6th International St Magnus Conference
The Northern Isles and the Arctic. Environment, Heritage and Tourism, 18-20 April 2024
The Northern Isles have long had an intimate connection with the Arctic. In the Middle Ages they were part the same polity Norgesveldet along with Iceland and Greenland. In the 19th century explorers like the Orcadian John Rae pioneered new routes across the Arctic, while whalers from the isles frequented the Davis Straits hunting the whale and interacting with the indigenous population. Currently, their geographical position provides justification for Scotland to regard itself as the most northerly non-Arctic nation. The Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy was launched in Orkney in 2019 highlighting the centrality of the islands to Scotland’s Arctic ambitions. The Institute for Northern Studies UHI with its involvement in the University of the Arctic carries out Arctic research, exploring these deep and abiding connections. This conference seeks to share knowledge of, and celebrate the Northern Isles relationship with the Arctic, past, present and future.
Please complete this booking form by the 15 March 2024 for the Conference, Conference Dinner and Day Tour of Shetland. If you have any questions, please get in touch at email@example.com or on 01856 569300.
Student Travel Bursaries
Student Travel Bursaries
We have two travel bursaries of £250 for any students attending our conference. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your application of a 1000 word essay about the how you will benefit from attending the conference.
'Polar North' Exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives
'Polar North' Exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives
In association with the 6th St Magnus Conference theme of 'The Northern Isles and the Arctic. Environment, Heritage and Tourism' the conference hosts Shetland Museum and Archives have an exhibition, 'Polar North' 8 March to 19 May 2024. This exhibition will show work by Scottish Contemporary artist Lesley Burr exploring her response to her 2019 Arctic artist residence to the Friends of Scott Polar research institute in the Canadian Arctic Alongside Lesley's artwork will be a display of Arctic artefacts from Shetland Museum Collection. A book is available to accompany the exhibition.
Draft Conference Programme
This is our draft conference programme and will be updated.
18 April Morning Session 8.45am to 1.10pm
18 April Morning Session 8.45am to 1.10pm
8.45am to 9.15am Registration
9.15am Welcome Address and Poem by Taylor Strickland
9.30am 'Frozen in' Brian Smith, Shetland Museum and Archives
Going to the whaling at Greenland was an opportunity but dangerous in various ways for young Shetland men during the 19th century. On dry land Shetland businessmen profited from it as well. The paper discusses their experiences.
9.50am 'Some Lessons Learnt: British Seaman's kit on nineteenth century Arctic voyages' Carol Christiansen, Shetland Museum and Archives
The loss of the Franklin expedition after 1845 marked a watershed moment for British exploration in the Arctic. It signalled to British officers and crews to take stock of the perils faced by previous venturers and re-think clothing and personal equipment. Standard navy-issue clothing was not sufficient, but institutional change was slow. Unlike Canadians and Americans exploring the Arctic, the British were reluctant to abandon their uniforms and adopt more suitable gear, although crewmen from Shetland and Orkney appeared to be better equipped than the average British able-bodied seaman. The diaries of captains in search of Franklin’s men noted what worked and what didn’t during their own voyages to help their colleagues for future expeditions. The experiences in the Arctic, especially following Franklin’s demise, led the British navy to improve conditions for their crews by providing better clothing and kit. But prejudice remained in adopting the dress of native peoples to avoid frostbite and death.
10.10am 'Can the Aurora Borealis be heard? Shetland Perspectives in an International Debate, 1880-1940' Fiona Amery, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
This paper discusses heightened interest in the potential audibility of the aurora borealis during the First and Second International Polar Years (IPYs) of 1882–3 and 1932–3. Galvanized by a growing volume of local accounts expressing belief in the elusive noises, written by the inhabitants of the Shetland Islands, northern Canada, and Norway, auroral researchers of each era were determined to establish the objectivity of auroral sound. There was considerable speculation within the auroral research community as to whether the apparent noises were imagined or illusory, connected to discussions about the possibility of low-altitude aurorae. The anglophone auroral sound debate primarily played out within the official reports of IPY expeditions, the journal Nature, and a Shetland Island newspaper. Clement J. Williamson, an amateur astronomer and resident of Scalloway, was one of the few non-professional voices of authority on the matter in the twentieth century, corresponding with some of the leading scientists of the day, including Sir Oliver Lodge and Professor Carl Størmer. This overlooked episode complicates our understanding of the modes of knowledge creation in open, outdoor ‘wild’ spaces in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by revealing a faith in the corporeal senses, interactions with folklore and poetry and the significant role of lived experience.
Fiona Amery is a postdoctoral research fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Fiona’s current research focuses on the epistemological use of atmospheric analogues in the nineteenth century. Her PhD research was conducted on the topic of embodied and instrumental sensing of the aurora borealis during the International Polar and Geophysical Years (1880-1960).
10.30am 'Before Mass Tourism: Readers’ Fictional and Factual Journeys to the Orkney and Shetland Islands in the 1820s' Jochen Petzold, Universität Regensburg
As late as 1868, Mrs Edmonston gives the following assessment of the Shetland Islands in her preface to The Young Shetlander: “The locality where he was born and brought up is peculiar and little known, even in these days of incessant travelling.” Indeed, viewed from London, the islands of Orkney and Shetland were far away, in a remote corner of Britain. However, the islands had been the object of actual and fictional travellers for a long period of time.
The main focus in this paper will be on the early 1820s, which saw the publication of two fictional accounts of the islands, William Combe’s humorous Tour of Doctor Prosody, in Search of the Antique and Picturesque, through Scotland, the Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland Isles (1821) and Walter Scott’s romance The Pirate (1821). The latter was partly based on (or inspired by) notes he had received from Alexander Peterkin, which were in turn published in 1822 as Notes on Orkney and Zetland – and which gave rise to a response, Walter Traill’s Vindication of Orkney (1823). Hence, while maybe not exactly at the centre of attention, the remote region became easily accessible to readers throughout the United Kingdom (and certainly Scott’s novel was widely read). My analysis will scrutinize the representation of the islands, how they are made familiar to a (mainly English) readership and simultaneously portrayed as distant or even other to England.
