Susan Barr

Vice President

Norway – Founding President 2001-2010

Independent Researcher

Susan Barr has a BA Honours degree from University College London in Scandinavian Studies, with Viking Age archaeology as an extra specialisation. Her PhD is in historical archaeology (Norwegian = “etnologi”) from the University of Oslo. In March 1979 she was appointed the first full-time cultural heritage officer for the Norwegian Arctic (Svalbard and Jan Mayen) and has since then worked solely with polar heritage and history. In October 1982 she moved to the Norwegian Polar Institute, then in Oslo, and took charge of the historical collections of written material, photographs and some artifacts. When the Institute was moved to Tromsø in 1998 the position of Polar Advisor was created for her at the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. She left there as Director for Polar Matters at the end of 2016. Susan has had extensive field work in the Arctic in particular as well as in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic (South Georgia). She has authored a large number of publications concerning polar history and cultural heritage. She became a member of ICOMOS in 1989 and in 2000 she became the Founding President of the ICOMOS IPHC, moving to the position of Vice President 2012-2018, then Arctic Advisor 2018-2021 and again Vice President 2021-2024. She was the first President from the Humanities of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) 2014-2018. She is on the Board of the Fram Museum in Oslo and the Norwegian Polar Club and was a member of the Research Council of Norway’s Polar Programme Board 2007-2019 amongst other polar-related positions. In April 2019 Susan was made an Honorary (Life) Member of ICOMOS Norway in recognition of her work for polar cultural heritage.

Research projects/interests

Polar cultural heritage and conservation

Polar history


Antarctic archaeology Charter

Regulation of polar tourism and environmental management

Promoting the humanities within polar science

For publications visit:

To get in touch:


Historical archaeology, Arctic and Antarctic History, Polar heritage, Cultural heritage values, Cultural heritage conservation, Environmental impact assessment