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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Projects on Cultural Heritage in Svalbard – synergies, pan-Arctic perspectives, solving the pressing challenges, and sustainable development

Awarded: NOK 0.25 mill.

The workshop will be dedicated to obtaining synergies between three ongoing projects on cultural heritage in Svalbard, to facilitation of placing findings of the projects in a pan-Arctic perspective, to discussing pressing philosophical and methodological issues in the domain of practical management of cultural heritage in Svalbard, and to discuss and better define the role of cultural heritage in sustainable development in Svalbard. The workshop aims to gather all relevant actors from the areas representing research, education, local and central authorities, owners and responsible for the objects of cultural heritage, museums, tourist industry, and local general public. Two out of three sessions will be publicly open and online streaming will be provided. Drivers justifying the need for this workshop are: i) the needs in optimization and synergies between ongoing projects; ii) practical needs of owners/parties responsible for cultural heritage in Svalbard when a balance between effectively securing a threatened cultural monument and retaining historical authenticity and value for future experience is a challenge; iii) the probably underestimated opportunities in potential of cultural heritage to serve as a driver for sustainable development in Svalbard. These challenges and opportunities do require prompt actions not least due to climate warming in Svalbard, which has highest rates in the world. Climate warming affects cultural heritage in multiple ways, including increased permafrost degradation, increased fungal decay of timber, and increasing rates of coastal erosion and other hazards in the coastal areas, and some other processes. The three ongoing projects (CULTCOAST/PCCH-Arctic/ArcticAlpineDecay) are essentially working with mitigation and adaptation solutions towards several different impacts outlined above. Hence, a venue to create synergies, mutual data utilization, and to obtain a look through the prism of a pan-Arctic perspectives is needed.

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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum