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On research, impact, and public relations in the ‘empty’ north

Seeing one’s own research described in a news release is always an interesting experience. Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s frustrating. In the end, though, by reflecting on the differences between how you understand your research and how others understand it, a lot can be learned about the cultures of research and research administration. That’s what I try to achieve in this blogpost, where I reflect on the draft of a news release that I received by email this weekend from the European Commission.

First, a bit of background: During 2012 and 2013 I held a European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London with the slightly-too-cute acronym of GAIA (Global Alternatives for an Interconnected Arctic). When I accepted my current post at Durham, I terminated the fellowship early (in August 2013), and, with the input of ‘Scientist-in-Charge’ Klaus Dodds, I submitted a required report to the European Commission detailing what I had accomplished during the fellowship. Now, exactly one year (!) after the fellowship has ended, the European Commission has placed the report’s executive summary on its website and a communications officer there has drafted a news release publicising the project’s results.

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Thinking outside the Ice Cube

I’ve just posted a ‘reflections’ piece on the Ice Law Project blog, where I use the aims of the Ice Law Project to look back at testimony that I gave on Tuesday to the House of Lords Arctic Committee.

In addition to interrogating the relationship between ice and politics, I consider some of the problems inherent when one tries to to ‘think outside the box’ (or ‘outside the ice cube’) while engaging the practical solutions orientation of the policy-making community.


Click on the image  for full video of the testimony (the first hour is on international security; the Law of the Sea panel, on which I appear with Robin Churchill and Maurice Mendelson, begins at 11:41).

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Reflections on Professor Elizabeth DeLoughrey’s visit to York


An excellent write-up of Liz DeLoughrey’s visit to York earlier this month.

Originally posted on Resources of Resistance: Production, Consumption, Transformation:

We were delighted to welcome Professor Elizabeth DeLoughrey (UCLA) to York earlier this week for what was a hugely enjoyable day of productive conversations on maritime and oceanic themes.

Professor DeLoughrey led a workshop based on a selection of readings, before giving a talk, entitled ‘The Sea is Rising: Visualizing Climate Change in the Pacific’, for which you can read an abstract here. What follows is an attempt to draw together some common themes from the day, which we hope to build on during the conference later in the month.

With the help of Professor DeLoughrey, we chose readings for the workshop which we thought reflected some of the most interesting scholarship taking place on the sea today. You can read the selections here.

The sea provides an underpinning element for many, if not most, of the resources we will be discussing at Resources of Resistance, given its fundamental role in systems of world…

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Ice Law Project goes online

Building on the Workshop on the Ice-Land-Water Interface that was held in Durham 19-21 June, IBRU: Durham University’s Centre for Borders Research, in cooperation with the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law, announces the launch of the Ice Law Project website: http://icelawproject.org. In addition to containing an overview of the project’s aims and its various subprojects, the website contains reflection pieces from workshop attendees. Presently, there are reflection pieces from Klaus Dodds and Kate Coddington, but many more will be posted over the next weeks.IceLaw screenshot


We also have begun a Twitter feed at @IceLawProject

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IBRU Relaunched as Centre for Borders Research

On its 25th anniversary, IBRU, formerly the Durham University’s International Boundaries Research Unit, has been relaunched as Durham University’s Centre for Borders Research. Although past and current clients of IBRU’s consulting and training services likely will see little difference (asiIBRU-new-webde from our new logo), the name change signals IBRU’s ongoing commitment to building bridges between applied work at the intersection of political geography and international law with cutting edge research that connects this applied work with inquiries into the changing nature of borders, territory, sovereignty, citizenship, and the political organisation of space.


Can you imagine a world with ice?

That headline’s not a typo.

Lots of people are wondering what it would mean to have a world without ice. However, even as glaciers melt and sea level rises there’s still going to be a lot of ice around for a long time, especially in the winter. In fact, ice is likely to become more important as commercial enterprises and the states that support them become increasingly active in the polar regions.



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Mapping Scotland’s Waters

Stuart Elden has pointed to the somewhat unusual map that graces the cover of the Scottish government’s new report on land tenure issues in an independent Scotland. In this post I take up Stuart’s challenge to analyse the map in some detail.

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