The workshop has grown out of a series of informal annual meetings started in 1970 by John T. Andrews The purpose of the early meetings was to give graduate students an opportunity to present their ongoing research, gain experience in public speaking, and obtain feedback from more senior researchers. Subsequent meetings retained this emphasis while simultaneously expanding the contributions of professional researchers. For many years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has generously supported graduate student participation. In 2004 Tad Pfeffer (INSTAAR) became the Workshop Director.

The workshop is held at INSTAAR every two years. During alternate years, the workshop is hosted by various academic institutions worldwide and supported by NSF and INSTAAR. These institutions often obtain additional support from their respective governmental agencies.

38. 2008  Boulder, CO (INSTAAR, Univ of Colorado)
37. 2007, Reykyavik, Iceland (U of Iceland)
36. 2006
35. 2005, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Earth and Atmos Sciences, U of Alberta).
34. 2004
33. 2003, Tromsø, Norway (Norwegian Polar Inst; Dept Geology, U of Tromsø)
32. 2002
31. 2001, Amherst, Massachusetts (UMASS Geosciences & Climate System Research Cntr)
30. 2000
29. 1999, Seattle, Washington (College of Forest Resources, U of Washington)
28. 1998
27. 1997, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Dept of Geography, U of Ottawa)
26. 1996
25. 1995, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, (Centre d’Etudes Nordiques, U Laval)
24. 1994
23. 1993, Columbus, Ohio (Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State Univ)
22. 1992
21. 1991, Fairbanks, Alaska (Alaska Quaternary Cntr, U of Alaska Museum, U of Alaska)
20. 1990, Tromsø, Norway (Geology, U of Tromso) – two workshops in same year.
19. 1990
18. 1989, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (Geography, U of Lethbridge)
17. 1988
16. 1987, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Boreal Inst for Northern Studies, U of Alberta)
15. 1986
14. 1985, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada (Bedford Inst of Oceanography)
13. 1984
12. 1983, Amherst, Massachusetts (Dept of Geology & Geography, UMASS)
1-11. 1970 – 1982, Boulder, Colorado (INSTAAR, Univ of Colorado)