Greenland Science Week 2021 – It’s a Wrap!

Authored by: Elsbeth Bembom / The Greenland Science Week team

Edited by: Danita Catherine Burke / Women in the Arctic and Antarctic

After a two year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greenland Science Week was once again held in person in 2021 with a wide range of events, discussions, seminars and activities across Greenland. This piece reflects and informs about the two amazing and inspiring weeks of the Greenland Science Week where universities, institutions and citizens together with public and private stakeholders to work together on ‘making Arctic science matter’.

Greenland Science Week in Sisimiut, Sarfannguit and Kangerlussuaq

During the first week (1 – 7 November 2021), visitors participated in workshops, seminars and tours in Sisimiut, Sarfannguit and Kangerlussuaq, where Greenland Science Week and the World Heritage Festival joined forces to enable good opportunities for researchers and citizens to meet.

The Greenland National Museum and Archives and the National Museum of Denmark also hosted daily workshops, where participants could recreate cultural heritage objects into digital 3D artefacts.

Arctic Research Days conference in Nuuk

The following week, the Greenlandic capital of Nuuk became the heart of Greenland Science Week activities. The ‘Arctic Research Days’ conference was kicked off with a wonderful opening reception at Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland.

After the welcoming words by Rector Gitte Adler Reimer to the approximately 140 participants, the attendees were able to taste innovative Greenlandic seafood snacks, such as deep fried mattaq (whale blubber) and seasoned fish skin crisps.

At Greenland’s cultural centre, Katuaq, the conference continued with keynote presentations, early career scholar presentations and panel debates encompassing a broad range of disciplines and community and industry stakeholders.

The central question throughout the conference was how we can make science matter for local societies, businesses and needs in the Arctic. As a result, many debates and presentations provided inspiration and examples of how to work with and learn from multiple modes of knowledge productions and elaborated on the challenges of research collaborations.

The conference program explored a variety of topics, ranging from studying narwhals in the anthropocene to food security, culture and identity and eye examinations among children in Greenland. Among the speakers, the majority were female Arctic researchers, such as Natuk Lund Olsen, Rachael Lorna Johnstone, Outi Tervo and many more.

Research festival

It is the vision of Greenland Science Week to offer a platform for collaboration and research across disciplines, industries and borders. In that spirit, an open Research Festival was organised for the public to engage with snappy and catchy research presentations. The audience were able to listen to the future generation of Greenlandic researchers, such as Upaluk Jensen, a high school student and intern at Greenland Telescope. Upaluk presented her project on exoplanets. Eva Garde, researcher at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, showed impressive pictures of her research on narwhals.

The festival ended with Science Cinema, where the audience could sit back and watch a carefully selected program of movies related to Arctic research.

To reach out to a wider audience, the Research Festival was streamed on Facebook. We also posted images on Facebook and Instagram by tagging Colourful Nuuk, the local tourism organization, who shared our content on their channels. All the English and Danish talks were simultaneously translated into Greenlandic. 

Save the date!

Greenland Science Week 2021 has finished for now. Luckily, we can already start looking forward to the 2023 edition of Greenland Science WeekSo save the dates for 30 October – 5 November 2023 in Sisimiut and 7 – 12 November 2023 in Nuuk, where we continue the important work of anchoring Arctic science in local needs and concerns!