Sustaining, knowing and ‘living’ the Blue? Coastal communities as places to belong across generations


Sustaining, knowing and ‘living’ the Blue? Coastal communities as places to belong across generations

Call for abstracts

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, NTNU, and NTNU Oceans welcomes you to the interdisciplinary conference Sustaining, knowing and ‘living’ the Blue? Coastal communities as places to belong across generations in Trondheim 15-16 June.

Logo for Norway as a Sea Nation. Illustration

The conference concept

The conference concept

The ocean nurtures 80% of life on our planet. Coastal landscapes have been a home for people worldwide for centuries, earning a living in close interaction with the seas. Children were brought up to be of use in closely knitted families and communities, learning essential skills and knowledge from an early age, of key importance for making a living in rugged coastal landscapes. Growing up to be ‘coastal’ or an islander was closely connected to overall moral values of working together for a common good in mutually interdependent communities.

Coastal communities are characterized by being in transition with regard to economies, working life, demography, and social-cultural life. While many coastal communities are facing challenges in relation to depopulation, declining employment opportunities in the fishing sector, and depletion of fish stocks, others are prospering economically due to new ways of using marine resources, such as fish farming production. Rising sea and ocean levels as well as other changes brought about by climate change, pollution and new contested ways of using sea resources to make a living, raise questions of economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability of coastal communities.

Children and young people are important but often overlooked actors in creating sustainable livelihoods, economies and knowledge in coastal communities for the future. Children’s and young people’s lives and education today are connected to growing up in societies characterized by rapid transition calling into question what it means to be coastal.
Education is seen as key to enter sustainable economies worldwide, as a ticket for individuals to succeed in the labour market, and as a tool to promote life quality. However, the relationship between education and sustainability more broadly beyond economic growth is debated. Moreover, the interconnection between education, work, everyday life, and life quality in coastal communities remains to a large extent unexplored. Historically, children, and young people learnt through work and responsibilities as part of social and economic reproduction of the wider family and community. We witness shifting and competing forms of knowledge, and an increasing valuing of formal education as a key for future (working) life.

Many coastal societies today are characterized by ethnic diversity, creating complex dynamics in relation to inclusion and exclusion. These and other changes have wide ranging implications for present everyday life and future development of inclusive and sustainable societies for present and future generations.

Here, you can download the call as a pdf file.

  • Dr. Rachel Donkersloot is an anthropologist with broad policy and research expertise in rural fishing communities across the North Pacific and North Atlantic. Her work concentrates on issues of fishing community sustainability, equity, rural well-being, Alaska Native livelihoods, marine resource governance, and contemporary youth in the Global North, and incorporates and respects diverse forms of data and knowledge that can improve management and decision-making processes. Dr. Donkersloot is strongly committed to collaborative solutions-orientated projects in ethical partnership with Universities, communities, non-profit organisations, Indigenous Tribes, and other civil society organizations across Alaska. Her excellent work has been published and produced widely within and outside the world of academia, including ethnographic filmmaking. She has been invited to present her work to such decision-making bodies as the Alaska State Legislature, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Rachel currently serves as Affiliate Faculty at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was recently appointed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to serve on the Local Knowledge, Traditional Knowledge and Subsistence Taskforce. She currently lives in Aniak, Alaska with her family and manages her own research and consulting firm, Coastal Cultures Research.
  • Professor Svein Jentoft is a sociologist and a Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, Faculty of Bioscience, Fisheries and Economics, UiT- the Arctic University of Norway. He is current Editor in Chief for Maritime Studies and a co-editor of the Mare book series on Springer. Throughout his career his work has focused on social and political issues related to fisheries and marine affairs, specialising in small-scale fisheries management, law, corporate and interactive governance, environmental resource management and co-management, through socially and culturally informed solutions. He has published widely with over 25 books, numerous book chapters and hi-index articles. His work has had a global impact in multidisciplinary fields pertaining to fisheries, including more holistic approaches to public participation, decentralization, participatory management and comparative research.
  • Michael Corbett is a Professor of Education in Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. His original and critical research focuses on the dynamic and ambivalent relationship between life in rural coastal communities and the structures and processes of schooling. He has worked with rural communities and schools in Australia and Canada as well as doing international comparative work in Norway and Finland. Corbett’s 40-year career as an educationalist began as a public-school educator an Indigenous community in northern Manitoba and in several Atlantic coastal communities in Nova Scotia. This experience has shaped his scholarly focus on the uneven development of modern education systems throughout the world, and particularly in the rural Canadian context. Corbett’s research stands at the intersections of rural outmigration, youth educational decision-making and learner identities. The positioning of rural learner identities is informed by key concepts of space, place and (im)mobilities in his work, and how these local educational processes are shaped by the politics of global educational assessment and standardization. He has published widely with over 200 scholarly contributions including authored and edited books, scholarly articles, reviews, book chapters, reports, conference presentations and invited addresses.

Findings from the 5 countries in the collaborative research project will be presented by key partners in plenum; Spyros Spyrou, Eleni Theodorou, Dympna Devine, Aoife Crummy, Firouz Gaini and Anne Trine Kjørhiolt, in addition to session presentations from participants in the research group.

The anthology Valuing the Past, Sustaining the Future. Exploring Coastal Societies, Childhood(s) and Local Knowledge in Times of Global Transition, edited by Anne Trine Kjørholt, Sharon Bessel, Dympna Devine, Firouz Gaini and Spyros Spyrou will be launched at the conference.

This interdisciplinary conference is related to the research project; Valuing the past, sustaining the future. Education, local knowledge and identities across generations in coastal communities at Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, funded by Research Council Norway. The project is conducted by a team of interdisciplinary researchers from five countries and it is part of NTNU Oceans. The overall aim of the conference is to create a dialogue between different disciplines and research traditions related to the marine environment with the wish to provide a critical, renewed and deeper knowledge base about the shifting and dynamic interplay between education (non-formal and formal), society and working life, bridging past-present-future. Children and young people are a particular focus of investigation, but we believe a broad scope, and a contextual and relational perspective is fruitful as a source of knowledge to inform and critically renew policies and practices.

The conference welcomes contributions from different disciplines and fields such as (but not limited to) history, sociology, geography, anthropology, marine sciences, comparative literature, rural studies, gender studies, in addition to education and childhood and youth studies.

Submission of abstracts:

Abstracts of 250-400 words to be submitted by January 31st, 2023, to the conference secretary Kari Vikhammermo.

Please include author’s name(s), affiliation(s) and contact information
Paper presentation: 20 min excl. discussion

Important dates:

January 31st, 2023: Deadline for submission of paper proposal abstracts
March 6th, 2023: Preliminary programme
April 1st, 2023: Early-bird registration



It has been argued that; ‘Children living in coastal communities, at the water’s edge, between the sea and the hinterland, have an everyday life with the view of the ocean promising ‘an endless horizon’. Coastal childhoods are shaped by close interaction with the sea and the oceans in everyday life, in communities characterized by rapid transition with regard to economies and working life, livelihood, identity formation and intergenerational relations. While children in the past grew up to ‘be of use’ within interdependent intergenerational communities, it has been argued that children today are brought up to be ‘authentic and unique self’, putting a high pressure on humans, and challenging a sense of community.

This stream focuses on childhoods as these are lived, practiced, experienced and remembered, in close interaction with the sea and the coastal landscapes. Everyday lives, relations between and across generations through time, in various coastal communities will be of interest.

  • Growing up to be coastal; relational perspectives and memories of childhood
  • Historical and contemporary perspectives on children, gender, family - and community life
  • Exploring and dreaming the coast and the seascape through play and leisure
  • Exploring the sea and the coast through children’s literature
  • Children and young people; Individualization, diverse identities, values and lifestyles
  • Learning to care for the sea and nature
  • Material culture, emotions and the embodiment of waterborne identities
  • Post-Covid era in coastal communities
  • Researching coastal childhoods; theoretical perspectives and methodologies

Coastal livelihoods, work and economies changing over time have created new dynamics between ‘traditional’/local forms of knowledge, formal education and scientific knowledge contributing to the formation of a variety of marine epistemologies, often revealing different values and interests among people (gender, ethnicity, age, lifestyle).

This stream focuses on the role of knowledge and education in transition across generations, to shed light on how various forms of knowledge, such as local knowledge, environmental, and indigenous knowledge, have been/are transmitted and transformed from older generations to younger through intergenerational practices, - or neglected and being lost. Provokingly we may ask: Is contemporary formal education valuing individualized, theoretical and abstract knowledge promoting ‘urban lifestyle’ essential to sustain coastal communities? What is ‘blue education’? To what extent are the insights of earlier generations of coastal people still relevant to us?

Different forms of knowledge are closely intertwined with values and particular ways of living also reflected in marine policies and politics. Important questions are how the different forms of knowledge frame the human-ocean relationship in different ways and inform decisions about how to meet future challenges.

  • Blue education? Changing working life and the dynamics of various forms of knowledge
  • Children and work, contesting contemporary formal education?
  • Place-based and intergenerational learning; past, present, future
  • Marine epistemologies; competing interests with regard to resources and spaces?
  • Indigenous knowledge and cultures; transmission and co-creation across generations
  • Sustainable education? Coastal landscapes as places to explore, play and learn from early childhood and beyond (gender, culture and ethnic diversity)
  • Youth in coastal communities: gender, occupational aspirations, education, work (im)mobilities
  • Learning to leave? ‘Stayers’, ‘movers’ and early school leavers

Social practices as part of livelihoods in coastal and marine environments shape individual and collective well-being. Sense of place and belonging, derived through close interaction with the oceans and the sea environment, has been described as an integral component of well-being and health. Furthermore, being of use, and abilities and feelings of contributing to a wider community is essential to promote well-being among children and young people. There is a close interconnection between cultural vitality, creativity and well-being aimed at socially sustainable blue communities.

