Posts Tagged ‘Nuuk’

→ Akureyri

Seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS)

Have we mentioned what a wonderful time we’ve had at the ICASS 7, and in fact, that everyone has already headed home to their respective destinations? We have. We’re tuckered and cannot think of what more to say beyond acknowledging, once again our wonderful hosts, Joan Nymand Larsen and Jon Haukur Ingimundarson.


Is there still room to beat about the bush?

Former Lt. Governor of Alaska and current Chair of Arctic Research Commission, Fran Ulmer (R) standing beside economist, Lee Husky

Dr. Anna Kerttula de Echave, Academic to the stars and National Science Foundation, Program Officer for Office of Polar Programs

There is. We need to name drop  — that also in attendance was Former Lt. Governor of Alaska and current Chair of the Arctic Research Commission, Fran Ulmer. Fran has worked tirelessly for all things good in the Arctic (and Alaska!) and that she attended the ICASS 7 speaks volumes of her continued commitment.

And come to think of it, I benefitted from the discretion of Fran, when she and Governor Tony Knowles provided me with my first break as Paparazzi Ethnographer, while working as an energy lobbyist in their Washington, D.C. office some years ago. At that time, I was assistant to Anna Kerttula de Echave, then Associate Director in the Office of the Alaska Governor, appointed under Ulmer and Knowles. In our humble footnote manner, we would just like to wish both Fran and Anna all the best — as they continue to provide all of us with the great leadership they’ve been doing now for so long….

Pre-Epilogue Notes:
News Flash: We’re not done quite yet. First of all, we have to thank one special person, among the so many that we need to acknowledge, and for which we will be doing just that very activity here quite soon, but nevertheless, let us take a moment to acknowledge the masterful latte making of Hildur Fridriksdottir.



Pouring Magic Potion

With a Smile

Several secret admirers of the StudioPolar Paparazzi Ethnographic Blog have since given up their identity.
Admittedly, it was difficult at first to wrangle from one person in particular, his namesake, and we were at a loss for how to provide an identity to the image. Then it occurred to us to ask the one question that no academic can resist from providing an appropriate response: “May we have your business card?” and in a moment all was revealed:

Mysterious reader of StudioPolar

John W. Farrell, PhD. and Executive Director of the US Arctic Research Commission. As you can imagine, we were flattered to have such a distinguished representative of our federal government following our blogging footsteps.

Okay, let’s go to the final plenary for the closing of the conference. Wow! We all had a great time here at ICASS, perhaps one of the best venues ever. So many good presentations, conversations, evenings, exchanges, and even a bit of intrigue to oil the moving parts and practices of all the fleeting phenomena of Akureyri’s mid-summer’s meeting.

Well, there you have it.

Final Plenary

Final statements


The final plenary took place, Joan Nymand Larsen, IASSA President and ICASS VII co-convener said some wonderful words to bring to an end a fabulous week.

Gail Fondahl going for the Gold!

UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA IS THE WINNER!!! CONGRATULATIONS GAIL FONDAHL!!! The new IASSA President and ICASS VIII Convener!! YAY!! — We’ll all be headed to Northern British Columbia in a couple years for the next ICASS conference — Nelson Graburn is such a drama queen. He came out with the microphone and gave us the final vote tally announcing “78 votes to 67 votes” and then sat there not saying who the winner was for a few seconds, all of us waiting on bated breath, and then he announced it. I just congratulated Gail personally, she’ll do a fabulous job.

6/26Last Day 9AM. Listening to Nancy Wachowich talking about film, and image history in Canadian Arctic. Sounds great so far. Oh, excellent. Talking about how images, movies from the Arctic, getting inscribed into New York art galleries, and the competing story lines of Knud Rasmussen. The evidentiary status of images and stories in various arctic fronts, and bringing various readings to the table. And “ducking beneath” various accepted notions by which the local is undermined by reference to the global in film (e.g., technology of the camera).

How the historic past is intimately connected to, and moving far beyond the image in the frame. And in this, Nancy provides an ethnography of the script-making behind the indigenous film on Rasmussen’s diaries, and how the past was brought into being through a generative set of activities, referring to maps, charts, old photographs posted on walls, and elders referencing different images and an interplay of elaborate activities moving forward — a heightened reflexivity about what it might have been like to have experienced environmental emergence common only a generation earlier.

