This weekend Sisimiut hosted a UNESCO World Heritage Festival. For two days, researchers doing work related to the new Aapasait-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage site shared their work in Taseralik, the city’s cultural center. Here is a quick recap of some weekend highlights.
For two days, a small conference brought researchers from different disciplines together to share their work in and around Aasivissuit-Nipisat, the Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea. Archaeologists, Environmental Scientists, Architects, and others shared their projects. We were a bit limited in our participation, as the research was communicated in Greenlandic and Danish. When it came time for us to present, our words were simultaneously translated into both languages so that the split audience could follow. I was a bit nervous hearing the translator would throw me off, but I barely noticed. We also had the 3D Heritage workshop in the lobby both days (too close to the coffee and cake, so much caffeine and sugar consumed). The ‘drop-in’ workshop model provided the opportunity for great conversations and meeting people from these diverse projects all focused on Greenland. Often, the benefit of attending a conference is really the chance to dialogue with other researchers. Your presentation almost becomes secondary. This was no exception. As the three of us are here trying to explore opportunities for the future, talking to people is exactly what we wanted to do.
At the end of the research presentations, we also had the chance to see a demonstration of Allunaariaqattaarneq, an ancient Inuit fitness training to build strength and flexibility useful for kayaking. Many of the moves simulate rolling techniques when a kayak is capsized. Its really impressive to see in person.
In addition to the events of the conference, I also had the opportunity to do some casual interviews in pursuit of allowing you all to meet more Greenlanders. I was given a tour of Kalaallisuuliornermik Ilinniarfik, the school for traditional Greenlandic clothing production. One of its teachers, Pituaq Maria Kleist, sat down with me this morning and told me all about their work. I am so excited to share more about the school and the revival of traditional skills in the next day or so in a full post.
I also had a chance to sit down with two women vital in running the Sisimiut Museum and the events we’ve been involved in this week. They shared their work, as well as their hopes for the future of their institution. Video footage of my interview with them is coming up soon as well!
It’s been a full week. Tomorrow we fly back to Nuuk for the second week of Greenland Science Week back in the capital. Fingers crossed it’s a smooth plane ride south. As we leave the Arctic Circle, I am quite sad to leave behind this picturesque Greenlandic city. It may be cold here, but this town is a cozy place filled with warm people, interesting work, and unbeatable views.
I am an anthropology professor, writer, researcher and global traveler. This fall, I will be recording a research trip to Greenland as a virtual field trip for my students (and anyone else interested). Join us as we travel to the Arctic and learn about life in the far north.