10.50am Questions and Tea & Coffee
11.20am 'The Northern Route: Dr John Rae and the telegraph', Fleur Ward
In the mid-19th century, major telegraph infrastructure was installed in the Atlantic Ocean to connect North America and Europe. A direct route was installed between Newfoundland and Ireland. However, it was a fragile connection, often damaged and in constant need of repair. The investigation into an alternative northern telegraph route linking Shetland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland is little researched. It was intended that this telegraph route would cross land and sea, linking islands and regions across the North Atlantic and Arctic. In 1860, Orcadian Arctic explorer Dr. John Rae was employed in a survey of land conditions across the intended telegraph route. This presentation will focus on Dr Rae’s personal observations of the communities, environment, topography and terrain of the route. Through this presentation, Dr Rae’s credentials as an arctic explorer who relied on the local knowledge of indigenous people will be investigated. The outcome of Dr Rae’s survey and how this exploration led to his involvement in further survey work in arctic regions will be examined. This presentation will highlight that Shetland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland have a shared history and historical relationships as a strategic region for telecommunication development.
11.50am 'The Jolly Tars – Lerwick and the Greenland whalers' Brydon Leslie
The Greenland whaling industry was certainly lucrative for the town of Lerwick during the nineteenth century. Business was booming and money was being spent. But was all as good as it would appear to be? Walter Scott set sail from Leith in July 1814, heading north to Orkney and Shetland having joined a ship belonging to the Commissioners for the Northern Lighthouse Service. His diary entries provide us with some rather interesting observations: “When we were in Zetland there was a considerable bustle at Lerwick by the arrival of several ships from the whale fishing; and had it not been for a handful of military in Fort Charlotte, there is no saying how far the jolly tars might have carried their frolick.” He makes a further point that, “Lerwick will suffer most severely if the Fort is not occupied by some force or other; for between whisky and frolic, the Greenland sailors will certainly burn the little town.” Other testimonials of the time vividly describe similar scenes: the riotous whalers, reeling drunk and mad with gin, and the purveyors of liquor, who, together with the shopkeepers and local girls, were attentive to ensure the sailors were spending their hard-earned cash. The annual whalers which frequented the port at Lerwick represent an important link connecting the Northern Isles with the Arctic. In my paper I will explore and recognise a colourful aspect of our shared history that is perhaps often overlooked.
12.10pm 'Lord Dufferin – the Fateful Tourist' Guðrún Björk Guðsteinsdóttir, University of Iceland
In 1855, the Danish Crown ended the isolation that it had imposed upon Iceland for centuries by terminating the prohibition of foreign vessels in its waters. Among the curious tourists who used the opportunity in the following year to sail to Iceland for a visit were Prince Napoléon-Jérôme Bonaparte and Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. In 1857, Lord Dufferin published Letters from High Altitudes, his epistolary account of his journey, accompanied by an Icelandic guide/interpretor, sailing from Oban, via Stornoway to Iceland, eventually successfully navigating through Arctic ice north of Iceland and Norway, before returning to Scotland. Engaging, well written, informing, the book gained immediate popularity, going through numerous reprints to this day.
Twenty years later, when Lord Dufferin had become the successful Governor General of Canada, he made a permanent impact in Icelandic history when his advice facilitated Icelandic emigration to Canada, which became the main destination for Icelandic migrants in the late nineteenth and into the twentieth century. This paper will argue that Dufferin’s interest in, and knowledge of, Iceland was not only inspired by his fascination with the country, but that his interest and understanding were also entangled with his strong identification with his Scottish roots, as suggested by his efforts to introduce his Icelandic tour guide to the “Saga of Clan Campbell”, as well as by his comparisons between the history, lore, and nature of Iceland and Scotland.
12.30pm 'The commercial connection between Shetland and the Faroe Islands in the 19th century' Erling Isholm, University of the Faroe Islands
The Danish kings trade monopoly in the Faroes was the biggest obstacle for the modernisation of the Faroese society in the late 18th and long into the 19th century. Young, well-educated public officials were the driving force in this modernisation process, and some of them looked to Shetland and asked, how it could be, that the population of Shetland was four times bigger than the population of the Faroe Islands.
The well-known voyage of governor Pløyen in 1839 was done to find out, if the Faroes could learn something from their neighbors. But this Faroese interest also made Shetlandic businessmen realise, that there might be new opportunities in the Faroes. The company Hay & Ogilvy made an offer to the governor, that they could start a fishing indutry in the Faroes.
The Faroe Islands were not new to Hay & Ogilvy, because they had been fishing in the Faroes before. When the monopoly trade was finaly abolished in 1856, the Hay company was quick to try to set up a herring business in the Faroes. In this paper we look at these attempts to establish commercial connections between the Faroes and Shetland and ask, if the lack of succes was caused be the Faroe Islands belonging to the Danish kingdom, while Shetland was part of the British Empire.
12.50pm to 1.40pm Questions & Lunch
18 April Afternoon Session 1.50pm to 5.30pm
18 April Afternoon Session 1.50pm to 5.30pm
1.50pm to 3pm Panel Session: Women’s travel-writing on Iceland in the first decades of the 20th Century
Emily Lethbridge, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Hannah Armstrong, University of York and Zachary Melton, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies
In this session, we propose to present new research on published and unpublished early 20th Century women’s travel-writing in English about Iceland. Travel-writing on Iceland is an established area of research but hitherto, the voices of women who travelled to Iceland and wrote about their experiences have not been given consistently due attention. Current work aims to redress this situation using frameworks borrowed from cultural geography, reception studies/medievalism, travel-writing studies, and gender studies. In the papers that make up this session, a range of women’s perspectives on Icelandic cultural landscapes will be introduced. The panel is organised by the ongoing Icelandic Research Council-funded project Kvennaspor: Unearthing and Foregrounding Women in Icelandic Saga Landscapes (PI Emily Lethbridge, see https://arnastofnun.is/is/frettir/two-research-grants-arni-magnusson-institute).
1.50pm 'May Morris and Bertha Phillpotts: New Views of Early 20th-century Iceland and Icelandic (Heritage) Landscapes' Emily Lethbridge, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies:
2.10pm 'A Sceptical Pilgrim: An Academic's Account(s) of her Time in Iceland' Hannah Armstrong, University of York
2.30pm 'Travel and Temperence: American Women in Iceland at the Turn of the Century' Zachary Melton, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies
3.10pm to 4.20pm Panel Session: 'Circular Reflections from the Northern Isles to the Arctic: Exploration, Empire, and Environment'
Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir, University of Iceland, Lizanne Henderson, University of Glasgow and Monica Germanà, University of Westminster
This panel seeks to offer some thought-provoking reflections on the close relationship between the Northern Isles and the Arctic, investigating key historical moments and their cultural connections, as well as the echoes of colonialism in today’s critical and aesthetic responses to such shared past and current preoccupations.