Historical imaginings in the film, left on the cutting room floor, etc. are all apart of the narrative imaginings.

6/25: We finally caught up with Amanda Foote from Wild Horses Consulting. A real Calgarian would be an understatement. We were on our way to the movies, to see an ethnographic film, and brushed by Amanda while she was carrying on a phone conversation with one youth member of the Canadian Aboriginal Bands which she assists in work development programs.

Amanda’s Eye Glasses

Glasses magnified

We arrived at that moment when she had her glasses off, taking a break from looking into the lens, and capturing a photo of her eye-glasses once before she had a chance to put them on again, deciding that their materiality best preserved the image of Amanda in her absence.


We just stepped into a movie screening.

I’m so lazy, and ask our readers to forgive me for not introducing the movie, but it’s so dark in here, I can’t flip through the program. And, oh, they just turned on the light, for a few moments, a technical problem, just for a few moments, not enough time to identify the film that we’re now so engrossed in.

Watching Movies

Movie Watching

But enough time in fact, to capture a quick image of our viewers. And who is that in the left hand bottom corner of the image, looking directly into the camera- but none other than the well spoken graduate student, Lindsey Terry of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta. Okay, I’ll have to get the names of the director and movies later. Lights out! Back to the film!

Tom Thorton

3PM — okay, well, while it doesn’t look like we go to any panels and hear any science, in fact we do. And just to provide evidence as such, I want to post this photo of Tom Thorton of Oxford University, working on corporate governing under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. So there. Okay, let’s go back to the gossip. The final vote tally was put through and the new ICASS Council is in. Well, I was a bit abashed actually, three of my favorites did not get elected! Huh. But all those who were, Gail Fondahl, Birger Poppel, Peter Schweitzer, Florian Stammler, Alona YefimenkoChris Southcott and two others. Welcome and Congratulations!

NOON TIME — Well, the votes are in. Jessica Shadian gave a great talk in support of Norway for the next ICASS conference, and Gail Fondhal was equally forceful in making her case for British Columbia. Chris Southcott gave a worthy performance.

Vote Counting Pow Wow among the Chiefs

Actually. Last night, right at the table that I was seated, Nelson Graburn was asked to count the votes, so important would be the out come, that everyone wanted the deliberate wizened wizardry of the Inuktitut Master — The pow wow took place when Dr. Joan Nymand Larsen, IASSA President and ICASS VII co-convener, and Dr. Jon Haukur Ingimundarson, ICASS VII Congress Convener huddled for a fleeting moment, captured of course, by the Paparazzi Ethnographic lens.

Update: OMG – Jessica only got 20% of the vote. Wow. Yukon and British Columbia are in a tie vote and we’ve had to vote once again.

Last Meal

Okay, now, we’re introducing the Nominees for IASSA Council 2011-2014. And those who want to be elected are heading up to the podium to give a blurb about who they are. David Koester is up there now, selling his pitch, and he sounds great, calm, secure, I hope he gets on the Council. Alexander King just gave us a promise that if he’s elected he will change the by-laws and put them up for a web vote. There’s someone up there now, and I can’t make out what they’re saying. Too bad. Andrey Petrov is now up, and made everyone laugh with a joke, so that should get him a few votes. Birger Poppel just got the gavel for speaking too long. Peter Schweitzer wants to stay because of institutional memory. Jessica Shadian is now up and she sounds great. Good for her.

Lasting Meal

Florian Stammler is up. Speaking confidently about why he wants another go as a Council member. Tatiana Vlasova is now speaking and talking about the internationalization of workers in (?) — I’m sitting in the back of the room, so I apologize, for this partial note-taking, I can’t hear what’s being said. But I should say that I just voted for Tatiana. She seemed like a very good egg. Okay, last person. Alona Yefimenko. It’s always tough to go last. But Alona sparkled up on stage and I’m sure she’ll get the vote out.

6/25No change.


But today there was a difference. We were invited by the city back to the Culture House. And this time, we came to celebrate by banquet the award of one of our own — of the most prestigious of sentimental moments, the ICASS life membership. Even for the most Midas of cynical touches, those for whom the holy with every moment becomes profane, we gasped.

It was Anna Kerttula.

