Developing an international field course model in the Arctic

Theme 4. Education
Session Name 4.4 Arctic tourism: A tool for education and a topic for educational collaboration
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Outi Rantala (University of Lapland, Finland), Kaarina Tervo-Kankare (University of Oulu, Finland), Patrick Maher (Cape Breton University, Canada), Trine Kvidal-Rovik (UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, Norway)
Abstract text

The presentation deals with development of international master-level field courses. Two recent cases are discussed: field courses arranged in August 2016 at the Varanger Peninsula, North-Norway and in September 2017 in Kolari municipality, Finnish Lapland. The development work is based on a collaboration between seven northern universities, working under the UArctic’s Thematic Network on Northern Tourism. In addition, it is based on collaboration between tourism studies and architectural research in the North, and aims to build a multidisciplinary learning environment.


The experience from developing an international field course model and building a multidisciplinary learning environment, which would enable a sensitive dialogue between the participants, has turned out to be a challenging – but simultaneously rewarding task. First, the student groups are very heterogeneous and involving them into a shared dialogue requires lot of preplanning. Second, coordinating an international field course requires financial resources, which need to be planned and coordinated. Third, disseminating the outcomes of the dialogue with local actors calls for creativeness. However, the field courses produce rich material to be applied in research.


In the presentation, we wish to discuss our own practice as educators and academics within the development work. The development work has highlighted the fact that we need to do what we are interested in because we have scarce resources. We also feel that it is important to be creative, both pedagogically and methodologically. It takes multiple rounds to find a balanced model, and we must be patient and trust in our vision.

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