3.10pm 'Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Arctic: Sealing, Whale Hunting, and Masculinity' Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir, University of Iceland
On 29 February 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle and his shipmates aboard the Greenland whaler the Hope from Peterhead sailed into Lerwick harbour for a stopover to enlist Shetland men for a whaling trip north. After a brief sojourn in Shetland, they continued onwards and spent the next five months in the Arctic. In his capacity as ship surgeon, Doyle kept a journal while onboard the whaler, and later described his journey north in magazine articles and his memoirs, as well as drew on it in some of his short fiction. This paper discusses Doyle’s writings about his experiences onboard the whaler, in particular his journal and some of the many drawings he included there of the scenes he encountered. It shows how these texts and images reflect prevalent nineteenth-century (anthropocentric) ideas regarding hunting animals in the Arctic, especially sea mammals like seals and whales. In addition, it outlines how the Arctic is for Doyle a space full of invigorating manly energy, demonstrating how his depictions of the thrilling “sport” of hunting whales and killing seals are inherently linked with ideals of masculinity.
Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir is Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in English at the University of Iceland and holds a Ph.D. in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow. Her main research interests are in historical fiction and Scottish literature and she has published on Scottish writing, historical novels and fictional representations of the Tudors and Stuarts in literature and film. Her current research is focused on women’s historical fiction alongside working on a funded research project on the Arctic in Scottish literature.
3.30pm 'From the Northern Isles to the Inuit Nunangat: Communicating Stories of Nineteenth Century Scottish Arctic Explorers' Lizanne Henderson, University of Glasgow
The distinctive role of the Scots during the nineteenth century search for the Northwest Passage is slowly being recognised. This paper has been framed as a thought piece and asks how should the story of Scottish Arctic exploration be communicated? What academic, popular or creative formats should such communications take? Whose voices dominate and whose are more opaque? Has the legacy of colonialism made this more challenging, if not impossible without attracting criticisms of imperialism? Discussion of these questions and more will consider the story of Orcadian John Rae, Inuit viewpoints, and recent developments at Hall of Clestrain.
Lizanne Henderson is Senior Lecturer in History and Programme Director of MSc Sustainable Tourism and Global Challenges at the University of Glasgow. She is a cultural historian of the Scottish witch-hunts, Scottish exploration, Arctic studies, and human-animal studies. In addition, she works as resource staff on expedition ships throughout the UK, North Atlantic and Arctic regions. Her most recent book, Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment: Scotland, 1670-1740 was winner of the Katharine Briggs Book Award 2016 and she is currently preparing her next monograph (Super)natural Animals in the Age of the Stewarts to the Age of Enlightenment (forthcoming). She is working on a project called Picturing Polar Bears: Past and Present Semiotic and Iconic Perceptions of Ursus maritimus which was recently showcased at COP26 Glasgow and another project on 19th century Scottish Arctic explorers and their engagements with the natural world.
3.50pm 'Colonial Bonds and Cultural Heritage: Echoes from a Haunting Past in the works of Jessie Kleemann and Roseanne Watt' Monica Germanà, University of Westminster
This paper explores the complicated sense of belonging in the landscape of Greenland and Shetland that emerges from the contemporary multimedial works of Jessie Kleemann and Roseanne Watt respectively. Responding to different historical traditions and environments, the examined works - which include a selection from Kleeman’s art installations, performances and poetry (ORSOQ (2012), Arkhticós Dolorôs (2019), Running Time (2023)), and Watt’s poetry collection Moder Dy (2018) and film poems - share, nevertheless, stylistic experimentation which, using language at once visceral and elusive, articulate the uncanny recurrence of colonial and cultural pasts into the present, exposing the joint challenges of environmental and cultural wounds embodied in the landscapes the two poets write from and for.
Monica Germanà is Reader in Gothic and Contemporary Studies at the University of Westminster. Her most recent publications include Scottish Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (2018), co-edited with Carol Davison and short-listed for the Allan Lloyd Prize, Bond Girls: Body, Fashion, Gender (Bloomsbury, 2019), runner up for the Emily Toth Award, and a special issue of Gothic Studies on Haunted Scotlands (March 2022). She is currently working on a new project exploring Scottish/Arctic cultural links with particular reference to the ‘otherwordly’ aesthetics attached to the far north, and a monograph provisionally titled Boreal Monsters: Gothic Narratives from Scotland to the Arctic. As a creative writer, she has published short stories in various anthologies and is currently developing a collection and working on ‘Dark Waters’, a novel set in Sicily.
4.20pm to 5.40pm Roundtable Discussion: 'From one Coast to Another: Northern Islands & Arctic ‘In/Tangible’ Blue Heritage and Shared Socio-Ecological Belonging'
Panel Organiser and Chair: Giulia Champion, University of Southampton
Speakers: Monica Germanà, University of Westminster, Laura Major, University of Strathclyde and Madeline Potter, University of Edinburgh.
This roundtable is sponsored and organised by members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded project “Scottish Shores: Gothic Coastal Environments”. For the past year, the project has been exploring how Scottish littoral spaces are represented from within and outside of Scotland. This transdisciplinary project focuses on re-valuing the coasts and understanding their role in political, cultural and socio-ecological contexts. Grounded on the transdisciplinary and collaborative ethos of the project, this roundtable proposes to present brief talks from each speaker to then invite the audience to participate in a broader discussion on the roundtable focus on Northern Islands and Arctic ‘In/Tangible’ Blue Heritage and Shared Socio-Ecological Belonging.
Giulia Champion will first introduce the roundtable and speakers. In this introduction, Champion will discuss definition of ‘In/Tangible’ Blue Heritage and their role in tourism and (just) green transition in a time of climate crisis exacerbated by extractive industries. Champion will focus on the use of heritage in energy transition narratives and practices in Shetland. Then, Madeleine Potter’s presentation will focus on fractured bodies and environments across Orkney and the Arctic in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, to explore the role of literature in framing the region from without. This is followed by Monica Germanà’s discussion of overlaps in the maternal spaces associated with the marine environments of the North and the Arctic with a focus on Orcadian legends of the ‘Sea Mither’ and the Inuit corpus related to the legend of Sedna, providing a context on internal heritage hi/stories. Finally, Dr Major’s intervention will focus on the significance of historical beliefs and values about fresh water for present day community management of place and environment on the Scottish islands. This concluding talk will focus on spirituality and water in relation to environmental management and technologies.
