Monday 5. May 2014

Sustainability Indicators and Maritime Heritage

Tuesday, May 6, two master‘s theses will be presented in the Coastal and Marine Management master‘s program at the University Centre of the Westfjords. Information, titles and abstracts are below. 

The presentations will be in room 6 at UW and everyone is welcome.

[mynd 1 v]
Measuring Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Communities an Application of the QualityCoast Indicators for Markgrafenheide/Hütelmoor

Johanna Schumacher


Advisor:  Gerald Schernewski, PD Dr. habil.

Reader:  Michael Honeth, MMM


Within the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Sustainable Development, the use of indicators to measure sustainability in coastal communities has garnered increasing interest. However, on a local level indicator use is often restricted to one-time applications or project duration, and they are rarely used by coastal municipalities due to their lack of direct and clearly visible benefits. A combination with a certification scheme such as the QualityCoast Award is hoped to add value and increase incentives for coastal communities. Hence, within the scope of this thesis the QualityCoast indicators’ potential to measure sustainability and climate change adaptation was assessed. A self-assessment tool based on the SUSTAIN methodology and QualityCoast indicators was developed and applied to three distinct points in time (1980, 2000 and 2013) for the seaside resort Markgrafenheide in Germany. A coastal protection and realignment scheme implemented in the study area built the basis for the analysis of the ways in which major changes are reflected in the results and to what extent coastal communities can improve their sustainability scores through appropriate measures. It was found that the scheme was reflected only limitedly in the indicator scores and that many indicators were outside the sphere of influence of the community. Identified reasons for this include the lack of suitable indicators in the QualityCoast indicator set to reflect climate change adaptation and nature restoration, as well as lacking benchmarks and weights. Furthermore, the large number of policy indicators and qualitative nature of indicators was found to be problematic. Finally, additional indicators and methodological changes for the aggregation and weighting of indicators are suggested, and trade-offs between local specificity and large-scale comparison discussed.
Keywords: Coastal Sustainability, Indicators, Self-assessment Methodology, Climate Change Adaptation, ICZM, QualityCoast




[mynd 2 v]
Beyond Representation: Maritime Heritage as a Vessel for Ethical Engagement in the Westfjords of Iceland


Râna Campbell



Albína Hulda Pálsdóttir, Zooarchaeologist, Agricultural University of Iceland, Faculty of Land and Animal Resources
Þorvarður Árnason, Director, University of Iceland- Hornafjörður Regional Research Center

Gavin Lucas, Professor of Archaeology, University of Iceland


The Westfjords of Iceland have seen steady depopulation related to the decline in the fishing industry over recent decades. At the national level, new cultural policies emphasizing regional development have taken shape alongside the growth of the tourism industry. This has resulted in a proliferation of private enterprises- cum- cultural institutions across the countryside, many of which challenge the representational styles and ideologies of older heritage museums. I conducted case studies of the Westfjords Heritage Museum in Ísafjörður and the Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur in order to produce descriptions of the meaning that local communities attribute to the kinds of maritime heritage represented by these museums; and to determine what values they associate with the museums as cultural institutions. I conducted twelve in- depth, phenomenological interviews with heritage professionals and decision- makers for these sites, and moderated a two- hour- long focus group discussion among five Westfjords residents with no professional ties to the museums, using key observations from the interviews as topics. Thematic coding of the interviews reveals that the museums find themselves at the center of important debates about identity, representation, museology, and cultural tourism in Iceland, in addition to embodying various types of well- established, complex issues in international heritage scholarship. Condensation of the focus group into broad theoretical categories situates the museums within their wider cultural landscape and introduces a diversified set of perceptions of heritage and representation. The study culminates in a rudimentary ethical reading of the results that serves to underline the importance of establishing an ethical framework for heritage representation and cultural tourism management in the Westfjords.