Arctic Geopolitics

The Arctic is changing, and rapidly. Warming waters, melting ice and thawing permafrost are facilitating a transformation of the geopolitical environment. With the opening-up of new maritime passageways and strategic corridors, as well as the prospect for resource extraction the idea of the Arctic as a ‘place apart’ in global politics is fanciful. Every major world actor, from the US to China to the European Union, is interested in the Arctic, and the evolving competition which will shape the future of the region.

This IAS Spotlight Series will explore the Arctic’s significance in key contemporary debates about the Anthropocene through two workshops. Although the Arctic has been the subject of keen strategic rivalry before, as the region becomes increasingly ice-free, the opening-up of new strategic and commercial opportunities suggests it may be growing in importance to renewed great power competition.

Virtual Workshop: ‘Great Power Competition in the Anthropocene Arctic’ – 8-9 December 2020

This virtual workshop brings together a group of distinguished and early career scholars, as well as practitioners, to consider what great power competition looks like in the Anthropocene Arctic. Specifically, the workshop will explore and develop new concepts and approaches for improving understanding of how the Anthropocene interacts with inter-state rivalry.



  • Dr Duncan Depledge (lead), Loughborough University (UK)             
  • Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Loughborough University (UK)
  • Professor Simon Dalby, Balsillie School of International Affairs (Canada)
  • Dr Mia Bennett, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  • Dr James Rogers, Danish Institute for Advanced Study (Denmark)