This project will provide support to primarily Arctic indigenous scholars and students to participate in the Seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VII) to be held June 22-27, 2011 at the Stefansson Institute in Akureyri, Iceland. The ICASS is a major international conference, administered by the International Arctic Social Scientists Association (IASSA) and meeting every three years to bring together international arctic social scientists, scientists from other fields, indigenous scholars and community members, and students for 5 days. The meeting provides a venue where these groups can discuss their research findings, update on the progress of IPY research in the social and human disciplines, and create new opportunities for collaborations between scientific disciplines and with northern communities for future research. The main theme of the VII Congress is "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences beyond the International Polar Year" and will build on the success of the ICASS VI held in 2008 in Nuuk, Greeland, which featured 300 participants from 17 countries involved in IPY-funded social science research.

Project Report

The Seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences Congress (ICASS VII) was held in Akureyri, Iceland, June 22-26, 2011. 450 Arctic social scientists from more than thirty countries met to discuss the results of their research under the overarching theme "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences beyond the International Polar Year". ICASS VII was the largest gathering of Arctic social scientists to date and a tremendous success in terms of content and organization. The intellectual merit of the project was to present and discuss research results on peoples, societies, and cultures in the Arctic regions, including research produced during the recently completed Fourth International Polar Year (IPY). The organizers received more than 550 abstracts from the Arctic social science community for sixty different sessions and ten different main themes – including climate change, living conditions in the Arctic, industrial development, literature, language, culture, media, health, Arctic governance, international relations and geopolitics, etc. The inclusion of interdisciplinary perspectives, reaching toward the natural sciences, was another focus of the congress. Broader impacts of the project included meetings between scientists and representatives of indigenous peoples in the Arctic, politicians, civil servants, industry and leaders of international organizations. In addition, one of the NSF-supported participants produced six short videos that were used to disseminate the work of Arctic social scientists beyond academic circles. Partial support by NSF directly enabled the participation of twenty-seven Arctic social scientists, most of whom were early career scientists and/or indigenous scholars. The recipients of NSF travel support all contributed actively to the congress and their participation made a significant contribution in the sessions they participated in, chaired, or made oral (and/or poster) presentations. NSF support thus provided an opportunity for new voices to be heard in this largest and most important gathering of Arctic social scientists, which happens only once in three years.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Polar Programs (PLR)
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Erica L. Key
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University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
United States
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