“A Southern Perspective on the North”
“With the Head up North”

10.-13.November, Vienna, Austria

Abstract submission deadline 1.8.2015

The 1st Central European Polar Meeting will be held in November 2015 in Vienna. This meeting is a memorial to the Austrian polar explorer and scientist Julius Payer (1841-1915), to commemorate his achievements for the international polar sciences. It is jointly organized by the Committee on Polar Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Centre for Polar Ecology, Czech Republic, and the Austrian Polar Research Institute, in cooperation with the National Committee for Global Change of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The 1st Central European Polar Meeting will bring together polar researchers including distinguished scientists and the next generation of polar researchers, from Central European countries and around the globe. This meeting is one of the first international activities of the newly established Central European Polar Partnership, which aims at increasing the visibility and coordinating polar research in and among the participating countries.

Conference-Poster [pdf]

Info: http://www.polarresearch.at/conference/

AURA/AURORA Intervention & Round Table discussion on Art & Science collaboration

22.05.2015, 19h

Durchhaus Art Space, Werdertorgasse 17, 1010 Vienna

A Polar evening with a panel discussion on the magnificent Aurora Borealis in science & art and a review of Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship 2013-2015. Hosted by A.A.S., the Canadian Embassy and other Arctic related partners.

Detailled invitation: Aurora Event 22052015_invitation [pdf]

The breath-taking Polar lights – Aurora – fascinate, scare and raise questions about the unknown. Therefore, they are matters of inquires in natural sciences as well as in the humanities and social sciences. At the same time they inspire societies in creating collective myths, stories and agency. Not least, they inspire artists to reflect, interpret and intervene with this spectacle. This event unravels and contests perceptions of the Aurora phenomena among artists and scientists.

Aura/Aurora (Bettina Schülke [AT/FI)] and Nina Czegledy [CAN/HU])

This is the most recent phase of the ongoing art & science project presenting an interactive interpretation of the Polar Lights – Aurora Borealis and Australis, the magnificent and dynamic spectacle that has retained a near-mythical status in circumpolar cultures over millennia. The dazzling geo-physical phenomenon, typically observed in the Circumpolar Regions is not only a brilliant spectacle but it also makes visible the invisible world of electromagnetic activities.

Art & Science

The collaboration between art & science has the potential to create new knowledge, ideas and processes. New ways of seeing, experiencing and interpreting can lead to benefits in both fields. This round-table discussion aims to explore trans-disciplinary collaborations within the creative process of art, science and technology in the context of the Polar Lights.


Dr. Gerti Saxinger (Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology & Austrian Polar Research Institute APRI),

Doris Kaltenbacher (Durchhaus Art Space):

Introduction by the hosts Mark Bailey, Ambassador of Canada to Austria: “The Arctic, its economic and social development: Looking back on Canada’s achievements for the People of the North during its Arctic Council chairmanship 2013-2015”

Canadian Arctic images
Panel Discussion: Aura/Aurora – a science and arts perspective

Food and Wine Reception

Registration (organisational reasons only):


Bettina Schülke, Artist, PhD Cand., University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design

Nina Czegledy, Artist, Curator, Senior Fellow University of Toronto, Concordia University Montreal, Hungarian University of Fine Arts.

Dr. Stefan Donecker, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Medieval Research.

Dr. Margarete Jahrmann, Artist, Curator, Dozentin for Game-Design, ZHdK Zürich, University of Fine Arts Vienna.

Dr. Werner Gruber, Lecturer, Institute for Experimental Physics, University of Vienna and Director of the Planetarium Vienna, Science Busters.

Chair: Dr. Verena Traeger, Curator, Institute for Social- and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna & Spokesperson of the “Working Group Circumpolar Regions and Siberia” at the German Association of Anthropologists

Collaborating partners

Embassy of Canada in Austria

Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Uni Vienna

ZKS: Centre for Canadian Studies, Uni Vienna

Durchhaus Art Space

APRI: Austrian Polar Research Institute

AAS: Working Group Arctic and Subarctic

Working Group for Circumpolar & Siberian Regions at German Association of Anthropologists (DGV)

AAS hosted a session at the 10th Anthropology Days on 23rd of April 2015. This time the focus was on Arctic Extractive Industries – community (Susanna Gartler) and political implications (Miguel Roncero as well as Felix Jaitner). Furthermore, we had a look into the Arctic mining discourse of the 16th century by Stefan Donecker.
All presentations as download:

Susanna Gartler: Hunters, Gatherers and Mining Companies: Aboriginal-Business Relations in the Case of First Nation Miners in the Yukon Territory [pdf]

Miguel Roncero: Arctic Resources: Development for Whom? An analysis of Artic policies and strategies from a resource‐fairness approach [pdf]

Stefan Donecker: Resource Extraction in the North: A Political Issue in the 16th century [pdf]

Felix Jaitner: Resource Dependency – Russia beyond a Resource curse? [pdf]

Invitation to APECS Austria Kick-off evening & APECS Austria Photo and Poster exhibition “Fieldwork in the Arctic and Subarctic”

Monday April, 28th 7 p.m.