Giulia Champion is a Research Fellow (Anniversary Fellowship) at the University of Southampton. Her project investigates different communities’ engagement with and representations of the coast and seabed through culture, science communication and policy. It interrogates how these may influence marine governance and the concept of Ocean Justice, with a particular focus on “in/tangible” underwater cultural heritage and the current development of the mining code by the International Seabed Authority. In 2022, she was a Green Transition Fellow at the Greenhouse at the University of Stavanger. She volunteers for the International Commission of the History of Oceanography and is a co-convenor for the Haunted Shores Network and the Reading Decoloniality Group, and a collaborator on the Ecological Reparation Project. Her work has been published in journals including Green Letter and The Journal of Energy History.
Monica Germanà is Reader in Gothic and Contemporary Studies at the University of Westminster. Her most recent publications include Scottish Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (2018), co-edited with Carol Davison and short-listed for the Allan Lloyd Prize, Bond Girls: Body, Fashion, Gender (Bloomsbury, 2019), runner up for the Emily Toth Award, and a special issue of Gothic Studies on Haunted Scotlands (March 2022). She is currently working on a new project exploring Scottish/Arctic cultural links with particular reference to the ‘otherwordly’ aesthetics attached to the far north and has produced a 3-part podcast on the Inuit legend of ‘Skeleton Woman’ for the Haunted Shores project. As a creative writer, she has published short stories in various anthologies and is currently developing a collection and working on ‘Dark Waters’, a novel set in Sicily.
Laura Major is a Research Fellow and anthropologist currently embedded within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Laura’s research investigates how relationships between people and objects, or landscapes, affect their lives and the choices they make. Her work sits at the intersection between applied and pure research with the aim of contributing to sustainable and just management of material cultures and landscapes.
Madeline Potter is an early career teaching and research fellow in the literature of the long nineteenth century at the University of Edinburgh. Her research explores the intersections between 19th-century Gothic literature and theology, with a particular focus on monstrosity. Her first academic monograph, Theological Monsters: Religion and Irish Gothic is forthcoming with University of Wales Press. With chapters of Charles Robert Maturin, J.S. Le Fanu, and Bram Stoker, the monograph theorises the concept of the theological monster, and analyses it as an unexpected vehicle for divine epistemology. As part of her work on the ‘Haunted Shores’ network and the ‘Scottish Shores’ project, she has cultivated a research interest in the ecoGothic, concerned particularly with how monsters’ bodies inhabit landscapes, but also the theological and ecological implications of depictions of monstrous landscapes in 19th-century Gothic literature. This line of research has led to the first ecoGothic reading of Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, published in Gothic Nature Journal, and a forthcoming chapter on Le Fanu’s use of landscapes to produce a monstrous re-enchantment of the world.
19 April Morning Session 8.45am to 1.45pm
19 April Morning Session 8.45am to 1.45pm
8.45am to 9am Registration
9am to 10.20am Panel Session: 'The impact of British colonization on First Nations in Manitoba Canada and Highlands and Islands in Scotland: Is it time to re-connect, re-relate, and reconcile?'
Mary Anne Clarke (Peace and Conflict Studies), Jennie Wastesicoot (Individual Interdisciplinary Program, Faculty of Law), Grand Chief Scott Harper (Anisininew Okimawin) and Grand Chief Walter Wastesicoot (Keewatin Tribal Council)
After four hundred years of complex, multifaceted relationships between First Nations in Manitoba Canada and Gaelic Islanders in Canada’s sub-artic regions around the Hudson Bay, it is time to honestly examine the complexities of the relationships and their impacts on Ininew, Anisininew, and Dene Nations, and the Gaels in the Highlands and Islands. When looking closely, there were many examples of common ground between Northern Manitoba First Nations and Gaelic Highlander and Islanders: similar climate and geographical bases, strong family, clan, and tribal based communities and governance, and determined strength from surviving both their harsh environments and their shared experiences of living under colonizing violence from the British Crown and economic forces.
The relationships that developed included various forms of economic and political power imbalances facilitated originally by the Hudson’s Bay Company and the British Crown that can through the conflict and violence of English colonization. Amongst the Indigenous First Nations and the displaced Indigenous Gaels, there were also many experiences of agency and non-violent joining together in multiple spheres within shared communities: family and marriage, culture, language, and economy. It is these shared experiences as Indigenous Peoples from Manitoba and the Islands in Scotland (particularly the Orkney Islands), whose peoples and cultures mingled, that we examine, to begin to find fuller truths for our journeys of reconciliation across the Atlantic.
As a joint panel, Mary Anne Clarke (Peace and Conflict Studies), Jennie Wastesicoot (Individual Interdisciplinary Program, Faculty of Law), Grand Chief Scott Harper (Anisininew Okimawin) and Grand Chief Walter Wastesicoot (Keewatin Tribal Council), are beginning this process of re-connecting to identify examples of reciprocity within our complex relationships over history and still today. This presentation can help answer questions and re-develop positive relationships between these diverse Indigenous Peoples in relation to Artic history and future.
10.20am Questions and Coffee
10.45am: 'Cruise visitation to Orkney – a “paradox of plenty”?', Annie Thuesen
Areas rich in raw materials have often found this to be a mixed blessing, as the extraction of such resources too often lead to environmental, economic and socio-cultural destruction – a phenomenon referred to as the “paradox of plenty”. It has its parallel in tourism, where destinations rich in the “raw materials” of tourism – good weather, sandy beaches, abundant cultural heritage – may in the absence of careful management experience visitation levels that have adverse impacts on local environments, economy and communities.
In recent decades, this issue has become a hot topic in connection with cruise destinations, both due to a significant global rise in cruise tourism (from 13mio. cruise passengers worldwide in 2004 to 28.5mio in 2018), and because the destinations are often smaller islands vulnerable to outside influences given their small-scale economies and fragile ecosystems.
The focus has mainly been on warm-water islands, but challenges have equally been felt in cold-water destinations such as the Orkney Islands. Cruise visitation to Orkney has quadrupled since 2013, and this presentation will consider some of the adverse impacts which this significant rise has had on Orkney already and may be expected to have in future if the current trajectory continues. It will also consider a range of means through which those impacts may be alleviated to make tourism work better for the destination and its sustainable development.
