Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Youth Space - School Space - Club Space

Primary School Yard - NALUNNGUARFIUP ATUARFIA - around 11.30 a.m.

Youth Club Space on a friday evening

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Today I made a 2 hour ride on the back of KENTEC’s skidoo outside the city. My objective was to hear and learn about places where young people spent their time riding their machines. I was also interested how they navigate and therefore invited one of the young men associated at KENTEC- snow life Sisimiut.

During one of our stops I asked both men how come that there is not much focus on the skills acquired from e.g. riding a skidoo or a dog sledge in the school (or is it so?). From what I observe, the people who frequent the country are very good in knowing where they are and what they do. E.g. a skidoo going up a steep hill represents ultimate coherence of the human body and the machine. There is a lot of concentration involved.

I asked also, when the young men did start riding a skidoo. He said probably around 10. Getting an old wreck and getting it work was the first step. Then getting experience from every ride. Having some accidents, repairing the machine, practice, fun, practice, fun.

“Is there any way to use skills acquired from skidoo riding in school work? I see a lot of commitment, concentration.” The answer (as I remember it/it wasn’t recorded); “Look, you can’t translate this energy to text if it is what you mean.” ME: “These trips, like today, they are just leisure activities?” THEM: “Yes, you go out there, sometimes when the whole world hurts, this is better than a bottle of whiskey. You know places like ours can be isolated and therefore you sometimes kick the machine and go out in the country and clean your head. You don’t want anyone to take pictures of you. Just go and get it out of the system. On the long trips, 2 or 3 or more days, there’s a lot you can learn. Discipline from getting the machine out of snow everyday, getting your tent up, cooking your own food and so…”

The reason why I’m writing about this subject is because I’m doing research in areas of leisure activities and their “compatibility” with the agendas of the newest school statutory Atuarfitsialak – at least some of the main agendas – the focus on the WHOLE individual.

From what I understood by talking to teachers, the pupil is in focus in the educational system now. OK, does it mean that the educational system is more focused, or does it mean that the pupil, his environment, family etc is in focus?

My argument in relation to this theme is following. In a 10th grade class, there are let’s say 20 pupils. Most of them are for sure involved in leisure activities. Some have skidoos, dogs and sledges, play music etc. At least ½ of them have frequent contact with the environment outside the city. Some of the pupils spent most of their time in the city, maybe or go out on the country when they’re forced to do so. Would it be wrong to think that those different groups of pupils, who each acquire different skills in their everyday life, could share their experiences, visions and knowledge? Isn’t it what the primary school is trying to focus on, to bring the everyday life, cultural background into the class room and use it as a knowledge bank? I don’t know. I’m keen to learn more about all of this. In the upcoming days I shall talk to the local teachers who have their pupils from 1st grade under the new statutory. I will ask them the above posted questions.


- Dining at the chinese restaurant MISIGISAQ situated at the harbour.
- My assistants turned in their translation of questionnaires and I'm working on setting up more interviews where they can participate.
- Interviews at the museum and the youth club Nutaraq. 2 old informants, 1 new, all male.
- Arrangements for interview at the STI Sisimiut (Local vocational collage) and Te School for the Deaf
- Visiting Nalunnguarfiup Atuarfia (Primary School - SKOLE 2) and presenting my questionnaires; making arrangements for a meeting of 10th or 11th grade pupils.
- Arrangements for skidoo trips with my informants
- Guided tour with KENTEC and his assistant; objectives - where and why you go on skidoo, how you navigate, traffic etc.
- the local bus takes 40 min. all the way around Sisimiut.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


What has "ON MY WAY TO DO AN INTERVIEW" to do with youth studies? Well, I'm just trying to record and give you some picture of the environment people in Sisimiut live in. "ON MY WAY...." isn't the whole picture obviously. It doesn't represent the whole community. It's just a short clip from a sunny day, around lunch time. Notice the traffic, the sound and number of people in the picture, number of cars passing by. It's recorded outside the main traffic line in Sisimiut, at a small corner, but still a part of the town's bus line. Nikkorsuit road is the main road connecting several quarters of the city. Nikkorsuti road is the one I'm standing on and holding my phone.

Today I had a busy day. Working all morning on administrative stuff. Plus cleaning the kitchen floor at the dormitory and preparing an interview which took place at the museum in the afternoon. The interview was very interesting, but since I still need final permission for the use of the material, I won't be writing about it at the moment.
The administrative stuff was concerning my fieldwork assistants, who are doing a great job in translating questionnaires. In the upcoming days, I'm planning to use the assistants (3 Technical High School students) at an interview at the youth clubs and the second primary school SKOLE 2 - NALUNNGUARFIK ATUARFIA. Apart from that, I spend some time uploading material at an e-learning system for the Technical High School students whom I shall work with during march.



In my free hours, if any at all, I’m reading Andy Merrifield’s (AM) introduction to Henri Lefebvre (publ. by Routledge in 2006). Although it is an introduction written by an author who did a great deal of work to put L.’s life, the times, philosophical and political contributions together, it is not an easy book to read, neither is it easy to write about for ME. There are two main reasons why I’m reading this book. 1st I need some introduction to Henri Lefebvre, a French philosopher, sociologist and urban theorist. I am slowly getting into his work and carefully trying to use some of his concepts of rhythm analysis in my research (i.e. mentioned in my earlier post, here in this blog). 2nd, if I by any chance get really deep into rhythm analysis, I can’t pass by Lefebvre’s masterpiece “THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE (POS)” carefully introduced in AM’s book. Half way through Merrifield’s book, it seems to make sense reading and learning about the “possible whole” Lefebvrian universe and especially concentrate on somebody’s analysis of POS. AM, whom I just discovered, is fantastic in both describing and explaining across different decades of scientific knowledge, and bridging these with current world views and opposite tendencies.

For the time being, I would like to highlight only one aspect of AM’s book, namely the case of rhythm analysis in the chapter on Lefebvre and “URBANITY.” AM explains;” the idea of rhythm was deliberately provocative, an assault on those who reify the city as a thing, who document only what they see rather than what they feel or hear (Merrifield 2006:75).” I especially became aware of the last part of sentence. You CAN feel and hear the city. This, I guess isn’t news for many, but for me it is rather interesting learning about a great thinker taking this into consideration at all. In praxis, it makes sense to me. In my case, I listen to and hear the city of Sisimiut, during summer and winter. There are differences and I record the sound of the summer Arctic city, filled with traffic and howling of dogs, as if only exaggerated by the “howling” of skidoos in the winter. The greatest variation of sound experienced so far is at the lake NALUNNGUARFIK. During the summer, not much was happening hear apart from children playing around and feeding birds. During winter time, this place is filled with action, pumping hearts of sledge dogs and screaming “pimp’ed-up” skidoos and motocross machines. And then again, filled with calm voices of people who enjoy the weekend, or on the way to school, only in winter crossing the frozen lake making a whole different sound and signs. And again, the place gets somehow filled discontinuously from the side by the activities of the little hill, where youth and adults practice their skills, show off and play.

From what I understand, rhythms were Lefebvre’s essentiality of everyday life, something syncopating the urban living, as AM puts it in his text. When reading AM’s book, it appears to me how rhythms can help to flesh out the complexities of everyday life, although it is the last which is the most important reservoir (at least by Lefebvre) of

being. Being also a part of a society, as being a citizen. Everyday life, explicitly manifested by e.g. festivals, tightens social links and gives rein to all desires pent up by collective discipline and necessities of everyday work (AM pp. 13-14). “For Lefebvre, the contradictions of everyday life inevitably find their solutions in everyday life (ibid.:13).”

At the moment, I’m not capable of explaining why and how I see this whole mixture of thoughts in my overall understanding of youth and the city. For the time being, it is nothing less, nothing more then my way of cutting myself loose from the diversity of life which I try to explain and learn from.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


On the 14th of February I got access to my dormitory room, even though on that day, I didn’t have the time to move but only to visit and meet some of the students. I decided to move in the 15th.

How is life at a Greenlandic dormitory? Well, I’m not sure I can give you en exact answer, but here are some facts and observations. I live at a place called ATI – kollegiet (dormitory) consisting of blocks of houses, each marked with their specific letter, from A to I. At our house we’re at the moment 9 people occupying 6 rooms i.e. there are singles and couples living together. We’re as far as nationality goes: 5 Greenlanders, 3 Danes, 1 me, myself and I. The house is spatial, quiet and built partially as a living place and a social place. It consists of a rather large kitchen where everything comes twice; the oven, the sink etc…. We have a lot, and I mean a LOT of kitchen equipment, especially pots and pans. On the day of my arrival there was a new ”shipment” of pots placed in the kitchen together with a new toaster and a new kitchen weight. On the contrary, there isn’t much space in the two refrigerators although we have the possibility to use an extra freezer, which is located on the 1st floor.

So, I won’t write much more about the house structure, hopefully you get the idea; this place is consisting of more than one floor and has a big kitchen. To that you can add 4 restrooms/bathrooms and 1 laundry room with washing machine and a dryer.

Let’s turn to the human side of this place. Living at a Greenlandic dormitory includes services from the administrators, situated actually only 200-300 meters up the road. We can change our bed sheets every Wednesday, arrange transport to and from the airport, get advice or complain about our housemates or personal problems. Not 24/7 but for most of the time during most of day. Not that this actually takes place, but the opportunity is there. Since my arrival, life has been very quiet at our house. Surprisingly quiet, especially when there have not been many activities in which we all took part apart from watching TV for the time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Smokers do smoke only in the kitchen where the TV is placed right next door to the entrance.

Living at a dormitory is new thing to me. Actually this is the first time in my life and I wonder if it is not the way things supposed to be – here I mean ”quiet” – because my housemates have a lot of work, such as school work or part time jobs in the town. Some of them travel for family reasons, some wait for the weather to allow their travels to begin. You also have to consider, that there is a time where you want to relax etc.. therefore, maybe nothing unusual about a place being quiet. Let’s see how things evolve until now I have both satisfaction and mixed feelings about it – all on personal level.


