5 good reasons to take part in the Arctic Frontiers PhD workshop !!!

By Pierre Blévin, PhD Candidate in Marine Ecology, La Rochelle University, France. Interested in the effects of pollution on Arctic seabird in Svalbard, Norway.

1°) This year, we were around 22 participants coming from 15 different countries (India, Brazil, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Slovenia, Finland, USA, Canada, France…). The Arctic was actually making the link between each participant involved in very different research interests (social science, politics, natural science…).

It was unique to meet all those people with different cultures… but I am not going to talk about the dancing classes during the evening where everyone was proud to show the dancing style of their own country!

2°) During the week, we received really interesting talks (13 in total) from 8 different lecturers. We covered a broad panel of Arctic subjects. Here are some examples :

  • « The ethnic mosaic of northern Norway: Challenges and possibilities » (Paul Wassmann)
  • « Arctic science diplomacy for peaceful management of a changing world » (Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen)
  • « The most important animals in high latitude marine ecosystems » (Stig Falk-Petersen)
  • « Show me the data! » (Michael Greenacre)
  • « Lofoten and the visual arts » (Svein Pedersen)
  • « Entrepreneurship and art in a Barents region context » (Scott Thoe)

We even received a yoga class ! It was the first time for me… Rather funny than relaxing but at least, now, for sure I know that I am not flexible at all !

3°) After the Arctic Frontier Conference, we left to Svolvær in Lofoten with the Hurtigruten (a big boat with sauna and Jacuzzi). What a wonderful place ! Each day, we had excursions :

  • Stokmarknes Hurtigruten Museum
  • Lofotmuseum/Gallery Espolin/Lofotaquarium
  • And several walks around Svolvær. Thanks to our guides, Asle Guneriussen and Stig Falk-Petersen for making those walks very pleasant.

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All pictures taken by Pierre Blevin

4°) Of course, we learned about research proposal writing, which was actually the aim of the workshop and I feel now definitely more prepared to ask for a research grant. During the week, we were divided in several groups. Each group was working on their own research proposal and the last day, we had our final presentation the proposal. Although our group did not win, I will remember for a while about this wonderful song « STOP THE POPs », beautifully sung by Alexei ;).

5°) A music band, « Kaa » joined us during all the week and we enjoyed a lot all their concerts… I will remember all my life this last night. We were on the way back in the Hurtigruten, somewhere between Svolvær and Tromsø. The « Kaa » band decided to improvise a concert outside, on the deck where everybody were dancing under a fabulous northern light !

Pierre, the french guy with the very french accent !


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