Olsen is currently working on research concerning commercialization of natural resources connected to hunting, fishing and tourism. This project examines the relationship between local use of natural resources in Troms and Finnmark, and the development of business projects using the same natural resources as assets. Olsen has earlier worked with popular music, and his PHD project was a discussion on innovation in popular music and the disappearance of popular musical revolutions (2004). Olsen has also worked with conflict and conflict reconciliation and has written about identity formation, culture and commercialisation, and acculturation.
Olsen is a member of the KURF Working Group Landskap og ressurser langs vannveier