Below is a logbook of activities in the project. The activities include both case studies in the project. The Swedish one, the iron ore mine in Kirunavaara, managed by the state-owned company LKAB, is said to be the largest and most modern underground mine in the world. It has a long history, of more than a hundred years of mining. Kirunavaara translates into the bird “ptarmigan” (mountain grouse), by the Samis named Gironvárri and in meänkieli, by the Tornedal Swedes, Kierunavaara. The mountain is among the high mountains and as the crow flies, it’s about 60 km from Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. The Canadian case is based on the Cameco Corporation’s uranium mine at McArthur River in Saskatchewan. Related to the McArthur and Key Lake facilities (where the mill is), Cameco has about 900 employees and about 750 contracted employees. Click here for a video by Cameco (not us) showing the McArthur River mine. The partner for the Canadian case study is the (now closed down) International Centre for Northern Governance and Development at the University of Saskatchewan.
Logbook (latest first)
Apr 23, major revision on the Swedish paper.
Apr 20, desk reject of the Canadian paper, slightly re-worked and submitted to another journal on Apr 25.
Apr 16-18, in Kiruna on a writing retreat (another project), but find time to take coffee and food with a handful of people we’ve got to know during our project.
Mar 16, submitting the paper on the Canadian case.
Jan 2, submitting the paper on the Swedish case.
Dec 31, the money from Forte, financing the project since January 2015, is all used up.
Nov-Dec, at work, writing, writing, writing up the project.
Oct 16-18, in Kiruna, Johan visits the town and meets with both previously known and new persons.
Oct 12-14, in Stockholm, Johan visits Tommy at Stockholm University for analysis and writing.
Sep 9-30, in Luleå, we exhibit our project together with artist Magnus Fredriksson from Kiruna, at the city library.
May 31-Jun 2, in Luleå, paper writing and discussions together with professor Bradon Ellem, Sydney University.
May 15-17, again, analytical work, this time Johan travels to Tommy in Stockholm for days of analysing.
May 3, Johan attends a workshop on Social License to Operate (SLO) in Skellefteå together with researchers from Sweden and Finland. He also presents the project.
Apr 9-12, as the process of analysing our empirical material intensifies, Tommy travels to Johan for days of more focused analytical work.
Mar 24-26, Johan goes to Kiruna to dismantle the exhibition.
Mar 16, in Luleå, Johan interviews a contractor to LKAB.
Mar 8-12, in Kiruna again, this time to build the art exhibition at the city hall together with local artist Magnus Fredriksson. On March 11, we have the vernissage. When building the exhibition we meet a couple of persons previously interviewed and are introduced to some new acquaintances, realising to some extent why the city hall is called the Kiruna residents’ living room.
Feb 22-25, Johan travels to Kiruna with a colleague from Ltu, Curt Persson. For the first time we make use of the facilities at Kiruna lärcentrum, where Ltu staff can book a room (we didn’t know before…). Interviews with people from the municipality and study visits to local tourist companies in Jukkasjärvi are conducted. Johan also meets with a supplier to LKAB and with artist Magnus Fredriksson to plan the exhibition of Organizing rocks at Kiruna city hall in March 11-24.
Jan, before mid-January, we submit two different abstracts to two different scientific conferences (EGOS and FALF). One is about the McArthur River case and one is about the Kiruna case. Conferences take place this Summer so Spring will be much about writing-up!
Dec 13, in Luleå, Johan meets with a person who has grown up in Kiruna and worked above ground, but who now lives in Luleå.
Dec 8, in Luleå, Johan interviews a young miner working underground.
Dec 2, the third music album, Gruvan, makten, samhället (in Swedish), is released.
Nov 28, we decide to travel less and start reading recorded and transcribed interviews from the start of the project. A writing-up process begins and we decide to provide snippets from the process through shorter “Storyteller” posts on the blog.
Nov 11, during the day, at the Tak Brzmi Miasto culture and music conference and festival, in a session on “Music and science”, we present the project using cross-media and live music (we played three songs) to a small audience of people outside of academia. During the evening at a local scene down town Cracow, we play seven songs live (mix of English and Swedish).
