Portraitfoto Susanna Gartler

Mag. Susanna Gartler

PraeDoc, Project collaborator

Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor
Room: A0404

E-Mail: susanna.gartler@univie.ac.at
Homepage: http://www.sub-arctic.ac.at/members/susanna-gartler/

Research Focus Areas

  • Critical Indigenous Studies
  • The Built Environment
  • Indigenous Cultural Centers
  • Oral History
  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Climate Change
  • Permafrost Thaw
  • Sustainability
  • Arctic Studies

Short Biography

Susanna graduated in 2011 at the University of Vienna in social and cultural anthropology. Her diploma thesis discussed the term subsistence and it’s contested meanings, especially in the Arctic.
Her PhD project focuses on Extractivism and the making of a First Nation cultural centre in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Her supervisors are Prof. Peter Schweitzer (University of Vienna) and Dr. Gertrude Saxinger (University of Vienna).
From 2014 to 2019 she was a project collaborator  with “Labour mobility and community participation in the extractive industries – Yukon”, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada and the Yukon Territorial Government through the research program ReSDA (Resources and Sustainable Communities in the Arctic). She also collaborated on the project “Arctic Youth and Sustainable Futures” funded by Nordic Council of Ministers.
Currently Susanna is a researcher with “Nunataryuk – Permafrost thaw and the changing Arctic coast, science for socioeconomic adaptation“, funded by H2020, EU grant agreement No. 773421. She is the PI of its social science components in the Beaufort Sea Area, Canada.

Selected Publications

  • 2021 with Taiya Melancon and Eileen Peter: Being Young in the Yukon – Youth Perspectives on Extractivism and a good Life. In: Stammler, Florian & Toivanen, Reetta (eds.). Young People, Wellbeing and Placemaking in the Arctic. Routledge Research in Polar Regions Series
  • 2021 with Hogan, Joella and Gertrude Saxinger. The Living Culture House. First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Cultural Revitalization and the Making of A Cultural Centre. AAS Working Group Publication. Lit Verlag: Vienna.
  • 2021 Larsen, Joan N.; Schweitzer, Peter; Abass, Khaled; Doloisio, Natalia; Gartler, Susanna; Ingeman-Nielsen, Thomas; Ingimundarson, Jón H.; Jungsberg, Leneisja; Meyer, Alexandra; Rautio, Arja; Scheer, Johanna; Timlin, Ulla; Vanderlinden, Jean-Paul; Vullierme, Magali. 2021. "Thawing Permafrost in Arctic Coastal Communities: A Framework for Studying Risks from Climate Change" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2651.
  • 2019  With First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders, Hogan, Joella and Gertrude Saxinger: Dän Hùnày – Our People’s Story. First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders’s Memories and Opinions on Mining. Mayo: ReSDA/FN NND/Yukon College (CAN).
  • 2019 with Prof. Peter Schweitzer and Vera Kuklina: Sustainable Cultures and Cultural Sustainability. In: Arctic Sustainability: A Synthesis of Knowledge. Petrov, A. & Greybill, J. (eds.). Routledge
  • 2018 One Word, Many Worlds: The Multivocality of “Subsistence”. In: Alaska Journal of Anthropology (Vol. 16; no. 2)



Most human activity in the Arctic takes place along permafrost coasts and these coasts have become one of the most dynamic ecosystems on Earth. Permafrost thaw is exposing these coasts to rapid change, change that threatens the rich biodiversity, puts pressure on communities and contributes to the vulnerability of the global climate system. NUNATARYUK will determine the impacts of thawing coastal and subsea permafrost on the global climate, and will develop targeted and co-designed adaptation and mitigation strategies for the Arctic coastal population.

NUNATARYUK brings together world-leading specialists in natural science and socio-economics to:

1. develop quantitative understanding of the fluxes and fates of organic matter released from thawing coastal and subsea permafrost;

2. assess what risks are posed by thawing coastal permafrost, to infrastructure, indigenous and local communities and people’s health, and from pollution;

3. use this understanding to estimate the long-term impacts of permafrost thaw on global climate and the economy.

NUNATARYUK is guided by a Stakeholders’ Forum of representatives from Arctic coastal communities and indigenous societies, creating a legacy of collaborative community involvement and a mechanism for developing and applying innovative evidence-based interventions to enable the sustainable development of the Arctic.

