Windows to the past and future

“Ruins challenge us to make sense of them, as they frame emptiness and dramatize the evanescence of meaning…we need to make them speak and militate for our theories”  Schönle, A. (2006 p. 652) Whilst the fascination with ruins in academia and beyond can be questioned for it’s potential for nostalgic views on troubled pasts through… Read More

29th June- 2nd July: Times of change in Barentsburg

I’ve been following the dicussions in the local paper on the changes to the built environment in Barentsburg over the last few months. Having seen the stark contrasts between old and new last year, I could see where these debates were coming from and where the concerns and different view points on cultural heritage value,… Read More

14-16th June – Photography in Pyramiden

  ‘Pyramiden has captured a part of my heart – so many secrets, stories, such beauty… Diolch yn fawr!’ Samantha Saville, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK.   The guest book at The Tulip Hotel, Pyramiden, in which I attempted to sum up the impossible, has entries from 1987 up to 2000 (I guess some tourists found it… Read More

10th June – Gratulerer med dagen Longyearbyen!

Happy Birthday Longyearbyen, 108 today! Today is Longyearbyen Day, which has been celebrated since it’s centenary in 2006. To mark the day there were a few historical things going on, which I attempted to join in with. Longyearbyen has certainly seen a lot of changes in it’s relatively short lifetime (a quick version from the… Read More

23rd May – Sensing value?

Quite a bit of the week’s discussions have been around cultural heritage, how that is defined, protected and managed in Svalbard. Time with my trusty field assistant is running out, so we went on an excursion to go and experience some local cultural heritage…or did we? Gruve (mine) 5 was built from 1957 and extracted… Read More

Sustainable mining in the Arctic? 

I might be in danger of sounding like a broken record, but last month I returned from another great conference and am struck again by the importance of getting out there and presenting my research, but for different reasons. This time, I headed to the very North of Norway for the Barent’s Institute’s “Mining the… Read More

Persistent Memories of Pyramiden: book and field review

Right at the beginning of this blog I mentioned reviewing the book Persistent Memories: Pyramiden – a Soviet mining town in the High Arctic, by Hein Bjerk, Bjornar Olsen and Elin Andreassen, (2010). Now I have visited Pyramiden myself, I feel in a stronger position to say something about its subject matter as well as… Read More

History, Memory and Green Imaginaries Symposium reflections

 Just before attending this event [1] I remember questioning why I was going. Sure it sounded interesting, but I had umpteen assignments, marking, supervisions, all sorts that were looming, should I really be going to a conference that I’m not presenting at? Well, I’m really glad I did, it was an inspiring day full of… Read More