Arctic Horizons —Developing Goals for Arctic Social Sciences in the 21st Century

Arctic Horizons is a new effort funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic Social Sciences Program (ASSP) designed to bring together Arctic social science, natural science, engineering, humanities, and indigenous scholars to reassess the goals, potentials, and needs of these diverse communities within the context of a rapidly changing circumpolar North. An Advisory Board and Scientific Steering Committee guide the work.

Nenets women and children herd reindeer into a temporary corral. These nomadic, pastoral herders have been in western Siberia, Russia, for over a thousand years, but changes such as industrial development, climate change and socio-economic upheaval may threaten their lifestyle. Photo courtesy of B.C. Forbes, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland.Nenets women and children herd reindeer into a temporary corral. These nomadic, pastoral herders have been in western Siberia, Russian, for over a thousand years, but changes such as industrial development, climate change and socio-economic upheaval may threaten their lifestyle. Photo courtesy of Bruce C. Forbes, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland.

Arctic Horizons has planned a series of five workshops in 2016 that engage a diverse group of approximately 150 western and indigenous scholars to discuss the state-of-the-art in Arctic Social Sciences. Each workshop is structured around a set of core questions, which will be circulated to attendees in advance. The full schedule of workshops and information on joining is available here. In addition, the Arctic Horizons Steering Committee will hold town hall meetings at 2016 Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW2016), the Alaskan Anthropological Association 2016 Conference, and the Association of American Geographers 2016 Conference to broaden input from the scientific community.

The first workshop, entitled "Arctic Social Sciences in the 21st Century: Integrating Past, Present, and Future Human Ecodynamics in Arctic Social Science Research," took place in Portland, Oregon on 7-9 February 2016. An agenda and participant list are available online here, while video, presentation files, and other workshop materials will be made available in the near future.

This series of workshops will culminate in a final synthesis workshop. A primary product will be a document based on the input from workshop participants and online comments and conversations. Additional input from indigenous communities will be solicited throughout 2016 by individual researchers and scholars. It is anticipated that the Arctic Horizon's synthesis will reflect the changing Arctic, advancing social science, and indigenous community needs and help to set intellectual and funding priorities for Arctic social science research in the future.

Public participation by the broader Arctic social sciences community will be solicited through an interactive web platform. The Arctic Horizons blog invites comments on overarching discussion questions and on Arctic social science and interdisciplinary research in general. These public comments will be included in the final project report.

For more information, please contact Anna Kerttula (akerttul [at] nsf.gov).