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Ragnhild Freng Dale

Ragnhild Freng Dale

PhD candidate, Scott Polar Research Institute

Making Resource Futures: Petroleum and Performance by the Norwegian Barents Sea


Ragnhild is trained in Anthropology at University College London, and has worked at the intersection of academia and the performing arts since 2010. She has a particular interest in relationships between art, anthropology, resource politics and social change, and has published and presented work for a wide range of audiences, from academic and arts professionals to the wider public.


  • 2018-present: Researcher on climate change adaptation and transition, Western Norway Research Institute (Vestlandsforsking)
  • 2016-2017: Researcher and assistant director, Trial of the Century for Traavik.Info
  • 2013-present: Freelance theatre critic, cultural worker and performer
  • 2013-2014: Researcher and devising actor, STORM by Moon Fool Theatre Company
  • 2013: Country organizer (Norway) for


  • 2014-2019 (expected): PhD, Polar Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 2015 (autumn): Language studies in Northern Sámi, Sámi allaskuvla (Sámi University College)
  • 2008-2012: BSc Anthropology, University College London.


  • 2018: Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards, University of Cambridge
  • 2016: Sjur Holsen Memorial Prize
  • 2014: Gates Cambridge Scholarship Award
  • 2014: Skjervheimprisen (in memory of the philosopher Hans Skjervheim)
  • 2014: 'Betwixt and Between'-award for best annual article (in 2013) by current MA students at Norwegian universities.
  • 2013: Meltzer scholarship, awarded by the Meltzer Foundation at UiB for fieldwork in Germany.
  • 2012: Dean's List, Department of Anthropology, UCL.
  • 2012: Darryll Forde Award, Department of Anthropology, UCL.
  • 2011: Research grant, Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (Norway)


My research is concerned with how conflict and consent around extractive industries is created and performed in the Barents Region, with a view across sectors from public policy and business to civil society and activism. My fieldwork is mainly located in Northern Norway and Sápmi, the land of the Sami people who are indigenous to Northern Europe. Through my fieldwork, I look at issues that emerge when the petroleum industry enters the region of Finnmark and the city of Hammerfest, and what this comes to mean for local and regional populations. My thesis aims to illuminate perspectives that are often made invisible or structurally set aside as the history of a changing region is written, and show how they are important to understand the values at stake in the region.

I have previously worked with and studied how theatre and arts act in society to make change at different levels, which informs my theoretical background as well as my methodology. I am interested in how the notion of performance can be used to understand aspects of the social fabric; how companies perform their CSR policies and become part of the fabric of society; how groups opposing this development mobilize and organize to place their values in opposition to those of industry and sometimes also "big society"; and how arts and theatre offers alternative spaces, discourses and strategies in society.

Research affiliations

  • ENERGETHICS, University of Bergen (Department of Social Anthropology). (2015-present)
  • Arctic Justice Network,coordinated by Institute of Russian & Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University (2018-present)
  • Indigenous peoples and resource extraction in the Arctic: Evaluating ethical guidelines Àrran Lulesami Centre, Norway (2015-2017)


Selected articles and book chapters

  • Müftüoglu, I. B., Knudsen, S., Freng Dale, R., Eiken, O., Rajak, D. and Lange, S. (2018) 'Rethinking access: key methodological challenges in studying energy companies.' Energy Research & Social Science, 45. pp. 250-257.
  • Dale, R. (2018) "Petroleum in the Barents Region: what counts as local content?" In A. Szolucha (ed.) Energy impacts
    and contested futures
    . London: Routledge.
  • Jerstad, H. and Dale, R. F. (2018), "WHY THE WORLD NEEDS ANTHROPOLOGISTS: POWERING THE PLANET". Anthropology Today,34: 20–21.
  • Dale, R. (2017) "Når veksten blir bærekraftens fiende". I Dybedahl, Kristjánsson, Innset og Hverven (red.): Ingen mennesker er født frie. Oslo: Dreyers forlag.
  • Dale, R. (2016) 'Veivalg for universitetene i klimaendringenes tid' In Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift, 1:2016
  • Dale, R. (2015). "Studentenes og universitetenes rolle i omstillingen til en fornybar framtid." In Broen til Framtiden. Oslo: Gyldendal.
  • Dale, R. (2013) 'Tydelig utydelighet: prosess og kroppsteknikk i fysisk teater'. In Betwixt and Between: sosialantropologistudentenes tidsskrift 23: 2013.
  • Dale, R. (2013) Brecht in heutigen Norwegen', i Räume, Orte, Kollektive, Neofelis Verlag.
  • Dale, R. (2012). 'Melting ice, empty lands, and the new imagery of an 'opening' Arctic'. In Tvergastein: interdisciplinary journal on the environment.
  • For a full list of my writing, see here:

