Bridging local and scientific knowledge in the Arctic (Arctic Week)


[Period: 2018-2019 – official website]

Created in 2018, Arctic Week is a week-long international conference that provides transdisciplinary approaches to climate and environmental changes in the Arctic. It aims to offer an overview of different challenges in the Arctic regions, as understood by Arctic peoples and researchers. Seeking to pursue the interdisciplinary approach to environmental and climate changes, the Arctic Week 2019, that I have coordinated along with Alexandra Lavrillier and Jean-Michel Huctin, was hosted from 9 to 13 December 2019 at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris), under the patronage of the Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic, Ségolène Royal.

Creating synergies between social and environmental sciences

The idea of the Arctic Week is to create synergies between social and environmental scientists and between scientists and Arctic indigenous peoples while also engaging students and youth in these projects. It is also very important to hold public events and photography exhibitions in order to raise public awareness in France about Arctic climate change and biodiversity issues.

Make the voices of Arctic indigenous people heard

The participation of Arctic indigenous peoples from Siberia, Northern Europe, Greenland, Alaska and Canada is crucial for the conference because they are frontline witnesses of the profound effects that global and climate changes are having on the environment: they want their knowledge and observations to be heard. Several scientific projects in the Arctic have proven the valuable input of indigenous knowledge systems: the latter should be fully involved in and recognized by the scientific community.

Involving students

The participation of students (including from Master 2 Arctic Studies) – as future direct or indirect actors in the Arctic (early career scientists, economic agents or policy makers) – is central for the organization of the Arctic Week. It is crucial to convince students of the importance of the Arctic on international environmental, economic, social and cultural levels, and to have them heavily engage with transdisciplinarity and indigenous knowledge as means for improving sustainability and adaptive practices related to climate change and biodiversity.