Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Fashioning the new arctic: A perspective on indigenous cultural economy in the Russian north


Thesis (Electronic Copy Not Available)


This study investigated the current state, regional differentiation and prospects of the Indigenous cultural economy in the Russian North, as well as its possible role in the sustainable development of Indigenous communities. Detailed research on the cultural economy in the Russian Arctic is very limited, and even less knowledge exists in respect to Indigenous cultural economy. By providing a case study-driven examination of attitudes towards cultural economy and practical options to develop a culturallyappropriate fashion product this study is an important contribution that illuminates Arctic cultural economy and describes the ways in which it can be beneficial to the Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic and beyond.

The objectives of this project were (1) to collect survey and interview data to examine the state of Indigenous Peoples attitudes to cultural economy in the Arctic, (2) to analyze Indigenous artists’ experiences that could be applied to fostering cultural economies in the Arctic, and (3) to conduct a case study of developing the contemporary Indigenous fashion collection as a potential cultural economy product.

This study determined that, as expected, Indigenous artists have creative capacities to contribute to the cultural economy in Russia. Most Indigenous artists, especially from less remote regions and communities, expressed support and interest in developing the cultural economy, however, only a few of them currently participate in it. The key factors limiting the Indigenous cultural economy in the Arctic Russia include the gap between rural and urban communities, lack of young Indigenous artists, diverging views on innovations and mass production in the arts and crafts, low market access, and lack of entrepreneurial skills among Indigenous artists.

The fashion case study offered a model of collaborative practice for future designers, which builds on a deeper understanding of culturally-appropriate ways to source and design Indigenous-inspired prints, which are also attractive for a broad consumer audience. For artisans, the significance of this thesis could be to build an economically sustainable practice considering contemporary design.

Further collaborative, Indigenous-driven research is required to advance the body of knowledge and practice in Indigenous cultural economy to support economic opportunities, empowerment and self-determination of Arctic Indigenous communities.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

Andrey N. Petrov, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 81 pages)



File Format


Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.