Day 7: ICRPS 2020 Launched

By: Samira and Louis

Today we were scheduled to get out into nature, but our plans were foiled by Lapland’s unpredictable summer weather. The arctic sun which has made it so difficult to sleep this past week disappeared, forcing us to have class inside on this cold, wet Sunday. However, while we couldn’t go outside, we had no shortage of things to do. Today’s lesson started with a history lesson on the American holiday of Juneteenth from Tuskegee University’s Kara Woods, followed by a moving poem by her colleague Lindsay Lunsford. Robert Zabawa then led us on a tour through a wide range of research methods, with some help from Ryan Gibson, Bill Ashton, and Ray Bollman. From these four, we got to learn about ethnoscience, key informant interviews, the Delphi method, and data analysis. This was an excellent opportunity to sharpen our research skills and learn more about methods that some of us had not tried before.

Around mid-day, Bill presented the location and theme of next year’s ICRPS Summer Institute at the University of Brandon in Manitoba, Canada. In 2020, ICRPS will look to the “Futures of Rural”, a theme which several students commented is well chosen. Thierno then led us in an evaluation of this year’s ICRPS institute so far. Students shared constructive criticism and feedback for the faculty. Despite Thierno’s insistence that we not withhold any complaints, we all expressed that the past week has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

After a break, the entire group headed to a river-side restaurant named Valde Maari. Students and faculty enjoyed the rainy weather from inside, with a beautiful view of the river throughout a comforting meal. Dinner even came with a show, as our own Josep serenaded us with a few songs on acoustic guitar. The day concluded with a farewell speech from our good friend Carlos, who along with 5 other MUrCS students will sadly be leaving us for the next stage in their international journeys.