We all knew Anna was the perfect person. Dr. Kerttula, Program Officer, National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs. But no one could anticipate that at this moment, Anna would have been selected. But lets back up a bit. And attempt to ride into an understanding of the evening without simply spelling things out, right away, so to speak.

There’s no longer a need to provide identification. That we’ve all become familiar with the setting is a truism. It’s late. It’s early. There’s no dawn to dusk, just lit and well lit, dusk and dawn.

Lasting things memorable place me in a heated discussion with Dr. Piers Vitebskey over serendipity. California versus England according to the good doctor. Of course, I applied my scorched earth rhetoric to the discussion. Everything during the evening was whether Jessica should have the next ICASS over Gail and Chris. For the record, I’ll be voting for ____ ____. Vitebskey attempted to point out that I had no appreciation of tradition. And this was precisely my appreciation. By tearing the sacred asunder, I always can prove there’s something I care for.

The contenders.


The wine tasters.

The Servers


6/24Summer solstice in Akureyri. It’s a time when the sun never sets, and folks go out in search of leisure. Everything’s innocent of course, it’s just that all this innocence takes place from dusk till dawn.

Arctic Time Zones

The more we move through space in Akureyri, the more we become aware of a different time dimension, perhaps it has to do with the summer Arctic. But especially last evening, we could not shake a distinct sense that forms of time here were not corresponding to the those of the Western Cosmopolitan.

And this does not mean we had left the cosmopolitan world. It is just, that perhaps, we had entered an alternative space within the cosmopolitan form. How would I, as an anthropologist, distinguish this unique space, its particular form as represented in the objects that are part of Akureyri night scape? Since I love labels, perhaps it is best to begin with a title, call it Arctic Modern, or the Western Arctic Cosmopolitan for lack of better phrases.

The Architects

Icelandic Modern

And here I might say that there is a distinct Akureryi Night Scape that begins just past midnight. When Icelanders go down to various night bars or piano bars, and without even making a phone call, find each other wrestling with the midsummer’s light.

As a Photographist and International Traveler, it’s typically dumb luck that I can follow a path as friends and informants proceed in their quest to arrest the zum before the fall. Iceland. Definitely one of the most ostentatious emotional locations to visit along the Arctic rim.

After Hours

Closing Time

After Party

And It’s true. I have mentioned in these posts over and over again, the notion of distance. Through the use of previous photographs, I’ve tried to show that the politics of the image is always related to distance. In this regard, Icelanders are unique, especially after 1AM when leaving for after parties.

Boney M.

Icelandic Townsquare

One of the more unique intersections might best be referred to as Boney M. — Nightflight to Venus. 1978 seems to be a good year still in Akureyri, and the tunes Rivers of Babylon and Rasputin, if you have not yet heard of them, should be on your I-Tune list before blowing into town. Otherwise, you’re likely to miss perhaps the most telling moments of life in Akureyri. Well, all this jaunting had to begin somewhere, and we found ourselves principally floating into our present condition from a party at Arctic Portal, where the evening had taken its interesting turn.

Halldor Johannsson

Arctic Portal

Halldor Johannsson is the man at Arctic Portal, an internet firm that is Host to the Arctic Most. They operate the websites for APECS, IASC and several others, and Halldor, who I met several years ago when I was a council member of APECS, is as generous a person as you can find in the Arctic.

We continued our path through Arctic Portal, through their various rooms, and becoming quite interested in Iceland, its evening secrets. But before we arrived there, we began the evening by attending the bid for the next ICASS, taking place at the KEA Hotel, and sponsored by Chris Southcott, Chair, Yukon College, in Canada.

Moving through space

Across tables

It was quite a spread and Chris was magnanimous in his speech. Many in the room were beginning to think North to the Yukon.

I continued to float through the mosh, nibbling on this and that, all the while getting a sense that our panel of presentations on extractive industries was a success. At the Yukon sponsored event, Emma Wilson, Energy Team Leader for International Institute for Environment in London was catching up with Stephanie Fox, Assistant Professor in Public Health.

Emma with Stephanie

Peter Schweitzer

In attention

Peter Schweitzer, Professor in the Department of Anthropology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, was is good form that evening as well, giving a few words to the audience gathered to hear from Chris.

And there was Jessica Shadian, who I’ve plastered all over this blog and you can read about below, she’s such a sparkling success of an academic in the Arctic, but with her is Phil Steinberg, Professor of Geography at Florida State University

Jessica & Phil

Becoming midnight

Heading Vampiric

All in all, it was dusk till dawn, in Akureyri.

