and climate change mitigation. The continuity found in these talks provides an interesting insight into Arctic research in general: how the community-based approach and the studies of global processes can both serve to assess and address potential Arctic futures and build development strategies for global and grass-roots actors. The last evening of the tour brought all the participants together for an outdoor barbeque dinner by the campfire and the genuine Finnish sauna experience on shores of still icy-cold Lake Inari; indeed, not only the academic sessions, but also the endless hours spent in the bus and the wellplanned social program are crucial components for making the Calotte Academy what is – a forum for open and enlightening discussions with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. ***** The 2015 Calotte Academy features an outstanding example of how the boundaries between different groups and actors can melt and disappear if cooperation and communication are the chosen approach. This concerns boundaries between the established and the early-career researchers, Western and Russian scholars, women and men, but most importantly — researchers from different disciplines. The nexus between social and political sciences and humanities and, more broadly, between “hard” and “soft” sciences, is crucial for conducting meaningful Arctic research. Only comparing different points of view and assessing the situation from different perspectives we can understand the deep roots of the global processes such as climate change and militarization of the Arctic or, vice versa, understand how the global issues are reflected in individual case studies at the local level. This is exactly what happens during the Calotte Academy: Calotte Academy 2015