"I think I have always had a small reseacher hidden inside - ever since I was very young. It probably mostly come from my great interest in culture, oral storytelling, including myths, legends and linguistics. These are subjects that have always interested me. Originally, my interest was mainly in linguistics - then it was culture studies that caught my interest."
"And ever since I entered the old Herrnhut building in 1989 as a student .. then I knew that this was where I belonged. This was my home."
"It was so me! .. because I would like to have more knowledge and learn about the Greenlandic society - and about everything within the concept of culture. So I applied and was employed in the late 1990s. And I've been working ever since!"
What is your current research about?
"Right now I mostly conduct research in interdisciplinary cultural studies from a critical distance." [at this moment, the interviewer probably looks like a question mark - but fortunately Birgit quickly elaborates with a more mundane explanation].
"It's about that through literature, media, public debate one can get really good insight into what is happening in society right now - what is being talked about in society - areas that either inspire or excite people. Throug literature one can get a really good reflection of what is happening of important things in society. This is what literature can - and that is what I find interesting to research. For example, horror stories - or monstrous narratives can in reality cover all the taboo that would otherwise not be put into words - just as they can reflect what a cultural community fears. Horror stories are not so 'innocent'. We put our anxiety, our concerns into words. In that way, research in Greenlandic literature can give us a better understanding of our society, our culture - in our own self-understanding. And in this way we can also better equip our students to be able to analyze their own culture and other societies."
What motivates you in your research?
"It is a central part of my identity to be a researcher. And having helped in building up a young university - that still motivates me a lot. It motivates me to help further develop Ilisimatusarfik - giving my research on to our students so that they can be equiped as well as possible when they come out to the work life - preferably with a knowledge that can be translated constructively in building society."
Birgit - why is your research important for the Greenlandic society?
"As I said before, cultural studies from different angles - preferably from an strange angle or politically incorrect angle - can when necessary provide a very good reflection of our society in Greenland - for better or for worse."
Thanks to Birgit because she volunteered for our new initiatives in this newsletter. You can read more about Birgit on her profile pages.
.. And now this interviewer will go out and buy some Greenlandic horror stories ..
Great interest in the opening of Ilisimatusarfik's new Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre
Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre
Ilisimatusarfik has created a three-year professorship to research the social, political and economic aspects of oil and gas related activities in the Arctic.
The purpose of the two professorships is to strengthen the role of research and studies on the social, political and economic aspects of oil and gas related activities in the Arctic. The research center and the professorships will be based at the Institute of Social Sciences, Economics and Journalism at Ilisimatusarfik.
The research and related studies can include interaction between oil and gas industries and Greenlandic society, including legislation, demography, mobility, employment, environmental and social impact assessments, economy, innovation, infrastructure, and social and cultural issues and so forth.
KNR radio recorded the opening - which soon is available on their website.
You can also read more about the Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre on our website.
Rector Tine Pars welcomes at the opening (photo below left) .. and Rachael Lorna Johnstone (closest) and Anne Merrild Hansen (farthest away) are ready for their opening presentation (photo below right)
The thinking chair - Ilimmarfik campus - designed by Aka HÃ¸egh
Do you need professional expertise - for example for an article or the like?
Then help is very close by.
On our website, we have developed a catalogue of subjects, where you can find a researcher in different disciplines - for example:
During the visit, the committee expressed particular interest in regards to Ilisimatusarfik's research dissemination to the part of the population that only speaks one language - and the committee expressed the wish that Ilisimatusarfik to a greater extent gives back to the community at large in terms of dissemination.
The committee also thematised the development of our language for research purposes, and the question of whether we have the right educational programmes was raised. The demand for educational programmes within the country's most important industry - fishing - was also mentioned.
We thank the committee for Culture, Education, Research and Church for some construcive meetings.
Again this year, Ilisimatusarfik organizes 'Summer University' (photographer: Tine Pars)
Once again, Ilisimatusarfik proudly presents: 'Summer University'.
Again this year, Summer University takes place during the summer holidays at Ilisimatusarfik - for present and accepted Ilisimatusarfik students in Nuuk who want to improve their academic skills.
So far, we are offering these courses as part of our Summer University:
Basic Project Management (in Danish)
More information will be available soon on our website - where you also can register.
Crown Prince Frederik visits Ilisimatusarfik during Arctic Winter Games
Arctic Winter Games 2016
During Arctic Winter Games, Ilisimatusarfik was buzzing of life - with many school pupils every day, visit by Crown Prince Frederik, and much academic activity for our own students.
Among other things, our students made exhibitions focusing on the Arctic countries - and our journalist students moved into the press center at Hotel Hans Egede, where they reported along with journalists from around the world: they wrote for Arctic Winter Games' official newspaper Ulu News together with the Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq.
During Arctic Winter Games, our Ilimmarfik-building was also an important center of activity - with different creative workshops for many of Nuuk's school pupils.
Thank you to Arctic Winter Games for an excellent sports and cultural event .. and we are already looking forward to a possible next time.
Tree of knowledge - Ilimmarfik campus - designed by Aka HÃ¸egh
Here is an outline of our researchers' latest publications:
You can always find an updated and complete outline of our media publicity on our website.
Past and present - Ilimmarfik campus - designed by Aka HÃ¸egh
Ilisimatusarfik in the world & cooperation
Our researchers etc. often participate at conferences around the world - with papers and presentations .. here are the latest examples:
29 March - 04 April rector Tine Pars participates in Nordforsk boardmeeting, Hindsgavl seminar, meeting with the working group for a bachelor degree in science, UArctic caucus meeting, meeting with member of the Danish Parliament Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, meeting with the French Embassy in Denmark, meeting with the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and meeting with the rectorate at the University of Southern Denmark
22 May 2016, Stig Andersen became adjunct clinical professor at the Institute of Nursing & Health Science.
Remember, on our website, you can easily find contact information for all our researchers and staff.
Internationalisation - partnerships and network
At Ilisimatusarfik, we are part of many great partnerships and network around the world - and you can always see a list on our website.
Illustratively, it looks something like this:
Ilisimatusarfik | GrÃ¸nlands Universitet | University of Greenland