This stream welcomes contributions that in different ways engage with questions of how different blue livelihoods are related to health. What are the elements and factors that promote and enable individual and collective health and well-being among children and youth? What is needed in order for ‘blue growth’ to contribute to a more just and equitable distribution of marine resources, and thus well-being among different groups and generations?

  • Being ‘new’, feeling included and valuing the blue? Well-being and sense of belonging among migrants (children, youths and adults)
  • The coast as home and place to belong or not belong for a diverse population (gender, ethnicity, age)
  • Placemaking, identities and belonging in coastal communities across generations and gender
  • ‘The bodies in the sea’, and ‘the sea in the bodies’ Nature, the seascape and well-being
  • Health, well-being, equity and justice related to different livelihoods and economies
  • Coastal identities, values, and cultural knowledge as sources of health and well-being?
  • Growing up to be coastal: Intergenerational communities of work as health promotion?
  • Being responsible and connected, feeling well? Work as a source of well-being for children

Small-scale fishing is traditionally anchored in and promotes moral values of community thinking, promoted within mutual interdependent and intergenerational communities of work. Fishing has been described as a ‘way of life´, influencing how the community understands and makes sense of the world. Coastal communities are in transition. What new livelihood opportunities are made available in the blue economy, and what are the roles of children and youth in new ways of living blue? Is knowledge, ways of living, skills and values of previous generations, vital for present education, identity and connectedness among generations, as well as for sustainable futures? How can new ways of living and thinking blue further develop community values, solidarity and interconnection between different generations? What do a blue economy and blue growth mean for the diversity of people living on the coast, and for children and young people?

  • ‘Blue economies’ in transition. How can new thinking, new ways of using resources and making a living from oceans and the seas, contribute to economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability?
  • Contesting blue economies and blue growth? Tensions, different values and interests
  • Preserving, protecting and developing the oceans, the seas and marine environments Challenges to environmental sustainability. Youth engagements
  • Promoting inter-and intra-generational justice, cohesion and socially inclusive coastal communities
  • Cultural heritage and collective social memories as sources of identities, belonging and cultural sustainability
  • Food and meals as a lens to explore coastal communities in transition
  • Valuing the past, sustaining the future? The cost of individualization and risk of deskilling of local knowledge with regard to young people’s identity and sense of belonging



Four of the seven articles are open access including the introduction.

Springer editors/authors will receive a 40% discount.

Professor Spyros Spyrou has given an interview on the book,




Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, NTNU
NTNU Oceans

Scientific Committee:

Professor Anne Trine Kjørholt, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Head of Committee.
Professor Sharon Bessell, The Australian National University
Professor Firouz Gaini, University of Faroe Islands
Professor Spyros Spyrou, European University Cyprus
Associate professor Eleni Theodorou, European University Cyprus
Professor Dympna Devine, School of Education, University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr. Aoife Crummy, School of Education, University College Dublin, Ireland

Conference Secretariat:

Senior advisor Anita Oxaas Karlsen
Advisor Kari Vikhammermo

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Postboks 8900, Torgarden
NO-7491 Trondheim

Facts, schedule and location:

Submission of abstracts:

Abstracts of 250-400 words to be submitted by January 31st, 2023, to the conference secretary Kari Vikhammermo. Please include author’s name(s), affiliation(s) and contact information Paper presentation: 20 min excl. discussion. The organizers are exploring the possibilities of a peer-reviewed publication following the conference.

Important dates:

January 31st, 2023: Deadline for submission of paper proposal abstracts
March 6th, 2023: The program for the conference is announced. Conference registration is open.

Register for the conference

Conference Dates and Location:

The conference will take place in Trondheim June 15-16th, 2023 at Britannia Hotel.

Conference fee includes lunch both days.
Registration; ‘Early Bird’ by April 1st, 2023: 200 Euro
Registration after March 1st April 2023: 250 Euro
Student fee: 80 Euro

Conference Dinner: 1055 NOK (approx. 105 Euro)


Britannia Hotel: 1895 NOK conference offer (approx. 190 Euro)

Nidaros pilegrimsgård: 890-1290 NOK (approx. 89-129 Euro)

NTNU Oceans



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Logo IPL

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. Logo


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The Research Project

Havlandet Project Description

Blog entry

Blog entry

Havlandet Norge (in Norwegian)

Anne Trine Kjørholt, professor of child research

Conferences and seminars

Conferences and seminars

Mini calevent portlet


In media




  • The village of Syðrugøta on the east coast of the Faroese island of Eysturoy. Photo.

  • Boy playing in the island of Jomfruøyene in Norway. Photo

  • Georges Bay in the town of St. Helens, Tasmania. Photo.

  • Fishing Netting Needle Shuttles. Photo.

  • Red Rocks of Tasmania's east coast. Photo.