Fees can be a big deterrent to attending conferences, workshops and events. Fortunately, there are options that are free, which can help reduce the overall cost of participating in Polar events and make traditional networking more cost effective. One such event was the “Canada-Scotland Arctic Dialogue, Edinburgh” on the 4th April 2019. The event was hosted at the University of Edinburgh by the Centre of Canadian Studies and organised by the Polar Research and Policy Initiative. The Polar Research and Policy Initiative organises a range of events which are often free to attend and promotes
inclusivity and the wider dissemination of information between researchers, academics, practitioners and the public.
The chair of the event was Jimmy Kennedy (Director, Centre of Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh and President of the British Association for Canadian Studies).
The presenters were Heather Nicol (Director, School for the Study of Canada, University of Trent), Nick Lambert (retired-Rear Admiral and consultant) Dwayne Ryan Menezes (Founder and Director of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative), and Catriona Little (Head of Scottish Affairs Canada).
Heather Nicol spoke about how policymakers can strengthen Canada/UK Scotland.
Among the points that Nicol emphasized included that actors need to widen their conceptualization of Canada and northern studies when seeking to engage with Canada and the people residing in its northern region. Nicol states that “reintroducing northern studies to the study of Canada with a focus not only on indigenous-settler relations and colonialism, but on indigenous governance, co-management, investment and the regulatory north” is one way to foster bilateral relations and a more inclusive understanding about the Canadian North and its Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.
Nick Lambert discussed the blue economy. Lambert stated that 70 percent of the world is covered by water and therefore the bulk of our resources are under the water. We need to think more about how to economically exploit the marine environment in a sustainable way.
Lambert argues that we need to know more about the oceans, noting that while we know that the oceans are in trouble, we do not know how bad it is or what to do about these under conceptualised challenges. As such we need a blue economy strategy for the Arctic as the region opens up and plans for regional exploitation emerge.
Dwayne Ryan Menezes presented on the economic growth opportunities through past cultural links between Scotland and Northern Canada.
Menezes broke down the exports and imports between Canada and the three northern territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) and the United Kingdom and Scotland. Menezes argued that cultural connections between Scottish descendants in northern Canada – e.g. as demonstrated through self-identification on census data and an affinity for symbols of Scottish-ness such as fiddling, tartans, Scottish dances and celebrations, pipe bands and sports (like the Highland Games in Dawson City, Yukon) – are avenues for Scotland to engage with northern peoples and build economic markets and relations.
Lastly, Catriona Little, who is based in Canada and attended via skype, is working to “identify, engage and work with key influencers in Scotland’s diaspora across Canada.” Little works as part of an international oversees office aimed to help promote Scotland in Canada. In the Arctic, Little argues that Scottish economic engagement can mean opportunities to benefit northerners.
To learn more about the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of Canadian Studies and the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, visit the embedded links. More information on PRPI events can be found here.
Note: All quotes above are from the slideshow presentations of the presenters and were written down by Danita Catherine Burke while attending the “Canada-Scotland Arctic Dialogue” event. The paraphrasing and summation of the presentations is based off of Burke’s notes from the presenters’ oral presentations.