Mountain Research and Initiatives

Thinking Mountains Conferences

Thinking Mountains is a unique interdisciplinary event: a conference that aims to promote dialogue about how mountains are understood physically, as ecosystems, in human history, and as part of world cultures. Mountain areas comprise about one-fifth of the world’s land surface area and provide direct life support for about 10 per cent of humankind. They act as indirect life support for another three billion people, and inspire recreational, artistic, and religious experiences.

Thinking Mountains is a meeting place for the best scholarship about mountains in the sciences, fine arts, social sciences and humanities to better understand mountain peoples, places, and activities.

Conference events have included: keynote presentations by renowned scholars from across the disciplines, and papers on a wide variety of topics, showcasing recent research in this diverse and exciting field. This conference is also an opportunity to meet established authors, professors, and other recognized experts in mountain studies, along with those who are making their own name in the field.


Thinking Mountains 2015

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Keynote speakers

  • Dianne Chisholm (English and Film Studies, University of Alberta)
  • Pat Deavoll (Author, Climber, and Journalist)
  • John Geiger (Author, and CEO of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society)
  • Katie Ives (Editor-in-Chief, Alpinist Magazine)
  • Jeffrey Kavanaugh (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta)
  • H.V. Nelles (Department of History, McMaster University)
  • Chic Scott (Guidebook Author, Writer, and Mountaineer)
  • Pat Thomsen (Executive Director for the Mountain Parks, Parks Canada)

Thinking Mountains 2012

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Keynote Speakers

  • Robert Bateman, artist, naturalist, author
  • Dr. Julie Cruikshank, anthropologist, University of British Columbia
  • Sharon Wood, Nancy Hansen, Thirza Carpenter, and Dr. Dianne Chisholm - a special moderated conversation with Canadian women on climbing and mountaineering
  • Dr. Andrew Bush, climatologist, University of Alberta
  • Dr David Hik, Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Ian Urquhart, political scientist, University of Alberta