Testing Grounds Episode 2: ‘Artica Svalbard – Climate Change and the Built Environment’ now available

Episode 2: Artica Svalbard – Climate Change and the Built Environment Testing Grounds

How does the built environment affect our experience of the climate crisis – and vice-versa?

Artica Svalbard is NAARCA’s Norwegian partner. It’s located on the Svalbard archipelago, in Longyearbyen – one of the world’s most northerly towns. Here, the climate crisis is impossible to ignore.

In this episode, Charlotte Hetherington, director of Artica Svalbard, introduces us to Longyearbyen, and to our two contributors: architect Ingvild Sæbu Vatn and anthropologist Alexandra Meyer. They explore how climate change is affecting people’s relationship to the place, why we need new approaches to “waste” buildings, and the value of engaging local people with planning the future of our towns.

Credits: Testing Grounds is produced and edited by Katie Revell and includes original music by Loris S. Sarid and artwork by Jagoda Sadowska. With thanks to Alex Marrs and the rest of the NAARCA team.

A captioned version of this episode is available on YouTube.

Featured in this episode:

Charlotte Hetherinton (she/her)

Charlotte Hetherington joined Artica Svalbard as director in November 2020. Prior to this she worked as Artist Liaison at Thomas Dane Gallery in London. After graduating from Newcastle University in 2007 with a MA in Museum & Gallery studies, Charlotte joined Spike Island in Bristol before moving onto a role in Exhibitions at White Cube, London. Charlotte brings over fifteen years experience working with international artists and institutions.

Alexandra Meyer (she/her)

Alexandra Meyer is a social anthropologist from Stavanger, Norway, based at the University of Vienna, Austria. For the past several years she has been living and researching in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, examining how the town is impacted by various environmental and socio-economic changes, and how people live with, experience, perceive, and respond to these changes. Lately she has been working with values connected to Svalbard’s cultural heritage. Alexandra is committed to building connections and collaborations within the growing field of social sciences on Svalbard, as well as between science and society.

Ingvild Sæbu Vatn (she/her)

Ingvild Sæbu Vatn has been working as an architect and leader in LPO arkitekters office in Longyearbyen since its opening in 2011. She works within the whole spectrum of the architectural discipline, from exhibition design, through small and complex building design, to area planning and strategy projects. She has a strong engagement for cultural heritage and sustainable development which has led to the initiation and development of Rett Plass Rett Form. This project explores the opportunities in reusing existing buildings in the development of Longyearbyen, and promotes a circular building method and a history based local identity.

Katie Revell (she/her)

Katie Revell is a Glasgow-based freelance audio producer and (lapsed!) filmmaker with a particular interest in food, climate change, and relationships to the land. She grew up on the southeast coast of Scotland and has also lived in Germany, India and the USA. Since 2016, Katie has been part of the team behind the award-winning Farmerama Radio podcast, which shares the voices of regenerative and agroecological farmers in the UK and beyond. Katie was lead producer of Farmerama’s first series, Cereal, which explored the history of bread and profiled the UK’s “new grains movement”. She also co-produced Landed, a personal exploration of land ownership and colonial legacy told by a farmer’s son as he returns home to his family farm. Katie believes passionately in the need for creative responses to climate change, and is delighted to be on the NAARCA team.

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