THE International Circumpolar Observatory (ICO) was launched in Buenos Aires, in May 19, 2016, as a joint endeavor of the Universidad del Salvador (Faculty of Social Sciences, International Program for the Study of Circumpolarity, Antarctica and Local Communities in Extreme Environments, PIECA, Argentina), the Université du Québec à Montréal (Research Chair on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, and International Laboratory for the Multidisciplinary Study of Representations of the North, Québec, Canada), the University of Iceland (Faculty of Social Sciences, Iceland), the University of Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) and the National Technological University (Rio Grande, Argentina).

It is an Observatory with scientific and socio-cultural goals in order to research and promote the circumpolar issue in both hemispheres, looking for the identification and proposal of solutions to the emerging problems thereof. The Observatory is a multilateral “umbrella” founded for a creative search of international convergences and new perspectives related to the Arctic, Antarctic and circumpolar problems, and its interrelations. 


Organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences, PIECA, Universidad del Salvador (USAL) and the University of Tierra del Fuego

(Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Rio Grande)

About the auspicies

  • The International Association of Circumpolar Socio-Cultural Issues (IACSI)
  • The Foundation for High Studies on Antarctica & Extreme Environments (FAE, Argentina)
  • Arctic & Antarctic—International Journal of Circumpolar Socio-cultural Issues,
  • The Research Chair on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic at the Université du Québec à Montréal, The International Laboratory for the Multidisciplinary Study of Representations of the North at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

About the fundaments

  • The increasing importance of the multidisciplinary study, including natural sciences when they deal with socio-cultural issues, and research of the comparative circumpolarity as a phenomenon not only territorial but also socio-cultural, regarding the Northern circumpolarity (Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Québec, Canada, the Inuit world, Alaska/USA, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Russia, China) and the Southern circumpolarity (Antarctica and sub-Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia -Argentina & Chile-, Uruguay, Southern Atlantic Islands, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia), including the Winter perspective.
  • Workshops and international conferences organized by IACSI from 2005 about circumpolar socio-cultural issues in Argentina, Québec, Canada, Iceland and Finland, as well as national and international film exhibitions in Iceland and Argentina.

About the goals

  • To seek and compare mutual interpretations and solutions in order to strengthen the links between the Northern and Southern circumpolarities, Arctic and Antarctic/sub-Antarctic communities, regional studies, local communities’ reflexivity and identity, to enrich and redeploy concepts and practices through new narratives of connection and comparison.
  • To strengthen, share and intensify the use of digital data in the field of cultural and social research, in both circumpolarities.
  • To promote scientific and cultural comparative studies, field research, documentation support, art practices, national and international meetings and conferences, academic and scientific exchanges, scientific publications, and the dissemination of knowledge to the communities, territories and institutions involved, in both Hemispheres.
  • To tend to a more ample circumpolar consciousness at local, national, regional, continental and international levels, both in the South and the North, in relation to the educational system at all levels and also to intensive dissemination in all different media.
  • To increase the exchange of academic and scientific staff, both in sciences and arts, and also the exchange of artists, postgraduate and graduate students between countries and institutions of both circumpolarities and elsewhere.
  • To promote studies on indigenous peoples in both Northern and Southern circumpolarities, and their convergences.
  • To call for national and international arts exhibits, film and digital media exhibitions, tending to the identification and promotion of the circumpolar socio-cultural issues.
  • To increase the production and promotion of scientific and cultural publications related to the issues thereof.
  • To promote contests and proposals in the educational system at all levels, on the circumpolar socio-cultural theme, in order to impact not only in educational systems but also within local communities.
  • To publish a biannual scientific and socio-cultural report about Arctic & Antarctic circumpolar socio-cultural issues in both Southern and Northern circumpolarities.