Master of Art research projects

The Barents Institute co-advices and supports Master theses on several important issues related to the Barents Region.
Master of Art or Master of Science candidates from universities in Norway and Russia with research projects relevant to the scope of interest of the Barents Institute have, after evaluation of their project proposals, been offered co-supervision, and small stipends towards covering the specific costs of the individual project. Several candidates have been in contact with BAI, some have had topics suggested to them, and others have had their research ideas studied for feasibility. BAI researchers have advised on the state of research and literature available on the subject in question, and the staff, and also BAI board members, have assisted by offering connections to relevant interview persons and institutes to study in the region. Office space has been offered for shorter periods for students wanting to base their research and field interviews in Kirkenes. Below follows a brief presentation of the master students engaged so far.

Anastasia Rogova Dept. of Ethnology of the European University in St. Petersburg. Rogova’s study focussed the Russian speaking minority in Kirkenes and started in august 2006. A Russian version of the thesis was approved at her home university in the spring of 2007. It has been translated into English and is open-access published on the BAI web site. Title of the final thesis “From Rejection to Re-embracement: Language and Identity of the Russian Speaking Minority in Kirkenes, Norway.”

Dmitri Rybin and Elena Rozhkova, MSc students in Energy Management of the Bodø Graduate School of Business, Bodø University College. They wrote a joint essay as part of earning their MSc degree. The thesis discussed the influence of political risk assessments on investment decisions of the oil and gas related industry of the Murmansk Oblast and Finnmark County. Title: “Development of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Barents Region: Problems vs. Challenges.”

Wenche Gerhardsen, Dept. of Political Science, University of Oslo. Her MA study focussed how the official goal of contributing to democratisation is achieved in Norwegian public support/collaboration in Russia. The thesis was approved in May 2007, title: “Crossing Civic Frontiers: How Norway Promotes Democracy in North-western Russia.”

Bodil Labahå, Dept. of Small children pedagogy at University College of Oslo. Labahå studied to what extent the Norwegian national policy on the High North has repercussions on the current turn towards teaching in Finnmark Kindergartens. The MA essay was completed in the spring of 2007: “Å utfodre grenser — en aksjonsforskningsstudie i Barentsregionen.”

Runar Rushfeldt Hansen from Vadsø, MA Student at the Dept. of Administration and Organisational Science, University of Bergen. Rushfeldt Hansen studied differences in leadership as part of the cultural contexts of Norway and Russia. For field interviews he was advice by BAI to collaborate with the County Governor of Finnmark and his Russian partners within the educational and environmental sectors in Murmansk Oblast. The work began in the fall of 2006 but was extended for further field research in Russia during the fall of 2007. The thesis is completed and has passed exam in Bergen.

Lena Ingilæ Landsem Department of History, University of Tromsø. Title of essay: “Relations between Finnmark County Authority and Murmansk Oblast: »Foreign Policy» at the Regional Level?” The project examined the cooperation between Finnmark County Authority and the county administration in Murmansk Oblast between 1975 and 2006. It discussed to what extent this Barents regional cooperation and identity building should be considered as a top-down political construct, and what role local cross-border alliances, entrepreneurship in business and regional traditions has played in the process. Landsem resided in office at BAI during the summer and fall of 2007. The essay was successfully defended in Tromsø in December 2007.

Ingrid Skarstein from Vadsø, Institute of Planning and Local Community Research at the University of Tromsø. She was guest students of Russian language at the Murmansk Humanities Institute in the fall of 2007. Skarstein received advice from Aileen Espiritu and other BAI scholars for her term paper at the MHI titled “Russian Federal Law no. 131 – Reforming Local Self Government.” This research is to be open-access published on the Barents Institute web site.

Annette Kildal is accepted for writing a Master of Arts essay at the Dept. of Social Anthropology at the University of Tromsø. In collqaboration with the Barents Institute she will look at collaborative work of the Norwegian and Russian Red-Cross as a case study of collaboration between Norwegian and Russian NGOs. BAI staff together with board member Geir Knutson, has assisted in negotiating Kildal into Red-Cross voluntary work in Murmansk in the spring of 2008.

From the left: Ingrid Skarstein, Runar Hansen and Lena Ingila Landsem in the office of the Barents Institute. Photo: Urban Wråkberg.
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