Overline: A Week of Exchange
Headline: Ethics and Methods in Arctic Transformative Research

This week brings together two events.

  • October 3: The third Workshop on Ethics and Methods in Arctic Transformative Research (WEMA III). WEMA III is jointly hosted and co-funded by the University of Oulu/Biodiverse Anthropocenes Programme (ANTS) and the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam (RIFS). The programme and sessions are being planned collectively by an organizing group. The overarching theme of this year’s WEMA workshop will be: The role of communication in transformative Arctic research – Respecting diverse ways of communicating in the context of the UN decade on Indigenous languages.
  • October 4-5: The final gathering for DÁVGI: Co-Creation for Biocultural Diversity in the Arctic, a project led by the Saami Council, RIFS, and Ecologic Institute, which focuses on applying co-creative methods and reflects on the nature of co-creative partnerships in Arctic research. DÁVGI is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).


There is a growing interest in collaborative and co-created approaches to Arctic research. This has been accompanied by debates regarding the need to decolonize methods, research attitudes, and institutions. Increasingly, funders request that Arctic research projects include collaboration with communities. Yet, non-Indigenous researchers often do not know how to engage in a co-productive way and Indigenous knowledge continues to be misunderstood and misrepresented in research. Indigenous communities and organizations are frequently overburdened by requests to collaborate – which often come after fundamental decisions on research projects have already been made. Indigenous-led and collaborative research are also hindered by academic structures and funding processes. To avoid co-creation/co-production becoming an empty concept and collaboration being reduced to box-ticking, fundamental questions need to be addressed. These include:

  • How can meaningful communication and equitable research relationships be built across knowledge systems and academic disciplines?
  • How does academia need to change to recognize different ways of knowing and communicating?
  • How can Indigenous data sovereignty be ensured to enable just and meaningful communication?
  • How can research support Indigenous language revitalization and cultural resurgence?
  • What is the role of communication beyond texts and words in research?
  • How can we foster collaborative and co-productive/co-creative research approaches without overburdening Indigenous communities?
  • Who ultimately defines “good communication” and how can we ensure that Indigenous communities are able to evaluate if research communication is successful?
  • How can Indigenous-led research be sustainably financially supported outside of academia?

The Week of Exchange encourages multi-sensory practices of learning, sharing, (re-)connecting, and communicating with humans and other-than-humans. This may be approached through handicraft, artistic performances, storytelling, movement, and silence. Participants are invited to ‘bring all their senses’ to a ‘room of exchange’ that will be open throughout the week to engage and communicate in various ways. This may include images, photos, drawings, texts/music and sounds (live, flash drives, online) / dance and movement/objects to smell, taste, feel, look at / projects-in-progress or new handicraft projects (e.g. sewing, knitting, writing, painting, etc.) to work on and share during and in-between sessions or in our room or exchange.

More information: www.arctic-ethics.org