What the project is about 

Arctic Cultures

This website is presented by the ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator Grant project ARCTIC CULT – ‘Arctic Cultures: Sites of Collection in the Formation of the European and American Northlands’ led by Dr. Richard Powell. The project is undertaken by a team based at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Constructions and Collections

ARCTIC CULT investigates the construction of the Arctic that emerged from the exploration of the region by Europeans and North Americans and their contacts with indigenous people from the middle of the sixteenth century. During the exploration and colonisation of the Arctic, particular texts, cartographic representations and objects were collected and returned to sites like London, Copenhagen, Berlin and Philadelphia. The construction of the Arctic thereby became entwined with the growth of colonial museum cultures and, indeed, western modernity.

Project Aims

This project aims to delineate the networks and collecting cultures involved in this creation of Arctic Cultures. It involves research at museums, archives, libraries and repositories across Europe and North America, as well as in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. ARCTIC CULT aspires to establish new understandings of the consequences of colonial representations and decolonial processes for debates about the Circumpolar Arctic today.


Life in IlulissatThe Polar Museum, SPRI, CambridgeNaming space in Iqaluit