11.05am 'Exploration of Hidden Stories of Shared History Through Digital Storytelling: Challenges and Opportunities', Stephanie Findlay
Digital storytelling has received global acknowledgment within the heritage and museum sector. The opportunities to educate, share collections, connect people with their own stories and shared histories are limitless. It is an excellent method for the communication and interpretation of the past in a cultural heritage. Historic Environment Scotland’s John Rae Project which aims to accurately document properties and collections in 3D demonstrates the important role digital techniques have for monitoring conservation but also the part it can play in making heritage accessible and allowing for improved interpretation. Scotland and the Arctic have deep roots dating back centuries. Scotland’s proud tradition of Arctic explorers who voyaged throughout the region and names of some of these Scots can be found in locations of the Arctic toponymy. Often when discussing the history of these explorations it is often imagined as the work of exceptional individuals in extraordinary circumstances. Although hidden stories such as support of indigenous local communities and intermediaries such as interpreters and guides are often overshadowed. Through digital storytelling there is the potential to create an accessible experience which can be used as a method to explore these hidden stories as well as connected objects, archives and archival photographs. An important aspect in doing so would be connecting people with displaced objects between both Scotland and the Arctic. A strong argument for advocating and creating a digital storytelling experience on this shared heritage would be the potential it has to forge a stronger cultural relationship through shared heritage. This paper would seek to explore the ways in which digital storytelling could be used as a method for exploring the shared histories between the Arctic and Scotland and reasons why this should be considered as an opportunity for exploring hidden stories of this shared heritage and challenges in doing so.
11.25am 'The battle of the wilderness: the case of tourism, climate change and new environmental regulations on Svalbard', Tiril Vold Hansen, Nord University.
This study contributes to the understanding of the wilderness concept and its relation to tourism and other human activities by applying it to the Svalbard context. The concept of wilderness is “a highly contentious term” (Vannini and Vannini, 2016, p. 11). As described in the U.S. Wilderness Act (1964, section 2c), wilderness is often seen as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man”. The concept may however hold other meanings when seen in the light of scientific research, recreation, tourism, or state territorialization. Because of the many conceptions of wilderness and the different interests related to them, wilderness may be viewed as “an ideological battleground” where “political struggle occurs in and through the concepts and images we use to describe the world” (Braun 2002, p. 17).
This is also true for the case investigated in this study, namely the political process of newly proposed environmental regulations on Svalbard. I find that from a research perspective, the Svalbard wilderness is understood as a laboratory, while the locals se it as a playground and recreational space. Where the government sees wilderness as vulnerable, pristine nature, the tourism industry sees a commercial product. By illuminating the relation between interests and power, the insights provided in this study are relevant to the ongoing debate over the dilemmas of climate change, tourism, and environmental protection in Svalbard, the Arctic, and beyond - including the Northern Isles of Scotland, where the link between tourism and wilderness is strong, while the concept is no less contested (Aitken, 1977; Miller, 2018; Waylen & Marshall, 2023; Wilderness Scotland, n.d.).
11.45am Questions and Short Break
11.55am 'Fading Histories, Uncertain Futures: Cultural Heritage Preservation in Svalbard Amidst Climate Change and Tourism Challenges' Anne-Cathrine Flyen, Atle Wehn Hegnes, Cecilie Flyen and Vibeke Vandrup Martens.
Cultural heritage in Svalbard faces a precarious future, as it grapples with the impacts of climate change and the pressures of tourism. The region's oldest remnants, harking back to the epochs of European whaling in the 17th to 18th centuries and Russian fur trapping from the 18th to 19th centuries, are at particular risk. These sites have experienced significant deterioration, with only a few original structures left standing. Many historical graves, relics of both periods, now rest perilously close to the shoreline, having already succumbed to the relentless erosion of the sea. These subtle remnants often elude recognition as culturally significant, and unintentional contributions to their degradation come from tourists and guides alike.
The effects of climate change compound the challenges facing Svalbard's cultural heritage. Geological and biological degradation is accelerating, and this deterioration is expected to intensify in the years to come. The Arctic, especially Svalbard, is experiencing a much faster temperature rise compared to the rest of the planet, amplifying these issues.
This paper presents findings from multiple research projects that delve into the consequences of burgeoning tourism and escalating natural degradation on Svalbard's cultural heritage and environments. It also delves into potential measures to preserve these invaluable heritage assets. Moreover, the paper explores how research-based knowledge emanating from these projects can underpin the management of cultural heritage in the Arctic and proposes pathways for sharing this knowledge among Arctic nations.
In a world where climate change and tourism are redefining Svalbard's cultural heritage, this paper emphasizes the significance of comprehending, conserving, and championing these historical sites, imparting lessons and insights with relevance not only for the region but also for the worldwide endeavour of heritage conservation.
12.15pm 'Turning the Tide on the Trash: Tackling Marine Litter - A Comparative study of Shetland and Svalbard' Jack Dyce
Climate change is a key concern, globally, but particularly impacting on northern lands, especially the High North, yet also with wider implications. And changes in climate are closely, inextricably, interlinked to the problem of pollution, and, for archipelagos, islands and coastal regions, maritime litter and damage. Shetland and Svalbard are both archipelagos, the latter within the Norwegian realm, and the former part of Scotland/ UK. Both enjoy significant degrees of governance autonomy, with differing constitutional arrangements; in the Norwegian case primarily exercised through a gubernatorial appointment by central government with very limited local government; and the Scottish by an islands authority established under an Act of (the UK) Parliament: their capacity then to respond to environmental issues is both a political and a constitutional question. Beyond formal government action, third sector agencies and grassroots political action contribute to resolving damage and threats and challenges. Their geographies include coastal land and waters, seas and sea floors, bringing harvestable resources, but giving rise to impact concerns. Both might be said to be “remote” and “small” places but do these factors relate to the global? Svalbard is “Nordic” in political culture with an ostensibly green eco-critical awareness, while sitting at a geopolitical crossroads – is this particularly apparent in their approaches to environmental issues? Both have histories of exploitation of “dirty fuel” resources – oil and coal – but what was distinctive in this, and what legacies remain to be managed? In both locations, tourism makes a distinctive contribution to local and national economies; how does this relate to environmental policies? Ecological resilience depends upon governmental policies/actions but coherence is achieving and maintaining this is not consistent. What part do differing political cultures and governance processes have on commitment and capacity to respond to these issues?
