Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Ilulissat Science Forum 2023 #ISF23

Science, art, tourism, and industry in Greenland – opportunities and challenges in the face of climate change.

Iceberg in Greenland
Ilulissat Science Forum 2023 takes place in the begining of October.
Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu

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Avannaata municipality, the University of Bergen, and the Norwegian Embassy in Denmark are hosting the first annual Ilulissat Science Forum, and the opening of the Illu – Science and Art Hub in Ilulissat, Greenland.


Monday 2 October:

10:00 - 12:00 Excursion in Ilulissat (boat tour on Ilulissat Icefjord - see info below)

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch (Greenlandic Buffet) at Hotel Hvide Falk (short walk from Illu)

14:30 - 15:30 Welcome and opening of “Illu – Science and Art Hub” in Ilulissat

Palle Jeremiassen (Mayor of Avannaata Kommunia), Katja Nordgaard (Norwegian Ambassador to Greenland and Denmark), Gottfried Greve (Vice-Rector University of Bergen)

15:30 - 16:00 Coffe break

16:00 - 18:00 Local perspectives of climate change (gratis/open to the public)

Format: Introductory stories followed by a panel conversation moderated by Julia Pars (relatepeople). Interpretation between Greenlandic and English or Danish is available.

Local perspectives of climate change by communities in Avannaata Kommunia

  • Stories of climate change and adaptation to change through history
  • Perspectives of education and the young generation in Greenland

Speakers: Vera Mølgård (Women's Association in Ilulissat), Jørgen Kristensen (dog sled musher, ice- and climate enthusiast), Otto Jørgensen (fisher and hunter), Nakuusa, Julius Jeremiassen and school pupils from Mathias Storch School.

Responsible: Avannaata Kommunia (Anne Henriksen / annh@avannaata.gl)

19:00 Conference Dinner at Hotel Icefjord (sign-up when you register for the forum)

Tuesday 3 October

09:00 - 11:30 Climate change and Geology in Greenland (in English)

Format: Keynotes followed by panel debates and discussions moderated by Julia Pars (relatepeople)

Climate change and impact on infrastructure, fisheries, tourism, and industry 

  • Changes in seasonality, sea ice, and glacier runoff in Ilulissat Icefjord
  • Impact on ecosystems and fisheries in Disko Bay
  • How to secure data and make science relevant in a Greenlandic context
  • How to engange in field work in Greenland and involve local communities in science

Participants: Majken Djurhuus Poulsen (GEUS Nuuk), Sascha Schiøtt (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources), Linda Latuta (University of Bergen / Bjerknes Center for Climate Research), Torkel Gissel (DTU Aqua), Eva Mätzler (Greenland Research Council).

Responsible: University of Bergen (Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu / kerim@uib.no)

12:00 - 13:30 Lunch at Hotel Hvide Falk (short walk from Illu)

13:30 - 15:30 Green Energy Industry (in English)

Format: Keynotes followed by panel debates and discussions moderated by Julia Pars (relatepeople)

The potential of Greenland as the new energy hub and the importance of new technologies, efficient policy framework and investment in Greenland in a time of rapid climate changes. 

  • The Nordic energy Trilemma - balancing sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply
  • Navigating the green energy landscape in Greenland
  • Wnd potential and reneweable energy production in Greenland
  • The future of Power-to-X and green shipping

Participants: Klaus Skytte (Nordic Energy Research), Christian Keldsen (Greenland Business Association), Nicolai Fossar Fabritius (Anori), Mårten Lunde (H2Carrier)

Responsible: Norwegian Embassy in Copenhagen (Sara Husum / Sara.Husum@mfa.no) and Nordic Council of Ministers & Nordic Council (Mikael Carboni Kelk /mikake@norden.org)

15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break 

16:00 - 18:00 Responsible tourism (gratis/open to the public)

Format: Keynotes followed by a panel conversation moderated by Julia Pars (relatepeople). Interpretation between Greenlandic and English or Danish is available.

Sustainable tourism in a time of climate change and rapidly increasing number of visitors 

  • how to extend the tourist period beyond the summer months
  • cruise versus land-based tours, preservation
  • combining science and tourism
  • UNESCO world heritage sites

Participants: Flemming Lauritzen and Ane Sofie Lauritzen (Arctic Living), Lars Erik Gabrielsen (UniqueTours), Suusaat Mathiassen and Asbjørn Dissing Bargsteen (Tourism Advisors, Avannaata Kommunia), Tanny Por (Visit Greenland), Emily Baxter (Hurtigruten expeditions), Lotte Søndermark (World of Greenland).

Responsible: Avannaata Kommunia (Anne Henriksen / annh@avannaata.gl)

20:00 - 22:00 Concert: Acoustic duo with Nanook (sign-up when you register for the forum)

Nanook recently released their new album Ilutsinniit Apuussilluta (more here), questioning "... the earths' direction to total destruction. Though heavy subjects the album is very uplifting and shows trust in the new generation but that they need guidance when obstacles appear." (Atlantic Music)

There will also be a daytime workshop with Nanook for local school children in collaboration with the schools of Ilulissat (this is a closed arrangement).

Nanook New Album

Wednesday 4 October open sessions:

09:00 - 10:30 Climate Intervention in Greenland (in English)

Format: Keynotes followed by panel debates and discussions moderated by Michael Town (Earth and Space Research)

Topics: Is it feasible to slow the melting of outlet glaciers on Greenland, such as "Sermeq Kujaleq" by preventing the inflow of warm water to Ilulissat Icefjord? What adverse effects can be caused by geoengineering solutions? How are the ecosystems, fisheries and local communities impacted?

