Community Meetings - Sharing Ideas, Time, and Space
Community meetings are the oldest form of outreach utilized by Arctic researchers to engage with local Arctic residents. Nearly 100 years ago, while travelling through Utqiaġvik in 1924 during his famous scientific expedition across the Arctic, Greenlandic scientist and explorer Knud Rasmussen recalled being “invited to give a lecture at the local school house” to engage with community members. To this day, meeting with local community members in the Arctic remains as one of the most effective forms of engagement between Arctic scientists and Arctic residents.
Small Community Meetings
The O&E team can assist in organizing small meetings between scientists and local residents. The format of small community meetings is flexible and may include short seminars, roundtable meetings, or town hall discussions. As a gesture of respect and custom among local cultures in the Arctic, sharing food and/or refreshments during community gatherings can greatly increase local engagement. The O&E team can plan, advertise, organize, and host the event, so that science teams can focus on engaging with community members. For example, Greenland Kaffemiks are traditional gatherings in which community members gather in the afternoon to share food and time and to celebrate life events or milestones.
Taking Part in Local Meetings and Events
The O&E Team pays close attention to local event calendars for opportunities to provide project information and updates at community meetings, community events, and other local gatherings. For example, Qeqqata Kommunia meetings in Greenland discuss topics ranging from the new Aasivissuit – Nipisat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site to the development of the Arctic Circle Road between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
Virtual Community Meetings
Virtual platforms have become increasingly important for people to meet and communicate. Your O&E Team can set up a virtual meeting space for Arctic scientists to engage with local communities and the greater public utilizing existing virtual platforms. These meetings will be organized in real-time to allow engagement with participants. In some cases, presentations may be recorded for later distribution and/or will be made available to the public on the Battelle Arctic Gateway web portal.
Sharing information with local communities and local classrooms in the Arctic about project information, findings, and updates is an extremely important component of all Arctic research projects. Our team provides several options for researchers to share their observations and data with both the community and K-12 classrooms. Community education will take place in the various community meeting and local representation options as listed in this document. Other options for education are listed below.
K-12 Classroom Visits (In-person)
K-12 classrooms across the Arctic are typically very welcoming to scientists who want to physically visit classrooms and share their science with K-12 students. The O&E Team maintains updated contact lists of local educators to set up these events, and takes extra steps in making sure the event is mutually beneficial to both scientists and students by communicating early with educators and scientists in the planning process. Early communication allows for the O&E Team to correlate the subject matter of the visit with local teaching schedules. We strive to complement and reinforce the school’s curriculum when possible.
Local Representation of your Project
Social media has become an important tool to communicate in the Arctic. The O&E Team can introduce your project and provide updates to locals in the Arctic through social media platforms. Researchers can simply fill out the O&E Request Form and the team can begin the process of providing local representation of your project through social media platforms utilizing recognizable templates for project introductions, project updates, community event notifications, and more.
Additional Options in Greenland
Annual Running of the Moskus – Annually in August
The Running of the Moskus is a half marathon and 5km race following the Watson River flowing from the Greenland Icecap into the community of Kangerlussuaq. The purpose of the race is to unite the community in a fun event and to raise money for the Kangerlussuaq School. The first race was held in August of 2012 and has truly become a Kangerlussuaq community effort. Many local businesses and groups, from tour companies to local artists and craftsmen, to the Kangerlussuaq school’s young student body, help organize and host the event. Though the event centers on the race itself, a post-race barbeque is a perfect venue to set up a booth to highlight your project and interact with a vast majority of the community.
Connecting with the International Arctic Hub (IAH)
Battelle ARO staff have connections with the the Government of Greenland IAH and can make connections for researchers. For more information about the IAH, visit International Arktisk Hub - Naalakkersuisut.
Greenland Science Week - Annually in November
Battelle ARO staff have connections with the organizers of Greenland Science Week and can assist in opening communications so that you can plan a talk, enter a poster, have a booth, or participate in events ranging from science-themed photography exhibits to science themed short film festivals. For more information, visit Greenland Science Week.
Tips for a Successful Engagement
- Be Honest: Realize that we are all human, and honesty and sincerity are what folks in the Arctic really appreciate. If your project is not directly relevant to locals’ lives, that is okay. Work with your Battelle ARO local liaison or PM to find areas of your project that might be relevant to locals.
- Listen and Respect: Although being in the field can be extremely stressful and time is very limited, it is important that when engaging with locals to take a slow and respectful pace. Locals want to hear from you, but they also want to be heard.
- Have Fun: Enjoy your time in the Arctic and take opportunities to learn about the local cultures. Making friends in the Arctic is one of the most valuable aspects of working in and near Indigenous communities.
- Do Your Homework: When traveling into and around Arctic communities, it is good to get an idea of the local history and some of the “101s” of working in Arctic communities. It is extremely important to understand the local context in which you are stepping into when visiting the field. And remember, the field is someone’s backyard!
- Utilize Available Resources: Remember, Battelle ARO staff are here to help you in any and all challenges you face in producing and implementing outreach and engagement plans. From answering simple questions about local Arctic life to setting up large community meetings, do not forget that we are here for you.
For more information on how to plan International Outreach and Engagement contact O&E staff.