Research in Arctic and Sub-Arctic environments presents unique challenges and obstacles, in particular, establishing a necessary baseline understanding of environmental systems in the face of ongoing climate change. Pairing scientific and traditional knowledge approaches can help to close this gap, however creating a bridge between non-local, non-indigenous research scientists and traditional knowledge holders in northern communities can be challenging. For example, most researchers are likely less familiar with local norms, customs, as well as with social systems and protocols, leading to inevitable challenges for the scientists and communities.
In a cross-cutting initiative for the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), Fellows of different the Terrestrial, Cryosphere and Marine Working Groups organized a workshop session on “Community-based Research: Do`s and Don`ts of Arctic Research” during the Young Researchers Workshop at the 11th International Conference on Permafrost in Potsdam, Germany, June 2016. This workshop brought together Early Career Scientists (ECS, including engineers) with resident Arctic representatives and experts to discuss best practices in the exchange of traditional and modern knowledge when conducting research in northern communities.
After a short presentation by the panelists, ECSs with invited experts split into small groups with an IASC Fellow as moderator. The break-out groups discussed their experiences and raised questions for the invited experts. These discussions generated a list of “do’s and don’ts” from each group, which were presented and discussed with the larger audiences.
The format and organization of the workshop allowed an interactive and fruitful discussion, generating a diverse list of Arctic Research considerations and best practices. Key ideas from the workshop discussions are visualized in the word cloud figure. Recommendations from this workshop included enhancing future support opportunities, like the IASC cross-cutting initiative, to facilitate continued discussions between scientists and northern representatives to maximize the benefits of pairing traditional and modern knowledge to face future challenges.
EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut