Date: 13 September 2016
Tromsø. Inside the arctic circle. In a city of some 80 000 inhabitants, one of the word’s leading universities on matters arctic, and here to teach a new crew of international master’s students in landscape architecture. its a design domain, and a transdisciplinary one too. we talk about expectation, aspirations and futures. about how one might become familiar with arctic territories and terrain, about how to convey and communicate them to others no there, the mesh of knowledge needed to work on arctic futures and landscapes that are cultural, biological, geomorphic, where international politics is played out and technologies bristle in the chilly skies.
Climate change. Changing climates of perception and practice as its now undeniable that our past human foibles of extraction and consumption influence today’s biosphere and our lived world.
They sit, full of promise, an arc of new master’s student around a stylish circular table. Anticipation… We’ve not met each other before but I am here to teach about writing, about researching a future arctic. I find I am talking about writing design fiction…
I’m also here to meet their course leader Kjerstin and advise on her doctoral thesis. She’s the arctic expert in my mind and generous too with what she knows and learns, alwyas more than you might expect, a leading local architect and a phenomenally wide reader. Writing and reading the past. We wander and talk, sit and sketch her chapter sequences and then she pulls out a text she drew up a few weeks ago as place holder for her thesis to be. It begins: ‘ Both physically and discursively the arctic is thawing…’.
We sit still and wait a while.
What sort of thesis and what modes of writing might we anticipate? We discuss how she needs to mix theory and contexts, the ballooning research on arctic landscapes and her own very situated and detailed knowledge such a working with reindeer herders. Which arctic, whose anticipations.