7. november 2023

The ice algae Ancylonema as icebreakers

The ice algae Ancylonema as icebreakers:
A case study on how the international Deep Purple Research Project can create meaningful outreach in Greenland

IND's Studenterserie nr. 114, 2023, speciale - biologi

Caroline Woergaard Gram & Dan Johan Kristensen

Vejleder: Marianne Achiam
Co-vejleder: Alexandre Anesio


Greenland is a ‘hot-spot’ for international research. However, the knowledge produced from the research activities taking place in Greenland does not reach Greenlandic citizens. There is a need for change in the external researchers’ communication approach, making their research and knowledge more accessible to Greenlandic citizens and society. In this study, we explored the potential of dialogue-based science communication as a way for international researchers to communicate their research to Greenlandic citizens. The study was conducted as a case study focusing on the international research team of the Deep Purple Research Project, which annually conducts fieldwork in Greenland, investigating the biologically induced darkening of the Greenlandic Ice Sheet by the ice-algae Ancylonema sp. Didactic transposition theory was applied as a tool to establish the scholarly knowledge, and we investigated how the scholarly knowledge could be embedded in an interactive installation. The installation had two objectives: communicating the research-based knowledge of the Deep Purple Research Project and engaging Greenlandic citizens in dialogue. Between January and April 2023, we were based in the community of Sisimiut, Greenland, and arranged three science communication events, both at the local upper secondary school (GUX) and as part of the Ilisamasat Science Festival. 25 participants took part in the installation. Data was collected using participant observations and observations were analysed using thematic analysis. Our findings indicate that the format of an interactive dialogue-based installation allowed for varied forms of engagement and that both the participants’ and the scientific perspective were represented in the communication taking place within the installation. We found that images supported dialogue by communicating the scholarly knowledge and by bringing forward participants’ perspectives. Furthermore, we found that non-verbal communication and the social aspects of communication were important aspects to con-sider. This thesis argues that meaningful communication is designed for the local context and contributes to existing communication networks, infrastructure, and initiatives made by local actors and institutions in Greenland.