Presentations and seminar papers

  • Dale, R. (Aug 2018) "Arctic landscapes in the courtroom: politics, justice and public debate" Royal Geographical Society

    Annual International Conference 2018. Cardiff, Wales.

  • Dale, R. (Feb 2017). "Petroleum in the Barents Region: local content or dreams at sea?" ENERGY IMPACTS: People, Responsibilities and the Contested Futures of Energy Developments. University of Bergen (UiB).
  • Dale, R. 2017 (Feb 2017). "Theatre, petroleum and the Norwegian Constitution". Presentation at seminar Forum for vitenskap og demokrati: "Grunnlovens miljøparagraf - fra ord til handling", UiB.
  • Dale, R. (Nov 2016). "Snøhvit and petroleum in Hammerfest". ENERGETHICS workshop (with invited CSR representatives from Statoil). Closed seminar for the ENERGETHICS research group, Department of Social Anthropology, UiB.
  • Dale, R. (Jan 2016). "Extracting the social: anthropological approaches to the extractive industries in the Arctic" Presentation during the "Emerging Leaders" PhD Course, in relation to Arctic Frontiers 2016
  • Dale, R. (Sep 2016). "Challenges for the Norwegian oil industry; the view from Finnmark." Contribution to a discussion panel during Fossil Fuel Supply and Climate Change Policy: An International Conference by Stockholm Environment Institute, at The Queen's College, Oxford, UK.
  • Dale, R. (Oct 2014) 'Universitet, veivalg og bærekraft'. Seminar paper at 'Petroleumsforskning og etikk: Hvor går universitetene
    nå?'. National Committee on Research Ethics (Norway).
  • Dale, R. (Sep 2014) "Creating community by means of performance: walking the German-Polish borderland". 'Whither political theatre?', University of Cambridge.
  • Dale, R: (Sep 2014) 'Hva er et fossilfritt universitet?' (What is a fossil free university?), Skjervheimseminaret, Voss.
  • Dale, R. (Jun 2014) 'Walking the borderland: artistic interventions in rural Germany, Panel 52: Art, politics, ethnography, ASA Edinburgh.
  • Dale, R. (Nov 2012) 'Pitching entanglements - unfolding and constructing a social movement'. 'Activisms' panel, (invited session),American Anthropological Association's AGM, San Francisco.
  • Dale, R. (Jun 2012) 'Constructing Tunable Bodies: Becoming Performer in Physical Theatre'. Studio Matejka: The Human/Body as a 'Cultural Actor' University of Salford.
  • Dale, R. (Mar 2012). 'Constructing Tunable Bodies: Becoming Performer in Physical Theatre'. Breaking Bubbles: first National Anthropology Undergraduate Symposium. Kent University of Canterbury.
  • Dale, R. (Mar 2012) 'Occupy Anthropology? A sideways look at the Occupy movement'. Breaking Bubbles: first National Anthropology Undergraduate Symposium. Kent University of Canterbury.

External activities

  • Board member, Nordic Summer University (2015-2017)
  • Editorial Board, Tidsskriftet Røyst (Norway) (2013-present)
  • Member of Norway's National Arts Critic Association
  • Freelance theatre critic and advisor on a range of art projects