News Release

Centre for Arctic Humanities opened in Tromsø, Norway

The Centre for Arctic Humanities (ArcHum) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway aims to strengthen and develop humanities research, cooperation and creativity

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UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of UiT, speaks.


– Who else is better situated to push for humanistic perspectives in the Arctic than UiT? asks Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of UiT.

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Credit: Kjetil Rydland / UiT

 – ArcHum will help us understand the big societal challenges we are facing, in an Arctic context. UiT The Arctic University of Norway aims to be in a leading position for humanities in and about the North, and we’ll do that with coordinating all our excellent people and units, said Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of UiT during the official opening ceremony on December 6th 2023 at Árdna, one of UiT’s Sami cultural buildings.

– Who else is better situated to push for humanistic perspectives in the Arctic? Our expertise on language, culture, humans, and societies, is essential to build sustainable communities for the future, the Rector added.

The ArcHum centre will coordinate the various humanities environments across UiT, enhance their visibility, enable networking and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration. 
Professor Ann-Therese Lotherington is a member of the elder council. She emphasized that the humanities are needed to understand past, present, and future.

– Humans are of course immensely important in that context, but equally important are the relations between humans and nature, she said.

A highlight of the official opening of the centre was inspiring and moving joik (traditional Sami song and storytelling) from the renowned Niko Valkeapää. He joiked about the wolf, because, as he said it, “the centre and research must be as tough and persistent as the wolf”.

ArcHum is coordinated by Associate Professor Lilli Mittner, who has extensive experience in the humanities, interdisciplinary work and co-creative processes. Her main goal is to facilitate a boost for humanities research on and from the Arctic:

– This centre is an entirely novel way to organize interdisciplinary academic work that does not exist yet at UiT. It builds on collaboration, creativity and curiosity and it is supposed to enhance, multiply and inspire ongoing practices and research projects.

Anne-Britt Flemmen is the dean of Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education at UiT. She said ArcHum and humanities in general will need to link up with the natural sciences to bolster innovation and progress.

Fern Wilson from the Arctic Sustainability Lab at UiT, made the point that the human experience and wellbeing is a blind spot in Arctic research:

– We need the humanities to get ourselves out of this mess we’ve created for ourselves and the entire planet, she said.

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