From the quiet city of Akureyri, IASC serves as a hub of multidisciplinary Arctic research. The organization’s international presence is steered and coordinated by three talented individuals on Iceland’s North coast, far away from members situated as far away as China and Austria. Allen, Gunnar, and Federica are busy in Akureyri coordinating Arctic science research objectives and facilitating communication between researchers.
For the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to join IASC in Akureyri to work as an intern, helping out with work at their home base while members of the secretariat bounced from Iceland to Finland to Svalbard to carry out the organization’s mission. While at IASC, I’ve been busy updating the website and digitizing the archives, pouring through decades of provisional agendas and meeting reports. I’ve learned a good deal about the scope of international science coordination, particularly in a region as remote and logistically complicated as the Arctic, and have observed the management skills involved in guiding international science collaboration.
IASC connects researchers across disciplines, organizations, and nationalities, to support scientific investigation of the Arctic’s dynamic environments and cultures, and it’s no small task! I’ve been so impressed to see how the organization’s goals are met and organized from a small office in Akureyri, and the global impact and influence that IASC has accrued over twenty-seven years of detailed logistics coordination and oversight.
The experience at IASC is a stop in my year of travelling and working the North Atlantic and Arctic regions, as made possible by the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship. So far, the fellowship has taken me to the Faroe Islands, southern Norway, and most recently, IASC. I’ll be moving onto Sweden, Maritime Canada, northern Norway, the Yukon, and Finland, all before a year is through, both exploring regions on my own and working in organized research positions.
You can keep up with my travels on my website to see what I discover along the way regarding Arctic cultures and environmental change. There is a lot more to learn about the Arctic cultures and landscapes, and I hope to uncover how the broader impacts of scientific research in the Arctic may mold international policy and design in our rapidly changing world.
The experience at IASC has been a treat, and I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned in Iceland from Allen, Gunnar, Federica, and the IASC resources. Hopefully this isn’t a final farewell to Iceland and IASC!
Contributed by Joanna Millstein, www.joannamillstein.com