Florian Stammler

6/23: Zing! Day Two —Okay, new day. Florian went ahead and started up our panel, made a lot of generous invitations to the audience to participate. The first speaker is Gunhild, presenting her materials. Yes, that’s right! Here we are, doing our presentations right this moment.

Gunhild is talking about security and all around protection and preservation. What ways that security can be applied and employed in the Arctic setting. Energy security, geopolitics, access to natural resources. Security has long been part of the Arctic. Engaging!

In Focus


Uh. Well. And there you have it. I just gave my talk! I thought it went pretty well. Wow. That’s it! That’s how it goes. You’re up there and you’re done.

It’s lunch time coming up and I’m looking forward to getting some lamb soup, a big, big item on the menu up here in Iceland. I’ll be joining James S. Baker, Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at University of British Columbia and Sari Graben, Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen’s University’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy. James is working on arctic governance in the context of boundaries in the seas of the High North. Sari has been working on energy legislation and actually has a law degree.

Peter Harrison, Director of the 2012 Montreal, IPY conference

David Koester & Alex King

By the way, I want to put in a plug here for the 2012 Montreal IPY conference. IPY stands for International Polar Year, 2007-2009. There have been two main IPY conferences, first taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia 2008, which I attended, and then 2009, in Oslo, Norway, which I also attended.

The next IPY conference taking place in Montreal is being directed by Peter Harrison, Professor of School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. During the Plenary session, Peter introduced us to what’s going on around that event. Peter’s pitch was quite convincing and you can check out the website here: IPY 2012 From Knowledge to ActionWe’ll see you there!

Hjördís Guðmundsdottir

I should like to thank Hjördís Guðmundsdottir from the Akureyri Institute, who uploaded my Power Point slides and in particular, had the patience to correct one slide so that my presentation would go perfectly.

I was so determined to get rid of that one slide! Hjördís confirmed that the audience only would become confused, so we deleted it. And it’s that kind of advice, moments before giving a talk that you really come to appreciate when working as a Paparazzi Ethnographer.

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! 



N. W.

Nancy Wachowich, anthropologist extraordinaire at University of Aberdeen, Department of Anthropology.

I had meant to  post these last night, when they were taken at the Culture House. But never quite got around to it. In fact, the participating faculty of the Aberdeen Department of Anthropology joined with me and Stephen Schott and his lovely wife Susan, for dinner after the Culture House. Nancy and I split Pad Thai and a hot and sour soup. We then walked over to the Götubarinn for a midnight drink

Cowhide wall at Götubarinn

Okay, back to the conference. Day Two. We’ve gone practically through all the presentations for our extraction working group panel, and are now discussing ways to keep up the momentum in the post conference period.

6/22: Later that evening— What a day! we heard so many Interesting discussions. And there are so many people from so many interesting places! Canada, US, Norway, Russia and so on and so forth, and of course, plenty of folks from here in Iceland. After all what was said and done, we, the social scientists, all headed down for some wine and tidbits at the Culture House in downtown Akureyri.

Ilana Alice & Willow Scobie

Amos Hayes

Joanna Macdonald & Danielle Johnston

I have to admit, there are quite a few folks working in the Arctic who are doing so many interesting things these days! Ilana Allice of the Labrador Institute and Lillow Scobie, Assistant Professor in Department of Sociology, University of Ottawa, are both working in Eastern Canadian Arctic, in Labrador, with different communities on youth related issues.

Danielle Johnston is actually a Canadian government Policy Advisor on Northern Policy and she was at the Culture House with Joanna Macdonald who’s an undergraduate student at Guelph University — which is where Stephen Schott took his PhD, so it must be a highly reputable institution, because Stephen, who I comment on below, is a real smarty pants.

Brenda & Matt

The Mosh


I had to laugh. Amos Hays, from Carleton University, scolded me for sneaking quietly into his session, as quietly as I could mind you, and then dipping out, before even listening to one speaker.

Of course, I was embarrassed and apologetic, in fact, I was attempting to find Grete Holsverud‘s panel, and so for this reason, I was seen several times, dipping in and out of rooms, because I did not have the correct room number.

Piano Forte


Husky et al.