Duration: 6 years (2017 – 2023)
Funding: EU Horizon 2020, BG-2017-1, EU grant agreement No. 773421
Coordinator: Prof. Hugues Lantuit (Alfred Wegener Institute)
Website: https://nunataryuk.org/


Extractive industry operations have always been connected to labour mobility. For over thirty years, long distance commute work (fly-in/fly-out: FIFO) has emerged as a key model of labour force provision for mining activities in remote regions. This is the case in sparsely populated areas of the circumpolar north such as those seen in many communities in northern regions of Canada. This fact brings about high influx of qualified workers and engineers from southern urban groups and challenges local participation in this labour market. Hence, mines are often located far away from communities in the north which requires the local populations to commute and stay on a rotational basis in camps for extended periods. There can be benefits and disadvantages to this type of arrangement and the impacts are not clearly understood. Mobility in the context of local participation in the extractive industries is an emerging field to examine in social sciences. Most extractive industry operations require a highly mobile workforce and this has impacts on people and communities in the North. A crucial aim of this project was to have effective partnerships and community collaboration with meaningful involvement in the research and creating materials that can be effectively used by communities to support their needs.

Methods and Methodologies included semi-structured interviews and long-term stays in the Yukon for anthropological field research in Mayo, Whitehorse, Dawson City and short stays in several mines. Furthermore, intense collaboration with the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun (FN NND) was achieved through involvement of community researchers as well as young people who were both interview partners and took part in research activities. Community workshops provided reflections of results and pushed research questions further, to include local research needs. The following topics have been covered by the LACE project:

1) Rotational shift work and mining-community relations, benefiting especially young and early career miners, and their families

2) Oral History: FN NND Elders and mining, this component was proposed by FN NND Chief and Council to cover the opinions and memories of FN NND Elders on the extractive industry

3) (The planning of) Cultural Centers, benefiting the planning of an FN NND cultural center, a topic that was developed jointly by the Heritage Manager and Susanna Gartler

4) Arctic Youth/Young adults, focused on life of the young generation (18-30 years old) in the Yukon.


Film ‘Mining on First Nation Land: The First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun ’, 13 min. (2017) produced by the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun, filmed by Gertrude Saxinger, Robert Gebauer, Jörg Oschmann, and Susanna Gartler

The Mobile Workers Guide. Fly-in/Fly-out & Rotational Shift Work in Mining. Yukon Experiences. .Gertrude Saxinger and Susanna Gartler (2017) Whitehorse, RESDA/First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun/Yukon College

Susanna Gartler and Gertrude Saxinger (2018) Memories of Mining. First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders Perspectives. Poster displayed in Hall of FNNND government house; produced for the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun

First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders with Susanna Gartler, Joella Hogan and Gertrude Saxinger (2019). Dän Hùnày - Our People’s Story. First Nation Of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders’ Memories And Opinions On Mining. Whitehorse, RESDA/First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun/Yukon College

Duration:  5 years (2014 – 2019)
Project Lead:  Gertrude Saxinger (University of Vienna; Austrian Polar Research Institute)
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), Yukon Government, Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research
Website: http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/resda/projects/research-projects/theme-2-sustainable-communities/labour-mobility/


Following up on a key recommendation in AHDR-II (2015), this project (2016 - ongoing) on “Arctic Youth and Sustainable Futures” (Arctic Youth) convenes an international working group of Arctic scholars, alongside Arctic youth representatives, to investigate and conduct research on the needs, opportunities and aspirations of Arctic youth, to fill an identified gap in knowledge on the lives, ambitions, needs and challenges of youth – indigenous and non-indigenous – across the circumpolar Arctic. The future of the Arctic will be determined by the choices youth make and their priorities in terms of culture and identities, where to study and where to live, and what occupations and lifestyles to pursue, as well as their choices concerning factors that affect the environment, and the impacts and adaptation to climate change. The working group will research the literature and existing knowledge, determine the scope of an edited volume in terms of topics in consultation with Arctic youth and an Arctic Youth Advisory Committee, conduct interviews, focus group discussions, a youth action forum, and web-based surveys, and thereby contribute to our knowledge on sustainable options for Arctic communities and localities, urban and rural, thus with a project well rooted at the local and regional level.

Duration: 2016 – ongoing
Project Lead: Dr. Joan Nymand Larsen (Stefansson Arctic Institute; University of Akureyri) & Dr. Jón Haukur Ingimundarson (Stefansson Arctic Institute; University of Akureyri)
Core funding: Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Cooperation Programme
Website: www.svs.is/en/projects/arctic-youth-and-sustainable-futures