On Tuesday the 13th I’ve conducted first questionnaires during this fieldwork period. I was lucky to get a lot of help from the teacher at the primary school Mingortuunnguup Atuarfia a.k.a. SKOLE 1. I had 2 hours with the 10th grade students, who were working on filling up a questionnaire, developed in co-operation with the teacher. Some students turned in questionnaires I’ve send up before my arrival. In addition to writing things down, the pupils draw down their leisure arenas on a chart. During their work, I managed to talk to every student about their drawings and ask some extra questions, both relevant to the questionnaires and quiet a few concerning old place names in Sisimiut. The result is: data from 16 pupils, consisting of a questionnaires and maps/charts.

To be able to use this data I have written a short report/application for permission of use of data in my work. The pupils at 10th grade were under the age of 18 and due to this I need permission from the school, who informs the parents. Additionally, I’ll be turning in copies of data to the school office as soon as I’ll be able to work them in and describe them in full length.


So, I’m back online. Although not very fast, and a bit angry about waiting for internet services since Friday. Currently staying the the dormitory.

Activities since visiting Sisimiut Scouts Association:

- visiting youth club NUTARAQ and planning arrangements for February/march

- visiting the Technical High School and meeting with teachers and representatives from KIIP (Home Rule Dept. Of Education). Reviewing material for classes at Technical High School in March.

- visiting the primary school Minngortuunnguup Atuarfia and working with questionnaires

- visiting the Municipality – The Municipal Youth and Culture Council

- recording sounds, small movies and images

- arranging fieldwork assistance among High School Students

- walking, meeting people, cooking and shopping groceries and snowboard equipment, moving from the museum to the dormitory and at last, getting rid of a heavy cold!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Updating very soon

I'll be posting many updates very soon. In the mean time, as I try to solve out some technical problems with my internet connection at the doormitory - here is some themes I'll be posting next time.

..... questionnaires at the primaty school
..... living at at the dormitory
..... Henry Lefebvre, everyday life, rythms and the city

Saturday, February 10, 2007

2nd stage of my project-fieldwork, 2nd day of my work

The objectives of my current fieldwork are:
1st) conducting interviews of 10th grade pupils at the elemantary school Mingortuunnguup Atuarfia (SKOLE 1). I'm especially interested in two things. a) daily routines & b) youth leisure arenas in Sisimiut.
2nd) I shall follow a course in TECHNOLOGY at the local High School. I've contributed to some material on the subject of LEISURE TIME - in innovational perspective, from the point of view of kindship (friends and family) and by viewing leisure time as a space of visions, skills and creativity. My contribution has been turned in before my arrival.

I'm staying at the museum right now although I plan on moving to the local dormitory; maybe sometimes during next week. Let's see how this plan evolves. On the day of my arrival I've received a very sad news about an incident at the dorms. The local newspaper has little information about it, and the police are investigating. Don't expect me to dig in to this matter here, sorry and thank YOU.

Apart from the above stated objectives I'm meeting with my informants and discovering yet again Sisimiut during winter time. I was supposed to bring a snowboard for skying/snowboarding (what else?) at the local ski centre. Well, there is not really much winter/ski weather - although we're in february, above the arctic circle.......HOPE this does NOT last long (the weather forecast says snow on wednesday and friday.) I do cross my fingers! Think about it, yesterday there was about 1½ meters of snow in Nanortalik (South Greenland) - that's the place where you suppose to have first signs of spring right now!

Yesterday I payed a short visit to the youth club NUTARAQ and met the NATURE GUIDE on my way home. He invited me to the Sisimiut Scout's meeting today at 14.00.

This short video is from the Sisimiut Scouts meeting. Today I learned about First Aid on Ice (among other things). If you want to see/read more about Greenlandic Scouts Association, visit www. scout.gl Member of the Greenlandic Scout Association Board, Paulo Lynge, is the leader of Sisimiut Scout Ass.

New Scout uniform for Greenland.

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(By the way. I won't be updating this blog daily - compared to my previous blog. I plan on writing once or twice a week and be more specific on selected subjects relevant to my project. I have also decided to write it in english although it's not my native language. I take this as an opportunity for not only to practice my english grammar and spelling but also to make it available to people in other parts of the world.)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Every Blogger has a Story

Or does she?

For the time being, I'm uploading these images. I'm conducting fieldwork in Sisimiut, Greenland. Arrived today during the afternoon. The journey went OK.

So, the idea for this section of "Blog For Youth Studies" is to give you some accounts of my stay in Sisimiut. More on this topic later; now I need some rest and dinner......

Kangerlussuaq, 9.2. around 10.24 AM. Photo JCM by Nokia 6288

View from my appartment/office at Sisimiut Museum. Photo JCM by Nokia 6288

For my previous FieldBlog see:www.onceudigin.blogspot.com
(In danish)