Calotte Academy from a participant’s perspective

I can call myself as an alumnus of two Calotte Academies (years 2017 and 2021), and it is extremely interesting to find out how I grew over these four years in my Arctic studies and research.

In 2017, I applied to the Calotte Academy as a first-year PhD student with a topic dedicated to Arctic offshore oil and gas development and energy security issues. When I received the acceptance letter in spring, I was a visiting scholar at Umeå University in northern Sweden. During my trip by train, car and bus Umeå – Luleå – Haparanda/Tornio – Kemi – Rovaniemi, I recognized a lot of remarkable issues about the connections between different “Arctics” which helped me later to understand my own research questions. The Calotte Academy 2017 was arranged in June in Finnish Lapland, in the north-eastern corner of Norway, in the western corner of the Russian Arctic, and in northern Sweden. Thanks to this experience with the Calotte Academy, I realized another important thing: if you want to know about the Arctic, first – REACH the Arctic!

We started in Inari, the Finnish Sámi capital, and then traveled onwards to the Norwegian border town Kirkenes, and further to Murmansk and Apatity on Kola Peninsula in Russia. Finally, back to Rovaniemi, and from there a smaller group of participants including myself continued to Umeå, where three sessions of the IX International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) were convened under the umbrella of the Calotte Academy 2017. Among other things during the travelling symposium, I loved the implementation of interplay between senior researchers and young scholars. The Calotte Academy is a great platform for discussing Arctic science and Arctic politics simultaneously, where professors and early-career researchers have equal time for presentations. There are no one-hour lectures, just discussion! The effectiveness and outcomes of such communication lead to deeper immersion in the subject, as well as great networking. It has really helped me in my subsequent scientific approach to the other conferences and workshops.

In 2021, I again joined the Calotte Academy but digitally and already with some of my research results. I presented the highlights from my latest published article in the Arctic Yearbook 2021. And I was so happy to see on the screen the Calotte Academy Steering Group led by Professor Lassi Heininen. It took me back to my first year of graduate school, when I had so many questions and so few answers, and to how I found those answers and was able to incorporate them in my recent article. And, as always, the Calotte Academy allowed me to participate in an excellent discussion about the Arctic, including many old and new issues, issues that you should always talk about whether online or offline.

By Luiza Brodt, Stanford US-Russia Forum Fellow (Arctic Policy working group), Senior Lecturer, Novosibirsk University.

[Originally published in the UArctic Shared Voices Magazine 2022. Read all articles here]