Frequences of sound as white waves on black background.
Detail from Soundings, audiovisual installation (2023).
Photo: Åsa Stierna

Alternative Cartographies

Sustainability and environment
Culture and languages

The symposium Alternative Cartographies marks the culmination of Åsa Stjerna's postdoctoral artistic research project, "Sonic Visions of the Arctic" (2021-2023), funded by the Swedish Research Council.

26 Apr 2024
09:30 - 15:30
On Zoom

Åsa Stjerna, The Film, Photography, and Literary Composition Unit, HDK-Valand.

This symposium presents outcomes of Åsa Stjerna’s postdoctoral artistic research, "Sonic Visions of the Arctic," (2021-2023) and brings together scholars from different Nordic regions who critically engage with established representations of the Arctic through sonic arts, environmental photography, art history, and sound studies.

Ever since its "discovery," the Arctic has served as a stage where the past, present, and future of the planet's environmental and geopolitical dynamics are enacted. Recent years have witnessed an intensification of these imaginations and projections, propelled by anthropogenic climate change, rapid resource exploitation, geopolitical maneuvering, mass tourism, and heightened global awareness and activism concerning environmental issues (Körber, MacKenzie, and Westerståhl Stenport, 2017). However, the Arctic image itself is far from uniform; it is a complex and diverse concept that defies any singular narrative, particularly a Western-centric one. As Körber, MacKenzie, and Westerståhl Stenport assert, the Arctic has never existed as a homogeneous entity.

Consequently, depending on whose perspectives and images are privileged in shaping our understanding of the Circumpolar North, different interpretations emerge, influencing our perceptual awareness.

This symposium present findings and engage in discussions about ongoing research from art and humanities, spanning a wide range of critical perspectives related to the Arctic, such as  "artistic imagination and dystopia", "sensorium", "photographic testimony," "indigenous knowledge," "scientific construction," and "geopolitical and environmental site of great global significance" among others.

Through this symposium, diverse viewpoints will have the opportunity to visually and audibly articulate alternative perceptions and counter-narratives of the Circumpolar North, thereby crafting new alternative cartographies.

We envision this symposium as a platform for fostering connections, sharing insights, inspiring others, and being inspired in return.

The symposium is in English.

Everyone is welcome to join.


9.30-9.40 Welcome & Introduction to symposium

9.40-10.30 Åsa Stjerna, Artist, Postdoc. University of Gothenburg,
Sonic Visions of the Arctic

10.30-10.45: Break


  • Ania Mauruschat, Journalist, scholar and lecturer, focusing on sound and Environmental Humanities
    Re-turning to Sila in Times of Global Climate Emergency
  • Michael Kjaer, PhD., Teaching associate professor at Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen
    Surfacing Extreme Marine Environments in the Arctic Region
  • Stephanie von Spreter, PhD researcher in art history UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsö
    Destructed Environments, Gendered Spaces and Colonial Legacies. Contemporary Art Practices Sensing the Arctic and the Circumpolar North

    Moderator: Åsa Stjerna

12.00-13.00: LUNCH

  • Tyrone Martinsson, Professor of photography at the Artistic Faculty, University of Gothenburg
    Virtual Arctic Archive Svalbard
  • Hanna Horsberg Hansen, Professor of Art History, Academy of Arts at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsö
    “Home” – On the concept of “home” in Emilie Demant Hatts (1873-1958) photographs

    Moderator: Åsa Stjerna

14.00-14.15 BREAK

  • Elin Haugdahl, Professor in Art history at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsö
    Indigenous cartography
  • Hanne Hammer Stien, Professor of Art History at Academy of Arts, UiT, The Arctic University of Norway.
    The Urgency of Mapping and Mapmaking

    Moderator: Åsa Stjerna


See attached document for abstracts and biographies