Nov 10, at Jagiellonski University, Cracow, Poland, using cross-media (blog, video, music, pictures) and live music (we played two songs), we present the project for over a hundred students at the institute of culture.
Oct 20, at Uppsala University, we participate at the annual conference for business studies in Sweden. Before lunch we are in the panel together with two other researchers on the theme “Business researchers study societies”. At the end of the day, we perform live, four songs in Swedish about the Kiruna mine.
Oct 2-5, in Kiruna, we meet with three persons previously interviewed and then two new acquaintances: a retired miner and a union man.
Sep 14, in Luleå, Johan interviews a person who has worked underground, in the front-line, with blasting.
Aug 23-25, in Kiruna, Johan meets “old” acquaintances, interviews a new supplier, and lectures about the project as part of Tornedalsteaterns dayprogram before their show Malmens väg (the way of the iron ore) in Kiruna.
Aug 18, Johan lectures about the project as part of Tornedalsteaterns dayprogram before their show Malmens väg (the way of the iron ore) in Luleå.
Aug 9, the second music album, Production, is released.
May 22-25, in Kiruna again. This time around we had a good feeling about things (see post below, Mar 20-23). We are still outside the gates, but we met the local union (gruvtolvan) and they will assist us with interviews. That is such a relief. We talked to some “old” acquaintances, but also added a few new ones (workers inside the gates, a new supplier). During this stay, we also sent 10 songs to Krakow, to be mixed and mastered (one song is yet to be completed). The second album is on its way.
May 12, Organizing Rocks first music album is premiered at Luleå Campus. The release party also featured the book “Case studies” (in Swedish) in which this project has a key role in the last third of the book.
May 4, invited by Ingenjörer utan gränser (Engineers without borders) at campus, Johan presents the project for students in Luleå.
May 3, Johan attends an open conversation at the House of Science in Luleå, on the topic “Indigenous people and land rights”.
Apr 28, Johan attends LKAB:s annual meeting at the House of Science in Luleå.
Apr 15, Johan is invited to present the project for a local Rotary club in Boden, Sweden. He also conducts a video interview with Dr Christina Allard at Luleå University of Technology, expert at indigenous rights.
Mar 20-23, heading to Kiruna again. In the last minute, our two visits to the mine was cancelled, leaving us with the choice of either staying at home, or do some re-scheduling. We opted for the latter. We did not manage to book some “last minute” interviews, rather expected as people normally have plans. We conducted the two previously planned interviews (really interesting), met with people we have interviewed before (important to stay in contact), and went out to shoot some background scenes for the documentary (it cannot be enough, considering that we are such amateurs). We also wrote two new songs.
Feb 28-Mar 3, Tommy visited Uniwersytet Jagiellonksi W Krakowie in Poland, invited by professor Monika Kostera and assistant professor Michał Zawadzki. Tommy presents the project in a lecture. Though not escaping the ppt-tyranny, the blog site was used (pictures, music, texts) and the song Kiruna you maggot was played live; an acoustic version. There is a small fragment of the song available here. The questions from the audience focused on if we, in the project, with a cross media method, could engage with researched people in a more, say, democratic way, and about the relation between the scientist and those who are studied. Love these questions! Tommy also visited a studio in Krakow to begin working on mastering the first ten songs written during the project.
Jan 23-27, in Kiruna, eight time. Feels like we were in Kiruna ages ago! A lot of catching up, both with Kiruna and with ourselves. We go inside the gates again for a very good interview with a middle manager. We meet with two different suppliers and visit the vernissage of an art exhibition by young students at the city hall. We also shoot some film, take some photos and make three new songs (two in English, one in Swedish).
Dec 14, in Sydney (Australia), Johan presents the project (focusing on the Kiruna case) at the business school at the University of Technology Sydney for 90 minutes.
Dec 10, in Sydney (Australia), Johan presents the project (focusing on the Kiruna case) at the APROS/EGOS conference.