Jack Dyce is Emeritus Professor of Nordic Theology, a post held since retirement from his principalship of a Scottish theological college. He holds an MLitt and a PhD around the application of Grundtvig’s thinking in adult education and in nationalism. He has a broad interest in Nordic studies – ecocriticism and environmentalism, crime fiction, 19th Century Nordic social and political thought, HC Andersen and life events, incarceration studies, the cultural significance of food and drink, and audio-visual representations of national ‘values’. His work, geographically, is similarly wide, from Svalbard to the Baltic and to the northern isles. For his most recent studies with UHI he received diplomas in Viking Studies and in Island Studies, both with distinction.
12.35pm Questions and Lunch
19 April Afternoon Session 1.45pm to 5.45pm
19 April Afternoon Session 1.45pm to 5.45pm
1.45pm 'Planning a future for the past; The spaceport and Chain Home radar site at Lamba Ness, Unst' Simon Clarke, UHI Shetland
RAF Skaw on Lamba Ness in Unst, Shetland was once the northernmost Radar station in Britain’s WWII Chain Home early warning air defence network. In 2012 the site was granted statutory protected status as a Scheduled Monument – giving it the same legal protection as the Iron Age brochs of Mousa and Clickhimin (Shetland’s first scheduled monuments, inscribed 1882). In spite of this legal protection the site has been selected for development of Britain’s first vertical launch rocket site (rather grandly styled as a spaceport). This is a significant economic development for Unst, which it is hoped will create up to 90 jobs when the site is fully operational. Nevertheless the decision is a controversial one. The site of the former RAF Skaw was protected precisely because it was a single phase development, created on a green field site and not overlain by later Cold War bases. Building substantial launch facilities over the site, will not only have destroyed some features, but also complicates the interpretation of the site to an interested public in the future. On the other hand potentially many more visitors will be drawn to the site because of its newfound notoriety as a space launch site. This paper will explore the dilemma that economic development, though often desperately needed (both locally and at a national strategic level), inevitably impacts on the survival, accessibility and visual amenity of heritage resources. Where should the balance lie between these competing priorities and who should decide?
2.05pm 'Heritage, Tourism and Change in Longyearbyen', Laura Ferguson, Scottish Association for Marine Science, UHI
This paper focuses on the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Longyearbyen, the dynamics of the social and environmental changes impacting it and needs and options for the conservation and sustainable tourism exploitation of it. Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the High Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard, was originally established as a company town for the Arctic Coal Company but has since evolved into a modern town with a thriving tourism industry and strong science and education base. The town has much cultural heritage, particularly relating to the mining industry. The paper includes findings from interviews with people connected to heritage in Longyearbyen and a survey of residents that explores the contribution of mining heritage to place identity and heritage development for residents and tourists. Key issues to emerge include disjoint caused by the image of the Arctic wilderness, uninherited heritage, the difficulty in capturing and preserving intangible cultural heritage, rapid change and how to include the perspectives of residents to develop heritage that balances local benefits and tourism.
2.25pm 'Living on the Edge? – Shetland and the HerInDep Project', Andrew Jennings and Andrew Lind, Institute for Northern Studies, UHI
Despite having a strong economy and higher-than-average living conditions, initial results from Scotland’s 2022 census suggest a 1.2% decline in Shetland’s population – to 22,900 – from 2011. Meanwhile, Scotland as whole saw an increase of 2.7%. Indeed, in stark contrast to Shetland, the neighbouring Orkney Islands recorded a population increase of 3%. Shetland’s decline has primarily been attributed to migration which, combined with the islands’ aging population and the declining influence of North Sea oil, has caused concern that the archipelago is undergoing a significant socio-economic transition linked to depopulation.
As part of the AHRC-funded project ‘HerInDep: Heritage in Depopulating European Areas’, Institute for Northern Studies team members Andrew Jennings (PI) and Andrew Lind (CoI) are exploring the current state of heritage in Shetland and the potential impact which ongoing demographic issues may present. The team are also interested in evaluating the opportunities which Shetland’s heritage might offer to offset or even reverse the impact of depopulation on local communities.
This paper will provide an overview of the team’s ongoing research and the comparative approach which the HerInDep project will enable. It is hoped that by utilising case studies from across Europe, the project will be able to provide local stakeholders with the support they need in order to ensure that local voices are heard, and heritage is safeguarded.
Andrew Jennings is an Associate Professor in Island Studies at the Institute for Northern Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands. Dr Jennings has particular research interests in the Early Medieval History of the Scottish Islands, with an emphasis on place-names and the Vikings, and Island Studies, with a particular focus on the islands of the North Atlantic and the Baltic.
Andrew Lind is an early modern historian and lecturer at the Institute for Northern Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands. Andrew was a department lead on review of the UHI’s 2020 Islands Strategy and is interested in the ways in which history and heritage inform modern identities and understandings of the past
2.45pm Questions and Short Break
3pm 'Places outside the Cultural Mainstream' Mark Smith, Shetland Museum and Archive
Near the beginning of the Icelandic Book of Settlements, the author lists the centres of power when Iceland was discovered. We learn who the Pope was, the names of European Emperors and Kings, and the segment ends by declaring that Sigurd the Mighty was Earl of Orkney at the time.
The next paragraph contains a series of sailing directions for people travelling from Norway to Iceland. Landnámabók tells us (if the right course has been steered) where Shetland and Faroe will appear, and goes on to show how to reach Greenland. In contrast to the illustrious list that opens the chapter, this paragraph describes a voyage through the periphery of the Norse world. Sailors got to Iceland and Greenland by sailing away from where Kings and Earls were found.
Using this ancient linking-together of Shetland, Faroe, Iceland and Greenland as a starting point, this paper seeks to explore what the islands’ continued status as peripheral places has meant for creative artists in more recent times. The paper will consider various novels and artworks, including novels by Halldór Laxness, Jane Smiley and William Heinesen, and films about Shetland by Jenny Gilbertson, to interrogate how the positioning of these places outside the cultural mainstream has allowed artists to create idiosyncratic and distinctive local cultures.
3.20pm 'Faroe and Shetland – sister archipelagos or distant cousins?' John Goodlad
Examining the changing socio-economic and cultural relationship between Faroe and Shetland over time, my presentation will address all five themes of the conference.
