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Trent Students Bring the North to Peterborough

Northern Studies Colloquium brings together students and the community in an exploration of the Arctic

Student organizers Kaitlin Wilson and Meghan Buckham at the annual Northern Studies Colloquium
Student organizers Kaitlin Wilson and Meghan Buckham at the annual Northern Studies Colloquium

Graduate and undergraduate students involved in northern research came together to host the Trent University Northern Studies Colloquium on February 2, 2012 at the Benedict Gathering Place on Symons Campus as well as the downtown Peterborough Public Library.

The daylong event featured a series of student-led presentations and panel discussions and wrapped up with a special keynote address at the Library by Ms. Udloriak Hanson, special advisor to the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization representing four Inuit regions.

“This colloquium builds on a longstanding tradition of Northern Studies collaboration at Trent,” said Dr. Julia Harrison, director of the Frost Centre for Canadian and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. “Previous series have brought together such a diverse group of speakers and individuals who exemplify the interdisciplinary mandate and philosophy of the Frost Centre and other departments and programs at Trent.”

This year’s event was no exception as northern scholars from a wide variety of disciplines shared their research, stories, and enthusiasm.

“On one panel alone, we have people from Cultural Studies, Political Science, Anthropology, and Environmental Life Sciences Departments, all discussing their research on bowhead whale ecology,” said Dr. Christopher Furgal, faculty advisor for the colloquium. “What this does is take students from the sharp focus of their very in-depth area of study and introduce them to the people and research that is happening in the same region, in similar subjects, but in different programs. It widens their field of view. It encourages students to step out of the box – and to see that they are not isolated in their studies. It reaffirms that their research is part of a much larger picture of the North.”

“We had an incredible turn-out,” reported student and colloquium co-chair, Ms. Kaitlin Wilson, “and not just from Trent students and faculty, but from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Peterborough community. There were great presentations, some really good questions raised, and some lively dialogue. I’m really impressed with what my fellow students pulled together – particularly when so many of them are as busy as they are. They should be proud.”

Having Udloriak Hanson provide a keynote address was particularly exciting for participants.  Ms. Hanson speaks nationally and internationally on the realities and concerns of Inuit peoples in Canada. Ms. Hanson is an Inuit advisor working with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), which is the national organization that represents Inuit peoples living in Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories. She is an expert with a distinguished track record negotiating land claims and the devolution of powers from the federal government to Nunavut. Hanson is also involved in representing Inuit views on Arctic governance, including working with those involved in the Arctic Council. Most recently, Ms. Hanson has co-chaired the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program, which works to improve public policy in the circumpolar Arctic.

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012.

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