The FENOR summer school is designed as a traveling training course for Ph.D. students and young researchers, which will be conducted at several locations in the Russian North. Senior and early career scholars will be traveling together in the course of two weeks, participating in a program that consists of lectures, seminars, excursions and fieldwork. Moving northwards from St. Petersburg to the Arkhangelsk region, participants will experience local articulations of dwelling in these regions.
The route of the school will go through the administrative territories of the Leningrad region, the republic of Karelia, and the Arkhangelsk region.

Tentative schedule:

Assembling in St. Petersburg: Sunday, August 2nd, 2015. The School will start on August 3rd and will return to St. Petersburg on Thursday, August 14th.

Aims & Expected Learning Outcomes 

The FENOR summer school will provide researchers and students with an invaluable experience examining a characteristic regional landscape that allows for comparisons while at the same time revealing its unique historical trajectory within the Russian context. Thematically, the course is focused on everyday life practices emerging from the interaction between people and their environments, ways of life, identities, and local perceptions of changes in the Russian North.
Participants will discuss current tendencies of social sciences in conceptualizing landscape, time and mobility and will apply this knowledge to field experiences in and from the Russian North. The course is aimed at researchers with an interest in qualitative methodologies and field work.
The Russian North is inhabited by indigenous and non-indigenous people, women and men who live in small settlements, in the tundra, or in industrial towns. Diverse social actors dwell in this shared space; their ways of using the territory and perceiving the environment can vary significantly, as well as their mobility practices. During the course, we will investigate how ‘the North’ is produced and consumed, practiced and performed by its inhabitants.
Travelling through various locations we will observe how footprints of different epochs overlap in the landscape, how the Russian North has been changing over time depending on activities characteristic for people in particular periods.

On the way from St. Petersburg through Karelia Republic to the city of Arkhangelsk region the FENOR school participants will get acquainted with different modes of dwelling in northern localities. Taking the water route of the Belomorkanal and visiting the Island of Solovki, we will get acquainted with a use of the North by the Soviet regime as a territory of repression and punishment, and with a contrasting connotation of the island as a sacred spiritual place, the location of Solovetsky Monastery. Trips to the wooden village Malye Korely near Arkhangelsk will give us a glimpse of the cultural heritage of the Russian European North. They will also constitute a case study of how the North is being integrated into the contemporary global tourist industry and how local folklore culture gets commodified and constructed. Challenges of the industrialised Russian North, such as shrinking and dying northern cities, the social life of their technologies and infrastructures, the dynamics of population movements, life strategies of the local population will be discussed in various industrial settlements and towns on our way. Arkhangelsk, as an important sea port in the Arctic, will serve as an example of the integration of Russia into global trade networks, bringing multicultural influences to a Russian northern town.

Target Group
The FENOR school is designed for Ph.D. students and younger researchers in the social sciences who do research in the Arctic and the Russian North. We are inviting proposals from Russia, Europe, US and Canada via the U-Arctic network. The total number of participants is limited to 20 people.

All lectures and seminars will be in English. Knowledge of Russian is not required but will be considered an advantage of the candidate.

Lectures and seminars will be taught by Prof. Peter Schweitzer (U of Vienna), Prof Nikolai Vakhtin (EUSP), Prof. Florian Stammler (U Lapland), Dr. Veronica Simonova (EUSP), Dr. Gertrude Saxinger (U of Vienna), Dr. Julia Laius (HSE-SPb), and others.

Credit info
Participation in the FENOR summer school, with some work done by the students before and after the trip, equals 10 ECTS (250 hours of work).

Fee info
Participants cover the expenses for their travel from their location to St. Petersburg and back. The organizers are now exploring possibilities to cover all other costs of the school.

Application and Selection
Applicants should apply not later than December 20, 2014. The application package includes:

  • a short letter containing a brief description of the student’s motivation to attend the summer school and indicating that the applicant is willing to participate in the FENOR summer school and to accept its rules; 
  • a short version of applicant's CV; 
  • a one-page description of the applicant's current research topic(s); information about the applicant's command of the Russian language.

Important note:
A second summer school – with a focus on alpine environments – is planned for Austria in summer 2016. In their application letters, students are invited to indicate their willingness to participate in both schools.

Contact info

Prof. Nikolai Vakhtin –
Prof. Peter Schweitzer –


Ms. Ksenia Gawrilova –