During the Viking period both island groups shared a common culture and economy when they were part of the Norgesveldet polity. This changed dramatically when Shetland became part of Scotland in 1469. Instead of looking east and north, Shetland began to look south to Scotland.
Despite several centuries of increasing Scottish influence, there remained a surprising degree of Norse cultural and linguistic continuity. This was rediscovered during the nineteenth century by the Faroese linguist, Dr Jakob Jakobsen whose research in Shetland recorded the remnants of Shetland Norn. Less well known were the strong economic, social and linguistic bonds that were forged by Shetland fishers who caught cod around Faroe from 1850 to the early twentieth century. From a Faroese perspective these fishing links with Shetland transformed their society from one based on subsistence agriculture to a modern commercial economy based on fishing.
Both island groups then diverged again. Based on their successful fishing industry, and the granting of Home Rule in 1948, the Faroese population continued to grow while that of Shetland declined. By the late twentieth century there was a growing interest within Shetland in political autonomy with the Faroese example often used as a template.
There is currently much that links Faroe and Shetland. If Scotland becomes an independent country, some argue that this will provide the opportunity to achieve political autonomy for Shetland. Both economies remain highly dependent on seafood – bringing both problems and opportunities. How large the tourism sector should be allowed to grow is an interesting question facing both archipelagos. Climate change and how Faroe and Shetland can contribute towards net zero is another fascinating contemporary issue.
3.40pm 'Unexpected guests. Greenlanders in Iceland in 1925', Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson, University of Iceland
In 1925, about 90 Greenlanders arrived on a ship from Ammassalik in East Greenland to Ísafjörður, a small town on the north-west coast of Iceland. The group was on their way to Scoresby Sound, in the north of East Greenland. Most of them were from Ammassalik but some came from West Greenland.
The reasons for these migrations were that at that time the Norwegian state made claims to part of East Greenland and called it Eric the Red´s the Land, thus referring to the settlement of Norse people in Greenland in the Middle Ages. The Danish government's response was, among other things, to establish a settlement at Scoresby Sound, in order to secure their control over the land.
The Greenlandic group stayed in Ísafjörður for a few days in August 1925. The townspeople welcomed the group, put on a varied program and the guests thanked them by performing their arts on kayaks in the harbour. Two photographers were working in the town at that time and took many photos of the guests.
The paper will discuss the visit with reference to the photos that exist from the visit and other sources where this event was discussed. A variety of perspectives will be explored. How was the relationship between Icelanders and Greenlanders in this cultural exchange? Was it characterized by prejudices, as had often been the case from the Icelandic side? Were there different views expressed regarding the two Greenlandic groups, from east and west? What about the interaction in the Greenlandic group and the role of the Danish officials? And finally, what effect did the visit have on relations between these two countries?
4pm Faroese sea- and fishermen and workers as part of the Nordic, British and German maritime labour market mainly in the 1950-60's, Erland Viberg Joensen, University of the Faroe Islands
Since the late 19th century and throughout the whole 20th century Faroese seamen and fishermen have been part of the maritime labour market abroad. These movements are a tradition. Just a few years after the Home Rule Act in 1948 the Faroese economy collapsed in the early 1950's. The fishing fleet diminished drastically and once again the maritime work force in huge numbers had to seek abroad for employment either part of the year or on a permanent basis. All these sailors and female workers in the fishing industry outside the Faroes were a relative surplus of the labour force on the islands well into the 1960's. In addition, the 1950's were a decade of a huge net migration to mainly Denmark and continued well into the 1960's. Do the Faroes share the same history with societies like Orkney and Shetland and what characterized the Faroes as a society with semi-independency, a new beginning when the Faroes went into a modernisation process.
4.20pm Question and Short Break
4.35pm 'Did Fimbulwinter Eradicate Shetland’s Picts?' Allen Fraser
Norse mythology tells us that Fimbulwinter is the harsh winter that precedes the end of the world, and puts an end to all life on Earth. It is said to be three successive harsh winters without any intervening summers. Over the last decade or so, evidence from Arctic and Antarctic ice cores, seabed sediments and tree rings, as well as contemporary writings, have been fed into climate models. From these models researchers now believe that the myth is likely to be a memory of a real climate disaster that began in 536 AD.
This paper considers the cause and effects in Pictish Shetland of a catastrophic climatic downturn across Europe that began in the 6th century AD. This long 'volcanic winter', caused by the outpouring of material into the atmosphere from multiple extra-tropical and tropical eruptions, is evaluated. Known as the Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA), its devastating effects continued to affect the British Isles, Scandinavia and Europe throughout the 7th century. The impact on the vulnerability and resilience of Shetland’s Late Iron Age Pictish population from this, the severest climate downturn in the past 2500 years, is considered. It is highly likely that the population fell below a sustainable level and that the islands were deserted. By the time the first Norse landed on Shetland’s shores, Shetland had been rediscovered and occupied only by a few small Papar enclaves.
4.55pm ''Ultima Thule' and the Arctic Experience', George Broderick, Universität Heidelberg
This paper will consoder three aspects: 1. The name 'Thule' itself, 2. Its association with Shetland, and 3. The Pliny's three island names of Dumna, Bergos and Berrice from where Thule could be reached. The story of 'Ultima Thule' is generally well known, especially in Shetland where the motto of the town of Lerwick bears the note from Tacitus Dispecta est [et] Thule '(And) Thules was sighted'. But what might not be so well known are the details of its alleged visit by the Greek explorer Pytheas c.325 BCE and the ultimate belief of its reference to Iceland. In discussing this the circumstances of its association with Shetland as part of an apparent propaganda initiative by the Emperor Domitian (81-96 CE) in association with Agricola and the Roman fleet, and the reliability of Flavian co-ordiantes in the matter. In addition, the three island names mentioned by Pliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus 23/24-79 CE), namely Dumna, Bergos and Berrice, from where Thule could be reached will also merit some discussion. Finally, a brief umming up of the details of the various comments relating to Thule by Pytheas making clear the geopgraphical position of Thule will be made
5.15pm 'A truly Northern Saint – Magnus in the Arctic regions', Jenny Murray, UHI
Much has been written about the Cult of St Magnus and the cathedral dedicated to him in Kirkwall, Orkney, but what of the other areas further north where he was revered? Can we find material evidence of St Magnus veneration in Shetland, Faroes and Iceland? Using ecclesiastical materiality as evidence this paper will explore Christian veneration in the North Atlantic archipelagos using this developing approach to studying medieval church archaeology and the Cult of Saints (Eade 2015).
