Yesterday, I found the perfect opportunity to do so too - I was lucky enough to visit the BAS (British Antarctic Survey). The fact that it was hosting an interdisciplinary, social science focussed workshop on ’The Future of Polar Governance: Knowledge, Laws, Regimes and Resources’ is in itself reason to celebrate. I think collectively we put on a good show too. There is a lot of ground for further discussion between, not only the natural and social sciences but across disciplinary boundaries in the social sciences and humanities, as well as beyond the academy into policy and diplomatic avenues. Conversations were lively between scholars of the law, geographers, economists, biologists, political scientists, parliamentary advisers and many more...
Starting big, Jane Rumble, Head of Polar Regions for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, set the context of British involvement in the poles and Britain’s historic and present interests there. Dr Chandrika Nath of POST presented on the parliament’s workings and how scientific evidence can find ways to reach policy making bodies and advisors and was hence very interested to hear how this process works elsewhere, such as in Svalbard. It was fascinating to hear from those working in the Antarctic, particularly in terms of how protected areas have developed and work at a practical and policy level.
It was great to hear Dr Roger Norum’s key note- setting Svalbard’s tourism scene within a wider context of the modern ‘prosumer’ – in the age of social media, travellers not only consume travel literature, destinations and reviews, but also produce their own versions. This raises interesting questions as to how more traditional knowledge producers deal with informal knowledge and how they communicate their own work.
Thanks to all the organisers, speakers and interested audience for a stimulating day.