Participants: Ilona Mettiäinen (ULapland), Marianne Hagen (UArctic Tipping Point Actions), Lars Henrik Smedsrud (UiB / Bjerknes Center for Climate Rearch), Torkel Gissel (DTU Aqua)

Resonible: University of Bergen (Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu / kerim@uib.no)

10:30 - 11:00 Coffe break

11:00 - 12:30 Expedition Science (in English)

Format: Keynotes followed by panel debates and discussions

Topics: How can expeditions help sponsor scientific research and facilitate dissemination on changes in climate and the environment? What is the role of sponsors, expedition members, scientists, and artists? Is there a potential in expedition science? What role do today’s business leaders and investors play in sustainable development thru their actions and their dissemination to the public and their peers? 

Participants: Christiane Leister (Leister Expeditions), Emily Baxter (Hurtigruten expeditions), Morten Raasch (University of Copenahgen)

Resonible: University of Bergen (Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu / kerim@uib.no)

12:30 - 14:30 Lunch at Hotel Hvide Falk (short walk from Illu)
14:30 - 16:00 Collabroating on education in Greenland (in English)

Format: Keynotes followed by panel debates and discussions

Topics: Building on the experience from UNIS (Svalbard) and other similar joint educational institutions (e.g. UWC Red Cross Nordic) with a focus on uniting people and cultures, practical training in the field and sharing of infrastructure and knowledge in education, we will discuss ideas for how to support educational activities in Greenland (Disko Bay as a case study) within climate science and sustainable development.

Participants: Hanne Hvidfeldt Christensen (UNIS), Elisabeth Momme (Ilulissat Icefjord Centre), Astrid M.A. Schmidt (DIS Study Abroad), Morten Raasch (University of Copenahgen/EU INTERACT), Céline Albert (Arctic Station), Nivi Rosing (The Arctic Youth Network).

Resonible: University of Bergen (Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu / kerim@uib.no)

16:00 - 19:00 Excursions (Ilulissat Icefjordcenter, Disko Bay boat trip, Icefjord hike)
16:00 - 19:00 Open for side-events (please email illu@uib.no)

Tuesday 26th of September and Sunday 1st of October: Art Exhibit and Workshops (KMD responsible)

Community events with art exhibits and workshops in collaboration with local schools and organizations in Ilulissat. Marking the culmination of ongoing workshops revolving around the themes: climate, maps, and nature. Tuesday the 26th of September and Sunday the 1st of October (12:00-16:00), public workshops will take place in Illu, including an exhibition curated with all the artworks as a backdrop for the Science Forum.

The art exhibit at Illu will be open after the Science Forum with times announced on the Illu Facebook page, or by appointment (please contact us at illu@uib.no).

Contributors: Irene Thor Jeremiassen (Artist, Ilulissat/Nuuk), Majken Djurhuus Poulsen (GEUS Nuuk), Mathew Stiller-Reeve (ClimateNarratives, Bergen) and Eamon O’Kane (UiB/ClimateNarratives, Bergen).

Responsible: ClimateNarratives project, University of Bergen (Mathew Stiller-Reeve, mathew@stillerreeve.no) and Illu - Science and Art Hub (Ilulissat)

Practical Information:

Registration is closed: Information can be found online here. There are two options: conference (2000DKK/3000NOK) and optional conference dinner and concert (1000DKK/1500NOK). 

Registration is closed. However, there is space for local community participation (gratis) in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday starting with the coffee break at 15:30 (first come first serve as we are close to capacity for the venue).

Please also contact us a illu@uib.no if you are a PhD or early career scientist from Greenland or Nunavut and would like to apply for a stipend.

Venue: Illu – Science and Art Hub, Ilumiut 18, Ilulissat 

Arrival Friday 29th of September is encouraged, and latest by Monday morning the 2nd of October (note there are no flights on Sunday the 1st of October)

Accommodation and travel will have to be arranged individually. Hotels in Ilulissat include Hotel SØMA, Hotel Ilulissat, Hotel Icefiord, Hotel Nuka, and Hotel Arctic. There are other alternatives, such as Ilulissat Guesthouse. Mention Ilulissat Science Forum to receive a rebate.

Program Committee: Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu (kerim@uib.no), Anne Henriksen (annh@avannaata.gl) and Sara Husum (Sara.Husum@mfa.no)

For the boat trip to Disko Bay and the Icefjord you can sign up either for Monday the 2nd 10:00-12:30 or Wednesday the 4th 17:00-19:30 by emailing Authenic Greenland (authenticgreenland@gmail.com, Price is 600DKK/person, bring cash - there is space for 12 on the boat so be quick). The boat leaves from Amutsivik, next to Halibut Greenland (same dock as Disko Line).

Authentic Greenland picture of iceberg
Authentic Greenland

Partners in Ilulissat Science Forum:

Avannaata Kommunia
Avannaata Kommunia
Norges Ambasade


Thanks also to support from:

Norwegian Research Council
Norwegian Research Council
Grønlandsbanken Erhvervsfonden

Leister Foundation
Leister Foundation

Nordis Råd
Nordisk Råd

Nordisk Samarbeid
Nordisk Samarbeid