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
NIG – Neues Institutsgebäude, 4th floor
Universitätsstr. 7
1010 Vienna

Opening talks:
Univ. Prof. Dr. Peter Schweitzer
(Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Univ. of Vienna, Austrian Polar Research Institute)

Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter
(Department of Department of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research, Univ. of Vienna, Austrian Polar Research Institute)

Mag. Sigrid Schiesser
(Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Univ. of Vienna, APECS Austria)

On April 28th, we celebrate the foundation of APECS Austria, which is part of the international and interdisciplinary Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS). APECS provides a platform for interdisciplinary networking and exchange of researchers working in Arctic and Subarctic regions.

The photo and poster exhibition “Fieldwork in the Arctic and Subarctic” shows the diversity of Arctic and Subarctic environments, and gives insights into daily lives of residents and researchers. The photographs of the exhibition illustrate the context of research in Polar regions beyond conventional formats of texts, tables and numbers.

The exhibition will be open on workdays from April 28th until May 16th.
We are looking forward to meeting you, APECS Austria

APECS Invitation [pdf]

Call for Papers: Labour Mobility and Community Sustainability – The Impact of Extractive Industries in the Arctic

ICASS VIII, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
May 22 – 26, 2014

Mining operations and oil and gas projects in the Arctic and Sub-arctic usually take place in remote areas or offshore and primarily in distance from larger urban agglomerations. This remoteness leads to the need for a highly flexible workforce in terms of spatial as well as temporal mobility. This session brings together issues of labour mobility and community sustainability and welcomes papers touching on the following topics: 1, sketch of life-plans as well as coping with challenges and positive effects related to mobility on part of individuals; 2, changes in the community fabrics and in the ways such communities cope with the impact of labour mobility; 3, effects of industry-related in-migration to regional centers; 4, interactions of inter-regional FIFO workers with the local communities and with the environment; 5, the politics surrounding labour mobility, as well as the policies of various levels of government and of companies in relation to labour mobility; 6, the politics and economics of transportation infrastructure. The panel is fully open to the broad range of related topics raised by scholars and practitioners. In epistemological terms we aim to explore the notions of community development, hierarchies and inequality, ethical challenges and, mobility in general etc.

Session Convenors:
Gerti Eilmsteiner-Saxinger
Remy Rouillard
Contact: rr455@cam.ac.uk

Please submit your paper proposals using the ICASS VIII submission form (http://resweb.res.unbc.ca/icass2014/ICASSVIII_Abstract_submittal_form_pdf_final.pdf) and indicate that you intend to contribute to the session on “Facing the Monstrous North”. Completed forms should be sent to IASSA Secretary, Cher Mazo (mazo@unbc.ca). The deadline for application is December 17, 2013.

You can find additional information on ICASS VIII at the conference website http://resweb.res.unbc.ca/icass2014/index.htm. Students, early career researchers, indigenous participants, and participants from Russia and other countries who have limited means to attend may apply for travel funding. Please refer to the conference website for details.

The Embassy of Canada in Austria, in cooperation with the University of
Vienna and a number of other renowned partners, is pleased to announce

“Arctic Evening”

Thursday, December 5, 2013, 18:45Uhr
Institut für Geographie und Regionalforschung (NIG)
1010 Wien, Universitätsstr. 7/ 4.Stock: Hörsaal 4C (Trakt C/Raum C409)

Welcome words by the Embassy of Canada

Short presentation (in English) of the book “Wege zum Norden. Wiener Forschungen zu Arktis und Subarktis”, published recently by A.A.S. (Working Group Arctic and Subarctic) with discussion

Presentation by Prof Dr. Whitney LACKENBAUER (University of Waterloo/St. Jerome’s University) on followed by a discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Peter SCHWEITZER (University of Vienna, Austrian Polar Research Institute & Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology)

After the discussion you are kindly invited to refreshments. Please register at vienn.events@international.gc.ca or by phone +43 (1) 531 38-3284

Live discussion with Stefan Donecker and Gertrude
Eilmsteiner-Saxinger on the Austrian radio station OE1

Aug 7th, 2013, Oe1: 14.05

Our AAS members Stefan Donecker (historian) and Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger (social anthropologist) were invited to discuss on air with Johann Kneihs: From Austrian polar exhibitions in the 19th century to contemporary researches in the Arctic. They talked about various myths about the North and the Northeners, and discussed urgent issues concerning climate change, indigenous people and current issues on exploiting natural resources.

