INTERACT’s funding of our proof-of-concept methodology project gave us the opportunity to collect several batches of linked quantitative and qualitative data, which we will analyse during the rest of the summer. This will allow us to refine our conceptual model of this integrated mapping process and explore how it could be applied an environmental planning setting.
Over the next months, we will be computing our analyses, writing up our results and preparing several research council funding applications in order to carry our research forward. Given that our INTERACT proof of concept work has already begun bearing fruit – in terms of interest from local populations, the national press and several senior interdisciplinary scholars – our aim is to turn this into a longer pilot project that would enable us to take this methodology into several other national park spaces in the Arctic. Along with those funding initiatives, we also aim to apply for further INTERACT funding to be able to link up with an Arctic research station near the White Sea, allowing us to take our participatory mapping walks into the Russian Arctic. There are several sites in Russia’s northern wilds that we are interested in testing out our methodology in, enabling us to access a different population with different histories and relationships to outdoor spaces. There are bound to be challenges – linguistic, cultural, logistical – but we are convinced that the Russian Arctic would be a useful and relevant field site for our work, in addition to being a fascinating place to carry out research.