UArctic Rectors' Forum 23 to 26 August 2017

The University of Aberdeen hosted the 2017 UArctic Rectors' Forum at King's College Conference Centre, 23 to 26 August, 2017 on the theme: The Inhabited Arctic: Lands, Peoples and Scholarship in the Circumpolar North. 

Recent decades have seen a massive concentration of scientific research in the arctic and sub-arctic regions of the globe. Largely driven by concerns over climate change, this research effort has been overwhelmingly driven by the natural sciences. Despite paying lip service to the 'human dimension', the contribution of research and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences to understanding past, present and future developments in the circumpolar North has not received the recognition it deserves.

However, thanks to international collaborative scientific efforts, a significant body of work has been assembled that not only highlights the creative ways in which northern peoples are responding to the challenges of environmental change but also casts a critical light on the policies and practices of polar science itself.

The Rectors' Forum showcased this work and addressed the following:  

  • How can disciplines in the natural sciences and in the social sciences and humanities work together to advance our understanding of the circumpolar North?

  • How can this research best assist inhabitants of the North in responding to the challenges of global environmental change?

  • How can the knowledge and wisdom of northern peoples help to shape the agendas for future circumpolar research? 

The UArctic Rectors' Forum allows the highest level of leadership from our higher education member institutions to meet annually to exchange ideas and discuss strategic cooperation. It opened with a Civic Reception to welcome delegates to Aberdeen (hosted by Aberdeen City Council) and was held in the Town House which dates from the 1870s and incorporates elements of a previous Town House and Tolbooth.  The tall, dominating tower is a major landmark in the city and the arcading is a particularly impressive streetscape feature.  The splendid internal decoration, especially in the official municipal rooms, demonstrates the wealth of 19th century Aberdeen. 

After the Rectors' Forum, the University of Aberdeen organised an Associated International Conference from 27 to 29 August, 2017 on the theme: Conversations from the North: Scholars of many disciplines and inhabitants of many places in dialogue with one another, with animals and plants, and with the land. 

Programme

Wednesday 23 August  

Thursday 24 August 

  • 9.30-10.30: Forum opening event at King's College Conference Centre and welcome address, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen 
  • 11.00-12.30: Plenary keynote address: Scotland: In Britain Or In Europe? will be given by Iain Macwhirter, followed by discussion 
  • 13.30-15.00: Panel 1: How can disciplines in the natural sciences and in the social sciences and humanities work together to advance our understanding of the circumpolar North? 
  • 15.30-17.00: Business meeting / Students‘ meeting (sessions to run in parallel) 
  • 17.30 - 18.15: Optional Walking Tour around Aberdeen University with Professor Jane Geddes (meet under the arch into King's Quad) at King's College 
  • 19.00: Forum dinner, Elphinstone Hall 

Friday 25 August 

  • 9.00-10.30: Panel 2: How can research best assist inhabitants of the North in responding to the challenges of global environmental change? 
  • 11.00-12.30: Panel 3: How can the knowledge and wisdom of northern peoples help to shape the agendas for future circumpolar research? 
  • 13.30-15.30: Business meeting / Students’ meeting (sessions to run in parallel) 
  • 16.00-17.00: Students’ Forum (student-led plenary session) 
  • 17.00-17.30: Forum closing event 

Saturday 26 August (Open to All Registered to attend the Forum and/or the Conference)  

  • 09.30 - 18.00: Full day coach trip to castles, whisky distilleries, archaeological sites and stone circles (optional all day event with lunch and refreshment breaks included).

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Plenary Keynote Address: SCOTLAND: IN BRITAIN OR IN EUROPE? Iain Macwhirter

Plenary speaker Iain Macwhirter is a political commentator for the Sunday Herald, a distinguished broadcaster and author of several books on the national question including Disunited Kingdom (2014).Iain Macwhirter - political commentator    He was Rector of the University of Edinburgh from 2009 to 2012.