Archiving the Planet: Material Infrastructures and Ecologies of Storage in the High North (SEEDS)

This project investigates the past, present, and imagined futures of global seed storage and agriculture through archival and ethnographic and archival research, documenting polar agricultural histories and to illuminating how nature is produced in the High North.

Project information

Project duration


Funded by

Multiple sources (Spearhead projects of centres for multidisciplinary research)

Project funder


Funding amount

420 000 EUR

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

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Project leader

Project description

To what degree has the Arctic become a new centre of world agricultures? How might melting permafrost preserve the collection of seeds specimen for future generations? To answer such paradoxical questions, SEEDS investigates the social life of seeds in so-called Arctic “doomsday vaults”. We trace the material and imagined life of seeds via multi-sited historical and anthropological research across a series of stores, laboratories and archives, including the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norway), the All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (Saint Petersburg) and the plant genomics laboratories at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu. Drawing on a series of scientific-technological assemblages, we aim to reveal the social and historical dynamics of seed infrastructures that provide for global food security, biodiversity conservation and futuremaking in the Anthropocene.