Creative Cultures and Multiethnic Communities: Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity

Venue: Radisson Blu Polar Hotel

Location: Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Event Date/Time: Jan 11, 2015 End Date/Time: Jan 14, 2015
Registration Date: Aug 30, 2014
Early Registration Date: Jun 30, 2014
Abstract Submission Date: Jun 30, 2014
Report as Spam


The creativity of diverse communities.

Globalisation is about more than just massive transfers of populations and capital: It is also changing the way that local communities function. In much of the world, ethnic homogeneity is now the exception rather than the rule. Even towns and cities that have long possessed minority populations are becoming increasingly diverse as new nationalities supplement established minority communities.

The challenges of cultural, religious, and racial diversity play a prominent role in the public discourse surrounding ethnic diversity. But how can localities harness multiculturalism for community benefit? Can cultural diversity contribute to cultures of creativity, strengthening community cohesion and the competitiveness of local businesses? Is it possible for multicultural communities develop a sense of shared vision and values? What can policymakers and community leaders do to make the most of multiculturalism’s creative potential?

Creative Cultures and Multiethnic Communities will explore these and other questions through a combination of field trips into the polar night in the community of Longyearbyen and academic and policy presentations (13-14 January).

The multiethnic Arctic.

Located in the Svalbard archipelago, between Norway and the North Pole, the settlement of Longyearbyen is the northernmost town in the world. It is also a multiethnic exemplar: Longyearbyen has just 2400 inhabitants, virtually all of whom are immigrants, representing over 40 countries. Although Svalbard belongs to Norway, citizens from around the world are entitled to work and reside here.

Longyearbyen is diverse, but is it multicultural? Does this Norwegian-dominated community draw strength from or simply attempt to ignore its countless national minorities? Can a town in which most residents stay for a few years and then move on truly create its own local culture?