End of year recap and some updates, 2015

The year 2015 was a big one– though one with very few updates to the blog (thanks for the reminder WordPress Annual Report!). On that note, I’m committed to making more blog updates in 2016, including more original content and writing, along with the usual research updates. That said, I figured I would do a brief recap of some of the conferences and events I didn’t discuss in 2015! Here are the big ones:

 1. American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting (April 2015). Paper Contribution: Technostories: (de)Growth in the Aftermath of the Iqaluit ‘Dumpcano’. Chicago, IL.

This talk was part of the ‘Discards, Diverse Economies, and Degrowth‘ session at the AAG, which was organized by Dr. Max Liboiron and Dr. Josh Lepawsky of Memorial University. After our session, papers were work-shopped and submitted as a forum to Society and Space open site. My contribution examines the ‘next steps’ for waste management after a costly dump fire in Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut Territory. While some community members focused on technological improvements to waste management infrastructure, others pointed towards changing community understandings of waste and environment– as caused by the Nunavut’s recent colonization–as the source of increased waste issues. Though I did not submit my paper to the Society and Space forum, a modified version appears in the conclusion of my Master’s thesis.

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Spotted with Cassandra Kuyvenhoven: Some mysterious green goo (waste?) in downtown Chicago.
2. Northern Research Symposium. (April 2015) Poster contribution: Taima: Risk and Uncertainty in the Iqaluit Dumpcano. Kingston, ON.

This poster was an updated (and poster-fied) version of a talk I gave at Arctic Change in Ottawa, ON in 2014. I discuss this poster and the Iqaluit dump fire (which coincided with my fieldwork in Iqaluit in the summer of 2014) in an interview with the Queen’s Gazette, which can be read here.

3. Contested Expertise, Toxic Environments (September 2015). Paper contribution: Taima: Risk Governance in the Iqaluit Dumpcano. Claremont, CA.

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Contested Expertise, Toxic Environments participants in Claremont California. Photo Credit: Hillary Kirkham

The interdisciplinary paper workshop and conference was held at the Claremont Colleges in California, and brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines, including history of science, science and technology studies, anthropology and more. The two day conference involved work-shopping each others papers, which covered topics such as nuclear fallout at Hiroshima, insecticides, garbage dumps, abandoned superfund sites, and radiation. The conference also included a screening of a new film on nuclear waste storage entitled Containmentand a Skype discussion with director and academic, Dr. Peter Galison. My paper, which examines risk management in an Arctic dump fire, is to be included in an edited collection with the group.

4. Next Steps

I am currently awaiting my supervisory committee to review a report that I’ve written for the City of Iqaluit based on my Master’s research. The report includes a two-page summary of my thesis, a bibliography of waste management reports and journal articles previously conducted on waste in Iqaluit, and a list of citizen suggestions for improving waste management in the community. My hope is that the report will be a practical output of my master’s research and helpful for those charged with managing waste in the Iqaluit community. Once the report has been approved, I look forward to submitting it to Iqaluit City Council (likely early 2016). I’ll also post a link to the report on my website and give a copy of it to the Nunavut Research Institute to ensure the report is publicly available.

In the meantime, I look forward to moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland and beginning my PhD research at Memorial University next week!

If anyone is interested in copies of the talks, feel free to e-mail me at ardz76@mun.ca

All best in 2016,

Alex

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