- Associate Professor working above the Arctic Circle in latest of many international projects
- Posting to Arctic University of Norway aimed at conducting research on program which trains nature walk guides
- Northern hemisphere post is a world away from her hometown of Port Macquarie
A Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) academic working above the Arctic Circle has been inspired by Social Sciences Week to reflect on her longstanding career and believes her current assignment is proof a career in social sciences can “take you anywhere”.
Associate Professor in Interpretation and Ecotourism Rosemary Black (pictured in Svalbard, Norway) began working at Charles Sturt in 1995, and is usually based in Port Macquarie.
Across her career as an academic in the School of Environmental Sciences, Professor Black has conducted research, offered expert advice and delivered professional training in locations as geographically varied as Rwanda, Bhutan, Canada and Myanmar.
Her latest international post is in the city of Alta in northern Norway, known as the ‘Town of the Northern Lights’ and located 375 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, almost literally a world away from her sunny beachside hometown of Port Macquarie.
Professor Black is working on a collaborative funding application to conduct research on an Arctic Nature Guide program that is run through the Arctic University of Norway.
The Faculty of Science tourism expert said her current location was eye-opening in both a professional and personal capacity.
“Working here as a visiting professor has been an incredible experience,” Professor Black said.
“In my social sciences career I have been extremely fortunate to work in some of the most amazing corners of the world, and this work in Norway is no exception.
“My time here has given me an insight into some of the challenges of tourism in Norway, the increasing tourist numbers, the impact of tourism on the natural environment, and the difficulties facing remote tourist destinations.”
She said the Arctic Nature Guide program is a unique one-year course which trains nature adventure guides wishing to work in the challenging conditions of the Arctic.
The course covers safety, leadership, first aid, navigation, interpretation, risk analysis and values-based guiding, and is conducted in one of the northernmost towns in the world, Longyearbeyan, which is situated on an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole.
Professor Black, a member of the Institute for Land, Water and Society research centre, will remain well and truly entrenched in the northern hemisphere when her current project is completed.
Upon leaving the Arctic University of Norway, she will visit Holar University in northern Iceland to study the impact of tourists on a local seal colony and explore how to best influence tourist behaviour to minimise the impact on the mammals.
“I’m looking forward to another Arctic experience in Iceland that has very different tourism challenges,” she said.
“All these nature-based tourism destinations must aim to deliver sustainable tourism so we can protect natural and cultural areas and sites for the future, and at the same time educate our tourists about the value of these areas.”
Social Sciences Week runs from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September.