Transformation and Social Innovation for Sustainable Arctic Communities


Project description

Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Eudaimonia
Faculty: Humanities

The contemporary Arctic is characterized by diverse global challenges, many of which are beyond the control of its residents. These include, e.g. global warming, the degradation of vital ecosystems and the volatility of global markets. Issues of control and governance are increasingly challenging and complex, especially considering that Arctic environments have high commercial, recreational, social, cultural, and ecosystem value. The Arctic is therefore embedded in contemporary speculations on global futures and interconnected threats and possibilities.

The TransArct project investigates the potentialities of social innovation to provide solutions for Arctic social, economic, cultural, environmental, and policy changes and challenges, particularly in northern Fennoscandia. TransArct focuses on two nationally and globally important, but vulnerable (and often interwoven) development paths: mining and tourism. Linked to indigenous and alternative local, as well as global perspectives, these themes also form core foci of the Nordic Centre of Excellence “Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities” (REXSAC, a related project of ours which TransArct will support. Examples of potential social innovations include new ways of locally monitoring mining impacts connected to complementary administrative EIA/SIA processes, and indigenous and local entrepreneurship linked with international sustainable tourism certifications and knowledge-sharing practices, including co-production of local environmental education.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu


Research group: Hannu I. Heikkinen (PI), prof. of cultural anthropology, Dr. Jarkko Saarinen prof. of geography, Dr. Vesa-Pekka Herva prof. of archeology, Dr. Esa Ruuskanen, Dr. Simo Sarkki, Dr. Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, Dr. Ritva Kylli, Dr. Élise Lépy, Alix Varnajot, doctoral researcher, Teresa Komu, doctoral researcher, Jasmiini Pylkkänen, doctoral researcher

Site of research: University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, Research unit HIKUVIE, and Faculty of Science, Geography Research Unit.


Élise Lépy

Simo Sarkki

Simo Sarkki

Esa Ruuskanen

Esa Ruuskanen

Senior Research Fellow

Mari Partanen

Doctoral researcher