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Arctic Heritage: Commodification, Identity, and Revitalisation in the Anthropocene

The Arctic Centre is partner in a succesful grant in the 'Cultural Heritage, Society & Ethics' call of the European JPI Cultural Heritage network.

ArchHeritage will investigate the trade chains of three iconic heritage artefacts from the polar regions. Besides tracking oral history, it looks for new social and commercial developments and links them to historical lifestyles of herders and hunters.

This project explores the commodity chains of three iconic heritage artefacts in the Arctic: reindeer antler, the conical tent, and mammoth and walrus ivory. It will trace the oral histories and new market and social entanglements of these artefacts across several sites in Sápmi, Canada, and Greenland, linking them to historical pastoralist and hunting lifeways and their transformation over time. In recent years, each artefact has taken a new form within the heritage and tourism industries: 1) reindeer antler as Traditional Chinese Medicine; 2) the conical tent as a fixed tourism dwelling; 3) and ivory as souvenir carvings. They thus tell a wider story of Arctic heritage and the relationship between indigenous producers, consumers, and the market. Our objectives are to research the transformation of the artefacts into heritage objects and their movement across national and international commodity chains.

Project leader: Richard Fraser, Arctic University of Norway (UiT)

Dutch PI: Maarten Loonen, Groningen University

Partners: Museum of Cultural History (Norway), Leiden Etnografisch Museum (the Netherlands), Arctic Studies Centre China

Last modified:22 December 2022 12.04 p.m.