The north2north grant has allowed me to undertake two field trips one to the Faroe Islands and another to British Colombia in Canada. Working with other Thematic Network members have enabled me to develop new projects and generate ideas through very fruitful discussions at various locations in the Arctic. The visit to the Faroe Islands is an excellent example of how north2north funding, in combination with past debates within the network has led to concrete research proposals.
During the week of fieldwork, Árni Jóhan Petersen from the University of the Faroe Islands and I conducted interviews and field observation of Faroese businesses within the oil exploration supply chain. This proposal aims to investigate how the effect of resource-seeking multinational enterprises (MNEs) exploring opportunities in the Arctic made it possible for local Faroese companies to creating a viable offshore support industry beyond the initial exploration activities in Faroese waters. With outset in the Faroese Islands, the project explores how small Arctic nations can gain competitive advantages and maximise the socioeconomic development potential through the creation of linkages between resource-seeking MNEs need for specialised capabilities and the emergence of highly skilled local industries.
Without the funding and subsequent discussions in the Thematic Network, I believe that we would properly not have been able to create the project proposal. We hope that our research proposal will be accepted within the next couple of months and work can begin in January 2019.
Salmon Cannery near Port Edward, BC, Canada
The Thematic Network meeting in British Colombia was a memorable experience, not only due to the beautiful surroundings but also because it made it possible to gather engaged scholars from most of the Arctic to one place. During the week, Poul Bowels at the University of Northern British Colombia (UNBC) was our host and connected us to local communities, businesses and civil society organisation engaged in how the extraction of natural resources in different ways changed how people live in the district. While the focus of the trip was on the Thematic Network meeting and taking decisions on which direction the network was going to develop, there were many opportunities to network and generate new research ideas.
In conclusion, I would like to extend my thanks to the north2north for making these essential fieldwork trips possible. Doing cross-disciplinary work, especially within social science, focused on the Arctic is difficult and requires support from both home institutions as well as funding opportunities that enable researchers to meet, discuss and generate ideas for collaboration on both research and education.