Link to the broadcast:

Request the full recording:

International conference: Contemporary issues in long-distance commute work in the extractive industries and other sectors

July 8-10th, 2013, Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Treitlstraße 2, 1040 Vienna

Our AAS members Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger, Elena Nuikina, and Elisabeth Öfner were organizing this international conference and presented their papers. The Arctic- and Subarctic working group is a co-organizer of this symposium.

Тhe symposium

Long-distance commute (LDC) work and fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) operations are types of mobile work arrangements where workers are resident at one location, but for varying periods of time live and work at another, commuting between the two on a periodic basis. Typically the workplace is at some distance from the normal place of residence, isolated from other communities such that accommodations and other services have to be supplied by the resource or project developer. This type of work arrangement has become increasingly relevant for the extractive industries as well as in construction, technology, administration and service sectors worldwide. This is especially the case in remote regions such as the Sub-Arctic as well as in regions where a qualified labour force is not available. Though these work arrangements date back to the early days of offshore oil exploration and to the 1970s in the mining sector, however studies on many aspects of LDC in different contexts are still often at an exploratory stage.

Contemporary research primarily refers to community and regional development implications of LDC and to a lesser extent research on impacts on LDC workers and their families. The LDC workers, their mobile life-style and the conditions of long-distance commuting in the variety of industries and sectors where it is used has so far still only received limited attention. LDC is not a homogenous organisation of mobile labour, and as such involves a wide variety of forms and settings.

This symposium strives to shed light on contemporary scientific discussions, theory and methodology in the study of LDC labour matters, as well as to applied studies and entrepreneurial practice related to mobile labour organization. In particular, contributions will examine the complexity of modes and impacts of LDC and the responses of the workers themselves to this method of organising a labour force. The organisers welcome contributions from those in private sector, government, academic and other groups with interests in any of the sectors that utilize this form of work organization or with interests in this type of work organization from a variety of perspectives from theory to practice, policy making to regulation, assessment to management, etc. Conference languages will be English and Russian (translations provided).

Read more about the conference:

Organized by: FWF Project „Lives on the Move”
Institute for Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna
Institute for Urban Studies and Regional Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
A.A.S. Working Group Arctic and Subarctic

Foundation of the Austrian Polar Research Institute: Presentation of the Institute

April 8th, 2013; University of Vienna

The Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI) is a research consortium that promotes and coordinates research and education in the area of polar sciences at the participating organisations. The APRI is interdisciplinary and involves about 50 scientists in 14 research groups. There is a public presentation of the institute on April 8th, at the University of Vienna’s main public lecture hall.

Our AAS members Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger and Peter Schweitzer are leading a research group in the section „social and cultural systems“. Former focuses on the extractive industry, mobility of labour force and the interaction with the local community. Latter does research on social aspects of climate change and globalization especially in Siberia and Alaska. Elena Nuykina and Elisabeth Öfner, AAS members as well are part of a research group.

Link: http://www.polarresearch.at/

The trial of ‘Alten Thiess’, 1692/93. A werewolf conception of life.

A lecture by Dr. Stefan Donecker

March 28th, 2012, 6:30 pm

University of Vienna’s main building, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1, 1010 Wien lecture room 45

Im Jahr 1691 stand ein rund 85jähriger lettischer Bauer, der “Alte Thiess”, in Jürgensburg – dem heutigen Zaube in Lettland – als vermeintlicher Hexer und Werwolf vor Gericht. Der betagte Angeklagte verblüffte die Richter mit einem bereitwilligen Geständnis: Er war ein Werwolf, und er war äußerst stolz darauf – denn die Werwölfe, so Thiess, seien Diener Gottes und würden in aufopferungsvollen Kämpfen die Fruchtbarkeit des Landes gegen den Teufel und sein Gefolge verteidigen.

Stefan Donecker, historian and AAS member gives a lecture about a trial of a werewolf in 1692. The fascinating documents give insights into northern Europeans society at the end of 17th century, especially on the social construction of body, gender and ethnicity.

Im Zuge des Vortrages soll diese Vorstellung eines gesellschaftsdienlichen Werwolfs, die mit der gelehrten Dämonologie des 17. Jahrhunderts völlig unvereinbar war, untersucht werden. Der Prozess des “Alten Thiess” ist eine faszinierende Quelle – nicht nur wegen der markanten Persönlichkeit des sturen, unbequemen und dabei irgendwie liebeswerten Angeklagten, sondern auch aufgrund der einzigartigen Einblicke in die soziale Konstruktion von Körper, Geschlecht und Ethnizität in einer bäuerlichen Lebenswelt an der äußersten Peripherie Europas. Am Beispiel dieses historischen Dokuments möchte ich verdeutlichen, wie Impulse aus dem frühneuzeitlichen Nordosteuropa in die Lehre am Institut für Geschichte eingebracht werden könnten.