Dec 1, Johan interviews a senior manager from Cameco, interviews a research associate from a band in the north, telephone interviews a contractor from the north (owned by a band) to Cameco, conducts a short video interview with Greg Poelzer with the help of Max Poelzer, interviews two senior managers at a contractor (owned by a band) to Cameco.
Nov 27, back in Saskatoon, Johan interviews two workers and meets with two senior managers at a contractor (owned by a band) to Cameco. He also meets with a professor in labour studies at the university.
Nov 25-26, invited by the faculty of business administration at the University of Regina, Johan presents the project and meets with local scholars.
Nov 23, Johan conducts two interviews at the Cameco headoffice in Saskatoon.
Nov 20-23, on the second trip to Saskatchewan, invited by Cameco, Johan spends three nights and four days at the McArthur River uranium mine site (only fly-in/fly-out workers). He is given a tour underground and of the facilities, meets a lot of workers and managers, makes an over-the-day visit to the mill in Key Lake, and basically lives the camp life.
Nov 4, in Luleå, Johan makes a popular science presentation of the project (focusing on the Kiruna case) for 45 minutes at the House of Science.
Oct 25-28, in Kiruna, seventh time, a thin layer of snow on the ground and ice on the walkways, but beautiful weather. We repeatingly tell each other: “It’s good to be back in Kiruna”. The days are intense, interviewing three different persons from the company (meeting them outside the gates), two from the municipality, two from two different suppliers, one from the employment agency, and Magnus, the animator. We shoot some film of where the new city centre will be, of Ullspiran (seems as if half is gone by now) and of the trains arriving back to the mine. We borrow a guitar from what has become a dear friend in Kiruna and record one song and write a new one in the hotel room during two evenings. Must be Kiruna inspiring us.
Oct 24, in Luleå, Johan talks about the paradox of the north at a local book and image fair (at the House of Culture), and uses Organizing rocks as core example.
Sep 7-8, in Kiruna, sixth time, Johan meets with animator Magnus Fredriksson (also of Kiruna arts association) to discuss further collaboration, conducts a video interview with an underground worker and the following day gets guided around the dams behind the mine and visits a new art exhibition at the Kiruna city hall. Very intense and constructive days.
Sep 5, Johan visits Dan Jåma again to show what’s been done so far in the project (video-wise). Again, a very inspiring meeting!
Aug 27-28, in Boden, Johan visits the fair “Load up north”, where several key actors in the mining industry (and other heavy industries relevant to the north) present their businesses. Johan meets one of the suppliers to the Kiruna mine and listens to keynotes by, among others, Peter Erkki and Tage Lundin from LKAB.
Aug 18-21, in Kiruna, fifth time. The trip starts with a video-interview of an underground worker, a follow-up interview with another worker and a trip up Loussavaara to meet the sunset. The following day, Johan rides for five hours with an underground truckdriver. Tommy does the same the day after. We get several new and highly relevant contacts, and a feeling of frustration arise. There are so many to meet, but so little time! Playing with the idea of core-periphery in the project, we also have two very interesting meetings with what might be called ‘peripheral’ actors (to the labour process, that is). The first is with the Kiruna art association (see our blog post from Aug 13) and the second with a 19-year old person (about growing up in Kiruna and about young peoples’ relation to the mine). Both these ‘peripheral’ interviews prove very valuable to us.
Jun 18-29, on the first trip to Saskatchewan, Canada, Johan spent six days in Saskatoon, with about 300.000 people the largest city in the province, and Missinipe, a small village five hours north of Saskatoon. The days spent in Saskatoon involved meeting people at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), predominantly at the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development (ICNGD), at the mining company Cameco, and getting to know the city itself (by walking, having a lot of coffee, visiting the local jazz festival etc.). The days in Missinipe consisted of a workshop (the Walleye Seminar) with about a dozen other scholars and practitioners on governance and development issues related to northern areas in predominantly Canada, Norway and Sweden.
May 17-20, in Kiruna, fourth time around. This time we shoot some ‘mandatory sites’ on film. As we try to produce shorter videoclips it is amazing to realize how we forget to shoot the obvious… We’ll get there. We also conducted five interviews. Really interesting, again. Are the people in Kiruna spoiling us or is it perhaps a combination with our different take on research methodology? We also take the chance to visit production facilities above ground, the processes of dressing and concentration. Noisy, greasy, wet, huge machines, a lot of stairs and levels, high-tech controlrooms and hands-on mechanics. Our host (a manager) spends four hours with us, allowing us to shadow him during his workday, taking us to different places (at high speed!). We also manage to recruit two bloggers (a mine worker and a mine manager) for our website. It is, we believe, important that our project have some independent – in relation to us as researchers, that is – commentators. They will soon be on-line at organizing rocks.
May 6, in Stockholm, Tommy presents the project for the management department at Stockholm Business School. He uses only our homepage for the presentation.
May 5, in Luleå, Johan interviews a supplier to the mine, but who used to work for LKAB (see February 1-4, 2015).
April 26-29, in Kiruna, on arrival we are taken on a two hours ‘social’ tour by car by the local supplier we’ve got to know. He shows us where the new Kiruna centre will be located, areas that will be ‘discontinued’ when the mine expands, areas where he grew up and played at as a kid, and much more. The next day a senior manager meets us at the gates, gears us up and then takes us on a three-hours tour of the new main level at 1365 metres. It takes about 20-25 minutes to reach the new level by car from the entrance to the mine. This means that most local workers working underground have a longer commuting time from the entrance to the mine to the new level compared to the time spent traveling from their home to the gates. During our stay in Kiruna, we also interview an underground worker, two middle managers and a supplier.
April 23, Johan presents the project for members of the technology students’ union at Luleå University of Technology. He uses only our homepage for the presentation.
April 17, in addition to taking photographs, shooting film, blogging etc., today Tommy starts writing and recording music for the project.
April 16, Johan visits Dan Jåma to show what’s been done so far in the project (video-wise, that is).
April 13, Tommy presents the project at the After methods workshop at Mälardalens University for a wide range of scholars.
March 17, in Luleå, we meet filmmaker Dan Jåma for a full day of inspiring conversations, all arranged by Filmpool Nord. In the evening we listen to professors Lena Abrahamsson and Jan Johansson (both at Luleå University of Technology), who gives a public talk about “The good work”. Lena and Jan have great experiences from the mining industry so we also take the opportunity to interview them both in front of the camera.
March 8-11, in Kiruna, less complicated weather this time, a rental car make us more able to move around, particularly when shooting film. We interview six persons: one senior manager, two middle managers, an underground worker, and then we revisit the guide and the local supplier we met the last time. We’re also allowed to shoot an interview with the supplier (in his home) on film, our first.
February 16, in Luleå, Johan meets with Filmpool Nord to talk about our ideas of documenting the project by shooting film as well. They decide to hook us up with a filmmaker (see March 17).
February 1-4, in Kiruna, our first trip and we arrive in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. Full on Winter. Monday morning we spend four hours with an excellent guide from LKAB, taking us to the visitors’ mine and around the works above ground (poor visibility makes it difficult to grasp it all). Having seen it all on screen and on paper, it’s quite a different thing being taken on a tour. We also meet a middle manager at LKAB and a local supplier to the company. All our photogear is put to use. We shoot film, make a lot of technical mistakes, hoping that the learning curve will be steep. Ah, by the way, one evening we end up at the pub, Bishops arms, and it proofs to be a lucky evening as we strike up an interesting conversation with an experienced mine worker who now works for a supplier (see May 5, 2015).
January 30, in Luleå, Johan tapes an interview with historian Curt Persson at Ltu. Curt is a very rich source when it comes to the context and history of the Kirunamine.
January 28, Tommy presents the project at the Stockholm Business School for management scholars visiting from Lancaster University, UK.
January 26, in Luleå, Johan meets with Max Poelzer, a young filmmaker from Saskatchewan, Canada, to talk about our ideas to make a documentary movie. Max is really helpful.
Photos by Johan Sandström.