The paper will discuss the surviving archaeological material relating to the Cult of St Magnus. The Cathedral built and dedicated to him in the mid-twelfth century by his nephew Earl Rognvald was the heart of the diocese of Orkney, which included within its jurisdiction Shetland and probably Caithness. His popularity spread north to Faroes and Iceland over the following centuries, with Icelandic lawbooks showing that a relic of Magnus was sent to a church there in 1298. In Faroes we will discuss the cathedral dedicated to St Magnus at Kirkjubøur which still holds his relic, and the amazing collection of wooden church furniture which still survives today.
By reviewing standing architecture and pieces of church furniture curated in various local museums this paper will explore the veneration of St Magnus in the North Atlantic asking how is he remembered in each community? Can we still appreciate surviving memories of him in our landscape today?
5.45pm Conference Close
Saturday 20th April 2024 6th St Magnus Conference Day Tour
A Shetland Mainland Experience with Dr Andrew Jennings historian and Dr Simon Clarke archaeologist. £60 per person including lunch. Limited spaces!
Lerwick to Scalloway the old capital, centre of the Shetland Bus during WW2 and present fishing centre, with its castle built for Earl Patrick Stewart ‘Black Patie’ in 1600.
Then to Burra Isle via Trondra to the fishing community of Hamnavoe, transformed by a bridge in the 1970s.
Next we head to Tingwall, through the valley to Shetland’s old Thing Site, a centre of administration during the Viking and Norse period in Shetland.
From Tingwall we head to the Waast Side and its little visited Neolithic and Bronze Age landscapes, including Stanydale Neolithic Temple, this involves a short walk to a mysterious structure from the past, and the Scord of Brouster Prehistoric Houses, built by Shetland’s earliest farmers.
Next we head north to Voe and Brae, across wild countryside to Shetland’s second largest settlement, which developed during the oil era.
From Brae we head to Northmavine and Eshaness, across Mavis Grind, the narrowest stretch of land between the Atlantic and the North Sea, to the rugged, granite peninsula of Northmavine, a focus of Shetland’s UNESCO Geopark, and the volcanic landscape and cliffs of Eshaness, frequently features in the TV series Shetland.
The we head east to Sullom Voe and the extraordinary Viking Wind Farm, representing Shetland’s industrial present and its sustainable energy future.
Then south through Pettadale to Lerwick, where our final stop will be Clickimin Broch, a fortification from the Bronze and Iron Ages, and central to discussions about UNESCO World Heritage recognition for Shetland’s Iron Age.
Travelling to Shetland
Travelling to Shetland
You can travel to Shetland either by ferry or you can fly from all major cities in Scotland.
The main ferry service is daily between Aberdeen and Lerwick and is operated by Northlink Ferries. The crossing takes about 12 hours on a direct overnight sailing. The boat has lovely cabins and reclining chairs, so it is extremely comfortable. It is a roll-on/roll-off ferry so you can come over to Shetland with your vehicle. This allows you to bring more with you and to buy lots of gifts on the island to take home, without having to worry about luggage weight restrictions.
If, however, you do not have strong sea legs and the weather forecast is not favourable, then we strongly advise that you travel with the necessary medication to make your crossing comfortable.
If it is not a direct sailing, you will call into Kirkwall in Orkney as part of your journey. This gives visitors the opportunity to include a stopover in Orkney as part of their holiday. Kirkwall is a delightful town and has many great restaurants and small shops to explore as well as breath-taking scenery, which is just a short drive outside of Kirkwall itself.
Flights to Shetland are operated by Loganair. You can connect to Sumburgh, Shetland or Kirkwall, Orkney from all four of the major Scottish cities: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. Generally, the flight times are an hour or just slightly longer. You will need be at the airport an hour before departure.
There are a few car rental companies in Shetland and a hire car is the best option for getting around Shetland. There is also a bus service between Sumburgh Airport and Lerwick and other routes throughout Shetland. Buses are not as regular as what you find on the Scottish Mainland so it would be best to consult the Zettrans website for further details.
Call for Papers
Call for Papers
*****Deadline extended to 1 November 2023****
The Institute for Northern Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands, would like to welcome abstracts for panel sessions, papers and poster proposals for the 6th International St Magnus Conference, which will be held in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, 18-20 April 2024.
The theme of the conference is The Northern Isles and the Arctic: Environment, Heritage and Tourism.
The Northern Isles have long had an intimate connection with the Sub-Arctic and Arctic. In the Middle Ages they were part of the same polity Norgesveldet along with Iceland and Greenland. In the 19th century explorers like the Orcadian John Rae pioneered new routes across the Arctic, while whalers from the isles frequented the Davis Straits hunting the whale and interacting with the indigenous population. Orcadians also played a huge role in the Hudson Bay Company. Currently, their geographical position provides justification for Scotland to regard itself as the most northerly non-Arctic nation. The Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy was launched in Orkney in 2019 highlighting the centrality of the islands to Scotland’s Arctic ambitions. The Institute for Northern Studies UHI with its involvement in the University of the Arctic carries out Arctic research, exploring these deep and abiding connections. This conference seeks to share knowledge of, and celebrate the Northern Isles relationship with the Arctic, past, present and future.
In line with this theme, we welcome submissions on the following topics:
- Shared Histories – Exploring the historical relationship between the Northern Isles, Sub-Arctic and the Arctic.
- Changing Environments - The impact of Climate Change on the Northern Isles, Sub-Arctic and the Arctic.
- Preserving and Promoting Culture & Heritage - What lessons can we share?
- An Extractive Industry? - The Impact of Tourism on the Islands in the North.
- Northern Synergies – How will the relationship between the Isles, the Sub-Arctic and the Arctic develop in future?
However, this is not an exclusive list.
Initially, the Committee invites proposals for multi-paper panel sessions. However, individual papers will also be considered.
We would hope to receive panel titles and abstracts, of no more than 300 words, no later than 1 September 2023 *****Deadline extended to 1 November 2023****. All proposals should be emailed to email@example.com. Conference registration will open on 1 October 2023, please see our conference website for this and all other information.
Institute for Northern Studies,
University of the Highlands and Islands
Kirkwall, KW15 1FL
Tel: (+44) (0)1856 569 300