It rained yesterday and its raining again today. Greenlanders keep telling me this is abnormal. Usually by now, Sisimiut and many other Greenlandic cities would see only snow for precipitation. But instead, a cold rain has descended. It's covering the small amount of snow sitting on the ground and turning it to ice. Still, like Nuuk, even drizzle cannot mask the colorful beauty of this place.
Despite the looming presence of rain clouds, my first views of Sisimiut in daylight were impressive. The city is built on rock, with homes and public places perched high on different rock formations around the city. It is a place where ocean and mountains meet in a dramatic display of nature. Like in Nuuk, the houses are colorful. This Greenlandic tradition is a rather iconic representation of the country. I can already see this city has a lot of personality.
We had the chance to meet Dorthe Katrine, the Director of the Sisimiut Museum. She gave us a quick tour of the many buildings that make up the museum's campus. There you can learn about the Inuit and Danish cultures that have defined Sisimiut throughout history. We also saw the MANY artifacts that have flooded into the museum from a recent construction project that uncovered a midden (garbage area) from an early historical period. The preservation of these objects is unbelievable. Bone, antler, ceramics, glass, leather, metal objects some looking like they were placed in the ground just yesterday. How to preserve, study, and share this sudden influx of important artifacts will be a challenge for the museum. Overall, the tour of the cozy museum buildings and a warm coffee with the Director and her staff helped chase away the cold afternoon.
Yesterday was also full of preparations for the workshops that Alice, Hans, and I are offering as part of Greenland Science Week in Sisimiut. Led by Alice, a digital artist, archaeologist, and animator, we spent yesterday setting up. We found a perfect workshop space to host the 3D digital events, where small groups of participants will see three different methods of 3D photogrammetry and digital scanning. They will also hear ways to combine this technology with storytelling to share (and preserve) heritage. Planning a public event is always nerve-wrecking, but adding an entirely new place and a language barrier adds stress. Still, we prepped as much as possible in anticipation of the events that will start today.
Today will be a full day. After the workshops, Hans, Alice and I are giving an evening presentation on our collaborative project melding together 3D technology, virtual international learning, and Greenlandic heritage. Giving a presentation that needs to be simultaneously translated can also be a bit stressful. Have you ever given a presentation to an audience you didn't share a first language with? Applying Anthropology students, can you imagine presenting on the impact projects you are developing to a room full of professionals from a culture or language different from your own? What do you think that experience would be like?
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.