It was good to see Matthew Berman, economist extraordinaire at ISER, Alaska’s policy institute at University of Alaska in Anchorage, having an engaging conversation with a one Brenda Parlee, of University of Alberta. My there are a lot of Canadians at this year’s ICASS! The mingling went on and on, and of course, everyone was happy to see each other after the three year respite.

Ah. There they are. Timothy Heleniak and Lee Husky, with whom I shared a beer in Keflavik, and then a splendid dinner. And that’s Maria Nakhshina, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology. And Maria by the way, is working on fishing communities in Murmansk, Russia. Well, that’s a coincidence, because as I mentioned, Murmansk is the very city that I’ve been doing fieldwork on my natural gas project, so we had a few insider stories to exchange.


Rasmus Bertelsen & Gunhild Hoogensen Gjorv

Yup, that’s her. Gunhild. Gunhild Hoogensen with a Gjorv added at the end her name these days. The political scientist at University of Tromsø, Norway was in attendance, and I was indeed happy to connect with her, since we have been putting together a Fulbright application for Tromsø which is due in just a few days. Gunhild was being thoroughly entertained by Rasmus Gjedsso Bertelesen, currently a Postdoctoral fellow at the United Nations University in Japan.

We all arrived to the event by bus. And you’ll never guess! That Nelson Graburn, my own advisor, the Anthropology of Tourism to the stars, has been trying to thwart the Photographist and International Traveler (that’s me)!

Nelson and Kathy Graburn

Read my palm!

Several times, in fact, he attempted to have my camera document his writing hand. This same hand by the way has been working 40 years on the type writer, so it was a good thing we were able to get a copy of the master craftsman. What we need is an anthropological boulevard for hand prints, just like the stars. Well of course, it’s going to take a lot more than a simple hand trick to stop us from getting our photo.

The man in the man

In the end, of course, Nelson relented and by the way, we could not help noticing that his lovely wife Kathy Graburn, was enjoying the entire evening.

The evening seemed to keep moving forward, long into the wee hours. But before we take you there, we should back up a bit more and complete the afternoon happenings toward the Culture house… Oh, let’s skip it. Let me just add a few notes here. The Akureyri Culture House deserves its own blog.

Culture House


Olga Murashko, Yulia Vasilieva, Victoria Petrasheva, David Koester, Florian Stammler, Anna Kerttula, Alona Yefimenko

Actually, the Akureyri Culture House resembles the Culture House located in Nuuk, Greenland, and a few other places across the Arctic. But that’s a description for another time.

Stephen Schott

Anna Kerttula

6/22Morning of Day One — Had breakfast with Stephen Schott, University of Carleton, with whom I co-organized a workshop in Arizona on energy issues. Joining us was Anna Kerttula, Program Officer for National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs. We’re headed up now to the university for the beginning of the conference.

Anna and I decided to walk up to the university, and of course, we got lost — practically falling into a water logged bog, looking for short cuts. But made it up in time to catch the end of the introduction and now we’re sitting in on the first plenary presentation by Gisli Palsson titled Homo Islandicus. Palsson is talking about the constitution of the modern day Icelander, presenting a combination of television video and media images.

Opening Ceremony

Gisli Palsson

Palsson’s talk is focusing on physical anthropology of the Arctic, the category of icelanders, and kinds of evidence. And the main story is that Icelanders are always in the process of becoming Icelanders, and that physical variation is evaluation.

Sounds pretty good so far. Tracing genealogies of “strong racism” — developing anthropology for export from Germany. Palsson, traces the Icelandic fascination with Icelanders, taking the story up to the “Business Vikings” and the meltdown genetics of the past decade.

Business Vikings

Mapping Ancestry

The genomics project in Iceland, analysis of DNA samples, and receiving information about traits, and various kinds of risks. And that he can connect his own ancestry across the globe, with the price of $800 and a blood sample. Talking about the making of history, and that previously, only bones could make history, and now only DNA makes history, and that all this memory is stored actually in the body, physical, and the corporeal.

Alex King looking dashing

Svetlana Usenyuk

Florian Stammler

Lunch time.


There are so many folks here, hundreds in fact. Alexander King, Department of Anthropology at University of Aberdeen, the ever creative Svetlana Usenyuk from Yekaterinburg, Florian Stammler, who is chairing the panel I’m on tomorrow, and is a professor in Finland.

