On Whose Terms? Notes from a conference

Cultural difference is the starting point for a lot of activities related both to research and development cooperation. How to deal with cultural difference is a difficult question to answer. Whose terms are used? For the benefit of whom is research done? These were some of the topics treated on the NFU 2014 Conference in Tromsø.

The Forum for development cooperation with indigenous peoples had a small part in the making and coordination of the conference. NFU (The Norwegian Association for Development Research) has for years had an annual conference where topics related to development research are treated by scholars and others. The conference in Tromsø was co-organised by scholars from Visual Cultural Studies, the Centre for Sami Studies, the Centre for Peace Studies and the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, all at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

The conference gathered more than 120 participants from several fields of research and from different parts of the world. Raising as key issues communication, collaboration and power in development research, the speakers and participants were challenged to bring their competence, experience and knowledge to the table.

During plenary sessions and parallel sessions both different topics and geographical contexts were covered. The Forum for development cooperation with indigenous peoples has asked a number of students at the Master’s degree program in indigenous studies MIS to cover different parts of the conference and to write a small piece for this website. In the  following days, these texts will be published – some in the genre of a report, some making resumes and some being in the genre of a news report.

Read more from these students about African Crossroads, Cross-cultural awareness North-South, What’s the worst research, Cross-Collaboration research North-South, Education and Social Justice, Reflections on Reflexivity.

By Torjer A. Olsen, Chair, Forum for development cooperation with indigenous peoples.