North by North East: A free Passage from Norway to China

Picture of a grid


Polar ice caps are melting, and China is coming closer than ever. In a few decades from now, ordinary merchant ships are supposed to be able to take a shortcut from China to Europe. A major ice-free shipping lane will open up above Russia. Sooner or later, this might allow regular trade between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans all year round.

Climate change is causing tremendous consequences which will fundamentally reshape our understanding of the North. How will this affect Norway? Is Tromsø becoming the new Singapore? Will Kirkenes turn into Chinatown?

The EiT village “North by North-East” is developed and realized in collaboration with the international art festival “Barents Spektakel” which will take place in Kirkenes from February 13-17, 2019. This year’s title of the festival is “The World’s Northernmost Chinatown”.

It will be a collaborative platform to investigate, discuss, perform, simulate and enact possible futures of the relations between Norway and China, or: what will soon be formerly known as the Far East. It is an adventurous travel in time to explore different versions of a future of the North and its new encounter with the East: politically, economically, culturally, aesthetically, on collective and individual level.

The journey through time will be made by extrapolating scientific knowledge, simulating possible scenarios and imagining new forms of creating value. It is a practical exercise in radically questioning common assumptions while climate change renders certainties impossible and challenges the borders of conventional forms of knowledge production.

By developing manifold relations towards what is yet unknowable and yet imperceptible, the village sets out to investigate and speculate about new opportunities for change. Interventions will be carried out in new coalitions of agencies and stakeholders on both, local and global level — such as artists, activists, entrepreneurs, indigenous communities, networks of municipalities, research collaborations, not to mention tourists, explorers, adventurers and their guides.


Relevant competence

The village aims to initiate creative conversations and collaborations between art, science, technology, culture and policymaking. It is open to students from all academic disciplines. Actually, it relies on a variety of different expertise and backgrounds to realise its goal to push cross-disciplinary teamwork beyond its limits in terms of time and space. Open mindedness, a desire to become more familiar with epistemologies of non-linear systems and a certain affinity for operating within regimes of uncertainty, may be helpful but are absolutely not required.

About the village

The goal of the village is to provide the participating students with an intense, collaborative learning experience of how to communicate the complexities of artistic and scientific knowledge production in a way that is both, speculative and attractive, critical and creative.

Small teams and cross-disciplinary working groups will be free to choose, envision and develop concrete aspects of a future scenario that investigates the aesthetics and the logistics, the ethics and the technologies that are triggered by a new wave of climate change induced globalization.

The outcome will be a collage of visions and models in terms of its geopolitical, economical, ecological, environmental, social, architectural or pop-cultural impact. Among the possible techniques that can be applied, are: prototyping, data visualization, design thinking, storytelling, photo- and filmmaking and other forms of experimental or performative practices.

Selected outcomes of the work in the EiT village will be introduced and presented at the “Barents Spektakel” Festival:


Emnekode: AAR 4918
Village title: North by North East: A free passage from Norway to China
Type: Intensive
Language: English
Village supervisor: Prof. Jacob Jessen
Contact information: Prof. Jacob Jessen
Semester: Spring 2019

Viktig informasjon om EiT:

  • Det unike med EiT er fokuset på samarbeidskompetanse og gruppeprosesser.
  • Undervisningsformen i EiT forutsetter at alle bidrar og er til stede hele semesteret. Derfor er det obligatorisk tilstedeværelse hver landsbydag.
  • I motsetning til mange emner er spesielt de første dagene viktig i EiT. Det er da dere i gruppa blir kjent med hverandre, og diskuterer hva hver enkelt kan bidra med. Dere skal også utarbeide den obligatoriske samarbeidsavtalen, samt begynne å utarbeide en felles problemstilling.
  • Utfyllende informasjon om Eksperter i team finner du på siden for studenter.