More of Emma and Jessica

Gail Fondahl

Emma Wilson, who is from London, holding the position of Energy Team Leader for International Institute for Environment, and Jessica Shadian, from Norway, Bodø graduate school, will be also on our panel tomorrow

Gail Fondahl, professor in British Columbia. Both Gail and Jessica are both proposing that they host the next ICASS, and their proposals look wonderful! We wish them the very best, and perhaps, the runner up can host the following event.

Ann Feinup-Riordan

More Ann

Well.  I was able to pigeon hole Ann Feinup-Riordan, for a more thorough discussion on my idea of “Eskimo Science”. In fact, we brainstormed over lunch. She loved my idea, and we were able to create categories of how to move forward on an article. Eskimo – as a term that was a Unifier, has unceremoniously been discarded in science. So, the question we went through, was, who are the taste makers (terminology police), typically journal editors, who are the Rule breakers, how is non-american science still using Eskimo, who are the Practitioners and Unaware Practitioners, and the Eskimo Scientists pure and simple. That was actually VERY helpful, thanks Ann- for more “Eskimo Science”, see the post below.

Jessica Conceives

Side view

Gisli Palsson

Oh My Lord! Jessica Shadian is Pregnant!

In honor of Gisli Palsson‘s talk, we decided to take a side photo of Jessica, in the same manner that science documents these kinds of developments, in order to get the full event.

Okay, what else.

Wow! Svetlana Usenyuk, the design master, who teaches at the Arctic Design School, put together a video called Arctic Transport, and showed clips of transportation in the Russian Arctic. Such crazy ways to travel in mid-winter. Motorized vehicles that the American eye has never before seen, like small bugs zoomed up in 100 magnification. Talking about designing ideal arctic transport, because that is the most vulnerable point of arctic living. It almost makes me want me to change my research. On second thought, I’m glad that she’s doing it and not me, so I can watch the video instead of actually doing the work.

Coffee Break

Gordon Pullar

Okay, another coffee break with people munching, and oh my, look, there’s Gordon Pullar, Alutiiq Native scholar and anthropologist, who just received tenure at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Congratulations Gordon!

So now, where am I going? Well, I just bumped into Peter Schweitzer, and he is the United States member of IASC the social component of IASC at any rate. IASC stands for International Arctic Science Committee.

Well, that sounds interesting. Let’s take a closer look! Peter is right now introducing the working group, and actually there are a number of members from other countries in the room. He’s now talking about the scientific scope, that it concerns cross cutting ties, and that the geographic scope is important in defining our goals.

Peter Schweitzer and Arja Rautio close up

Peter Schweitzer and Arja Rautio from afar

But this geographical definition can be extended south, depending on the actual research. That’s cool. That includes me, because I’m always working around the globe.

Arja Rautio, who is from Finland, University of Oulu, was in the room, and I had a chance to mention that Mark Nuttall, University of Alberta anthropologist, who could not be with us here in Akureyri, has been saying some wonderful things about his joint appointment at Oulu. Pretty heavy thoughtful conversation going on at the moment. Of course, I added my two cents. Who knows what I said. I just have say something. Making my little comments.

They’re talking, now about a new conference in Krakow, Poland. !Wow! now that just caught my attention. I’ve never been to Poland!!

Okay, back to heavy conversation. There’s a certain deep-in-thought aesthetic, which often includes putting two fingers on your cheek, which helps in contemplation. Maybe crossing the other arm to support the hand that is lying on the face is helpful. All of these things are helpful to think with.

6/21: There is a new piano bar and night club in Akureyri called Götubarinn. It is operated by Sigmundur Einarsson. It opened just this past several weeks ago.

Guðrún Svana

Piano Bar


It is quite sparkling, much like all the buildings, streets, nature and people here in Iceland. Guðrún Svana Hilmarsdóttir, the very capable bartender, who after witnessing several failed attempts on my part at pronunciation, finally wrote the name of the bar down on a piece of paper, so I would not forget. On weeknights, it’s open until 1AM and on weekends it’s open until 4AM. It’s Tuesday evening.

As you can imagine, the sun never sets in Akureyri during mid-summer, and as a result, it’s pretty bright all throughout the evening. We arrived, were able to drop our things off and I decided to go for a quick look-see about the city. Many of the buildings are colored in bright startling shades.

