The following are highlights from this pan-arctic workshop;
Ann Ragnhild Broderstad of UiT the Arctic University of Norway provided an update on Indigenous Perspectives on Research based on her work with the Center for Sami Health Research, noting that new guidelines have been recently developed in Norwegian, and are expected to be available in both Sami and English by March 2018.
Lydia Heikkila, University of Lapland, described the origins and rationale for developing guidelines for research with Sami people, as well as some persistent challenges and ongoing initiatives to develop ethical guidelines. Unique Nordic factors were contrasted with North American and Russian experiences.
Lidia Rakhmanova, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg and Sociological Institute of Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shared case studies from the field, illustrating challenges of diverse scientific collaborations, meaningful and respectful engagement with community, and awareness of socio-political constraints of scientific research.
Beth Rink from Montana State University and Rhonda Johnson from the University of Alaska Anchorage shared some of their experiences in developing and/or serving with ethical review boards related to indigenous health research in US, Canada and Greenland, with a particular emphasis on the potential of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to help address (and readdress) past and in some cases, ongoing unproductive and distrustful relationships between researchers and communities. They also provided brief overview of the findings from the collaborative project to help develop ethical guidelines for research with and about Sami people in Finland, and described several ongoing initiatives and resources related to the conduct of ethical, community-engaged and multi-disciplinary research in the North.
Other participants included Arja Rautio (primary organizer and host), Kirsi Latola (UArctic, EU Polarnet), Mervi Heikkinen (secretary of Human and Social Science Ethical Committee at the University of Oulu) and Audrey Waits (Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oulu).
There was active and animated discussion throughout, with ample time for comments, questions and answers, as well as periodic reflection.
The primary outcome of the workshop was the determination to organize a pan-arctic working group on Ethics under the auspices of UArctic to help identify, connect and synthesize diverse and isolated initiatives related to the ethical conduct of research in the arctic. Support for periodic workshops and roundtables as well as the development of relevant white papers and/or compendiums of resources to strengthen the network of arctic participants interested in ethical issues of research will be the primary focus areas of the group. Initial steps will be to convene and organize a pre-Congress workshop in Oulu on Sunday Sept 2, just before the UArctic Congress Sept 3-7, for those interested in contributing to the shared vision of the new working group, and to have a follow up seminar later in the Fall when Beth Rink returns to Oulu as part of her Fulbright Arctic visit.