NxN Festival: We came, we spoke, we mingled, we ate (...and ate...and ate)

By Gretchen Fauske, Center for Economic Development Associate Director

Panelists and participants in the North by North Festival gather in the Anchorage Museum atrium for a group "fishbowl" conversation.

Panelists and participants in the North by North Festival gather in the Anchorage Museum atrium for a group "fishbowl" conversation.

Team CED recently attend the North by North (NxN) Festival at the Anchorage Museum. NxN brings innovators and researchers from across Alaska, the nation and other Arctic regions to collaborate and address local and circumpolar challenges. When combined with films, food, and music featuring talent spanning the Arctic, the program yielded an inspiring, provoking, and fun-filled few days.

These were our takeaways/highlights/favorite parts/moments that left a lasting impression:

“I love the exchange of knowledge with other Arctic regions of the world. We often think of Alaska as such a unique place, that we easily forget that other places around the world also confront remoteness, cold climates, and the economic challenges that come with those things. Dialogs like this help me to see Alaska as part of a robust global exchange of information.” - Nolan

“I appreciated the manner in which panelists shared and discussed conflicting points of view. The diversity of thinking, and the desire to learn from one another and understand our differences was incredibly powerful.” - Gretchen

“I learned about Anchorage’s sister cities and how they are linked to us, which led me to explore potential opportunities in Tromso, Norway. I had a wonderful time seeing familiar faces and meeting new people while sampling traditional meals from the North during the food festival.” - Ciara

“It’s ALL about the food.” - Julia

“Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s talk left me with a question to ponder: ‘How do we expand our band of knowledge and communicate our research in simple, easy to understand terms?’” - Cassie

“I have a fresh perspective about Alaska as an arctic nation, and the opportunities we have to celebrate our common culture and understand the different ways we are tackling similar problems.” - Jacqueline

“I was interested in the research shared by Chris McDonald from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showing the role of innovation and spending per GDP and how it helps diversify the economy...and discovering that Alaska is second to last amongst Arctic nations.” - Nigel

“Charis Gullickson from Nordonorsk Kuntsmuseum spoke about how Sami (Native Norwegian) art does not have it’s own museum in Norway and is also underrepresented in national museums. The Nordonorsk Kunstmuseum was rebranded as a Sami museum and filled only with Sami art, thus removing Nordonorsk Kuntsmuseum and creating an alternate reality in which the Sami museum had always been. This alternate reality represented an alternate set of historical events and future circumstances” - Julia (again)

“I really enjoyed the diverse panel discussions. I was particularly inspired by the lively discussion around food, all things food. Panelist and audience members talked about everything, from food deserts and the food web, to traditional food harvesting, and hydroponic farming. Lots of great ‘food’ for thought!” - Margo


We came curious...and left inspired. Thank you to Institute of the North, the Anchorage Museum, Toast of the Town, and the rest of the organizing committee for creating such a wonderful event. Cheers to yet another great NxN!