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National Science Foundation, American Geophysical Union, UVA Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation, UVA Institute of the Humanities & Global Culture


Matthew Burtner, Shea Chaired Professor of Music; Leena Cho, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture; Howard Epstein, Chair and Professor of Environmental Science; Claire Griffin, Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Science; Matthew Jull, Associate Professor of Architecture

Event description

The Arctic is characterized by extremes of environment that have led to the development of a wide range of unique ecosystems, cultures, and settlements. Northern high-latitude ecosystems are presently some of the most dynamic systems on Earth, owing to anthropogenic climate change, human land use practices, and utilization of marine environments. Even as tundra, taiga, and marine ecosystems respond to these changes, the human presence in the Arctic is likely to grow, as it is home to major fisheries, indigenous communities, industrial cities, scientific enterprises, military installations, and some of the most extensive resource extraction operations on the planet.

Although active research continues on environmental, infrastructure, and cultural aspects of the Arctic, few efforts have been made to address how these different aspects coalesce, and how knowledge that bridges disciplines may be necessary for Arctic systems to be resilient and adapt to change. The Bridging Science, Art, and Community in the New Arctic will bring together researchers, students, community representatives, and policymakers from Alaska to facilitate knowledge exchange and catalyze a common interest in the future of the Arctic, in a setting that emphasizes creative collaborations and co-production of knowledge among scientists, designers, artists, and residents.


This three-day event starts with a Symposium on 9/23 with invited speakers presenting their recent Arctic research, thematically organized into three sessions: “Land, Coasts, and Ocean,” “Infrastructure,” and “Community.”

On 9/24, four themes (Land, Coasts/Ocean, Infrastructure, and Community) will be revisited in the format of interactive panel discussions, with each session topic facilitating exchange between Arctic scholars and stakeholders.  There will also be a lunchtime poster session.

On 9/25, there will be an eco-acoustics workshop.  A final synthesis discussion will seek to develop a set of guidelines for community-oriented research, and identify new forms of multidisciplinary collaborations in the Arctic. The presentations and discussions will be complemented in the evenings of 9/23 and 9/24 with an eco-acoustics performance, and an art exhibition and reception, respectively.


Participants in the Symposium and Workshop will come away with a broader understanding of relationships between the natural and built environments in the Arctic as experienced from multiple disciplinary and cultural perspectives, as well as new tool sets for communication among disciplines, communities, and stakeholders. The discussions and anticipated guidelines for community-driven research developed during the workshop will be formalized into an Action Plan, with guidance from interested participants. This set of guidelines will be available online, and it is anticipated these will form the basis for publication, potentially in EOS: Earth and Space Science News.