What if? Photo exhibition visualizes the imagined impacts of climate change

16.9.2016 13:00

In the Arctic, average temperatures are rising due to climate change almost twice as fast as in the rest of the world, but what does it mean for Arctic communities and nature? The photo exhibition Nanoq – Imag(in)ing Climate Change by Ilona Mettiäinen in Rovaniemi, Arktikum Science Centre visualizes some imaginary, possible and even impossible worlds that may result from climate change. Through displaying a polar bear figure in different natural environments, the exhibition challenges to think about the consequences of climate change and asks: what if?

The photography exhibition, open in Arktikum until 29th January 2017, visualizes a theoretical idea in Mettiäinen’s doctoral research by means of art, play and imagination. For the exhibition, the researcher has taken photographs of a polar bear, the symbol of climate change in the Arctic, between the years 2011–2016 in different parts of the Arctic and in India.

– Climate change is a complex phenomenon and hence a challenge for planning and decision-making. Especially planning on long time span involves also imagining of possible worlds, as my exhibition does. In my ongoing doctoral research I study how to reduce uncertainty on the regional socio-economic impacts of climate change by strategic planning and combining scientific knowledge with practitioners’ expertise, says Mettiäinen, who is making her doctoral thesis in the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland.


NANOQ – Imag(in)ing Climate Change
Photographs by Ilona Mettiäinen
Arktikum Science Centre (Pohjoisranta 4, Rovaniemi)

More information:
Ilona Mettiäinen
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
+358 (0)40 484 4273, ilona.mettiainen(at)