The Arctic is undergoing a rapid change from being a remote and marginal region to becoming a central stage in research, economics and politics. To get a comprehensive picture of the complex questions that are emerging, journalists need to understand very different issues related to the subject: climate change, exploitation of energy and mineral resources, global transport routes, sustainability and changing ecosystems, rights of indigenous peoples, foreign and security policy in a number of countries, just to mention a few. What is happening in the Arctic has global ramifications and concerns us all.
The session gives an introduction to the complexity of the subject. We will hear about how an anthropologist doing field research on the Siberian tundra confronts the global media and how the Arctic Anthropology blog is used to communicate science. Journalists can look at the Arctic horizon in very different ways. We will hear about what you see when you are an experienced news journalist living on the shores of Barents sea, and what it looks like when you are a young American science journalist specializing in Arctic matters by gaining experience of a dark and cold country. We will also learn how Arctic questions are communicated and popularized at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland.
Risto Alatarvas has held a post as Communications Specialist at the Academy of Finland for five years. He also works as national contact point for the EU FP 7 Science in Society Programme. Formerly he worked at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as EU Information Officer. Risto Alatarvas was meeting coordinator at the Secretariat for the Finnish EU Presidency in 2006–2007. He studied Administrative Sciences at the University of Vaasa, Finland.
Markku Heikkilä has served as the head of science communications at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland since 2010. He has had a long career as journalist and editorial writer for the newspaper Kaleva in Oulu. He has followed developments in international Northern and Arctic co-operation since the early nineties.
Markku is one of the founding members of Barents Press International, a network of journalists in the Barents Region, and in his current work he still runs activities related to media cooperation in the Barents Euroarctic region. He has written several documentary books on Arctic co-operation, the Northern Dimension, EU /UN Climate Change politics and essays/travel books about the Lake Ladoga and River Ob regions, and he writes columns. He is a board member of the Finnish Association of Non-Fiction writers. He studied journalism at the University of Tampere, Finland.
Harriet Öster has been a freelance journalist for ten years. Formerly she was a journalist and managing editor at the Finnish weekly Tekniikka & Talous (“Technology & Business”) for almost twenty years. She has also worked as assistant to the attaché of technical affairs at the Finnish Embassy in Brussels in the early 80′s. She writes mostly about questions on science, technology, environmental issues and – of course – a lot about energy and climate. Harriet has a degree in chemical engineering from Helsinki University of Technology.
Florian Stammler is Senior Researcher in Social Anthropology at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. He specialises in Arctic anthropology, particularly in the Russian Far North. Florian’s interests lie in the anthropology of nomadic societies with a special focus on reindeer herders, arctic economy, indigenous knowledge, resource extraction and native populations, industrial migration, centre-periphery relations.
Since completing his first research project at the University of Cologne in Germany, Florian has been engaged in research on reindeer herding, fishing and hunting peoples of Siberia, studying how they adapt to social, economic, political and ecological change. He says that contrary to how they have been frequently portrayed in the media and popular accounts, indigenous peoples in the Russian North have never been the isolated subsistence herders or hunters. The interaction between reindeer herders and fishermen, oil and gas workers, administrators and traders tells us about the nomads’ adaptability to the changing conditions of their surroundings. Florian is a frequent blogger on http://arcticanthropology.org/.
Thomas Nilsen serves as editor of the open internet news service BarentsObserver (http://barentsobserver.com/en). He is based at the desk in Kirkenes, northern Norway. Thomas has been working for the Norwegian Barents Secretariat since 2003. Before that, he worked 12 years for the Bellona Foundation’s Russian study group, focusing on nuclear safety issues and general environmental challenges in northern areas and the Arctic.
Thomas has been travelling extensively in the Barents Region and northern Russia since the late 80′s, working for different media and organizations. He is also a guide at sea and in remote locations in the Russian north for various groups, and regularly lectures on security issues and socio-economic development in the Barents Region. Thomas Nilsen studied at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Marjo Laukkanen, PhD, is a science communicator at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. She is also a journalist in Kide, the university magazine. Before the current position she worked as a researcher, communication officer, lecturer, project coordinator and freelance journalist.
Rae Ellen Bichell:
Rae Ellen Bichell is a freelance science journalist based in Helsinki as a Fulbright grantee. She studied anthropology and journalism at Yale, where she wrote and edited for The Yale Globalist, an undergraduate global affairs magazine. She has travelled to Tanzania, Indonesia, Turkey, and the Panamanian jungle for reporting projects. In Helsinki, she hosts and produces “Hot Air,” a science talk show broadcast on LähiRadio 100,3 MHz (read more on http://raeellenbichell.wordpress.com/). Her work has appeared in Yale Environment 360, Public Radio International’s Living on Earth, WPLN Nashville Public Radio, The New York Observer, and The Tennessee Report.