There are a lot of coffee shops, tons of restaurants and many artist craft shops in Akureyri. Some of the crafts that are created locally actually appear as appliances in other stores indicating that not all things here for sale are produced for tourism. Although it does seem, as Iceland’s largest northern town, that there is a lot of tourism in the area.

arts and crafts

wool globes

wool lamp globes

The bus route was fabulous. I sat with David Koester, the latter, an anthropology professor at University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

At the bus rest, David and I joined in lunch with Igor Krupnik, who works at the Smithsonian, and Peter Schweitzer, also an anthropology professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Actually, we bumped into Nelson and Kathy Graburn, at lunch, who were traveling on an earlier bus, and so were just leaving as we passed.

Spectacular views from the bus, though I can’t say that these images from the window do justice to what we saw en route to Akureyri. Nevertheless, I went ahead and took a few photos.

Earlier that same day: Heading up to Akureyri. Stayed in Keflavik at B & B, and bumped into Lee Husky, economist at University of Alaska, and Timothy Heleniak, Dept. of Geography, University of Maryland. Our conversation was dominated mostly by who would be sponsoring the next ICASS meeting — a toss up among three candidates, Chris Southcott, Chair, Yukon College, in Canada, Gail Fondahl, University of Northern British Colombia, also in Canada, and Jessica M. Shadian, Bodø Graduate School for Business in Norway. I was a bit exhausted, with probably three hours sleep over the past few days.

Parting shots


6/20: A little sleep deprived, but otherwise alert. Writing inside the terminal, putting down a few ideas before the erosion of my memory of having just attended the Economic Forum sets in.

The Forum this year surprised me.  Clearly, I am going to have to spend more time in Russia, just hanging out and meeting with folks in St. Petersburg and Moscow. I was quite surprised by the relationship between journalists and the business community, which I did not notice in quite such dramatic detail at the last Forum. Although, I did sense that in Moscow at the Petroleum and Gas Congress, journalists dominated the question and answer periods, even at technical panels. At any rate, I will develop a closer contact with them.

Rainy and at night

Petersburg 4AM

6/19: Last evening in St. Petersburg, Russia, before heading out to Iceland. It is typical that people stay out until the wee hours here in summer.

I came back to the hotel late enough to see a bit of darkness, and got a sense of what it must be like here during winter. Foreboding, that is how it appears to me. Earlier, we headed over to Na Rechke, a restaurant located on Krestovskii Island. The salad was up to Berkeley standards.

Alexandra Boutivkin, who is something of a mid-night to 4AM guide for me here in St. Pete’s, invited me for a few drinks before my plane heads out. Alexa, a civil lawyer, strikes me as typical of the new intellectual professionals in St. Petersburg — smart, well educated, following in the footsteps of her family members. Her sister is an engineer, her father an architect and her mother a lawyer.

Berkeley-type salad

Na Rechke

Alexa Boutivkin

There are a number of islands around St. Petersburg. Some restaurants and homes are located on the canals and waterways that separate the islands. Na Rechke means on the little river, and in fact, you can get there by boat, although we got there by car.

Jessica Shadian in Nuuk, Greenland, attending the ICASS 6

Florian Stammler in Helsinki, Finland Aleksanteri Conference

Heading to Iceland Symposium: Consultation in Arctic Extractive Industries Development.

A panel organized by Florian Stammler, Professor at Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland, and Jessica Shadian, Senior Researcher, Bodø Graduate School of Business, Norway.

Jessica was on a panel co-organized with Mark Nuttall (U. Alberta) and I, in Nuuk, Greenland, at the 6th ICASS. Then, about 12 arctic social scientists established an extractive resources working group. Last fall, Florian invited us to Helsinki, Finland, for the Aleksanteri Conference.

The ICASS conference takes place every three years. Attendees are social scientists working in the Arctic. The last gathering took place in Nuuk, Greenland, where in attendance was Nelson Graburn.

Paparazzi Ethnographer Arthur Mason, Nelson Graburn with Greenlanders Inga Hansen and Pia Larsen

reacting to photos

reacting to photos

Nelson is an amazing guy: witty, generous, productive, curious. Great advisor. He is flying to Iceland so we expect more good times. I will provide coverage of the event, which falls on the heels of the St. Petersburg Forum.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: