Staff and students of UCL Scandinavian Studies at the Provost's second annual Public Engagement Awards, 2010-11, where we received the departmental prize. The prize is awarded to the department that is judged to have shown the greatest culture change with regard to public engagement over the last year.
Our Department Co-ordinator, Karin Charles, won the Provost's Award for Public Engagement (support staff), 2011-12.
We regard public engagement as a central part of our mission, alongside research and teaching. Staff and students are committed to engaging with a broad range of audiences and communities in constructive and meaningful ways, according to their strengths and interests.
London is home to tens of thousands of ex-pat Scandinavians and a thriving Nordic cultural scene. We welcome opportunities for collaboration and dialogue with any groups or institutions who would like to work with us on designing events that promote dissemination and exchange of knowledge about Nordic language, history, film, music, literature, and many other aspects of culture. To discuss your ideas, please contact Claire Thomson.
We work closely with a number of organisations who promote Scandinavian culture in the UK and abroad, including:
- Viking Society for Northern Research,
- Norvik Press,
- Swedish Book Review,
- Cultural Sections of the Nordic Embassies in London. Students in the Department have their own lively Nordic Society.
Several members of staff and postgraduates have performed at Bright Club (the thinking person's variety night!) at the Wilmington Arms in Clerkenwell. At Bright Club: LUST, Claire Thomson and Richard Farmer explained how the urge to see ladies' ankles and people kissing in tunnels shaped cinema as we know it, and Reynir Þór Eggertsson revealed the seedier side of medieval Icelandic chapbooks.
- At Bright Club: CRIME, Chris Abram convinced us all that the Vikings were actually pretty much Straight outta Compton, and you can hear his comedy routine by clicking here (WARNING! Contains language that some may find offensive);
- Chris has also recently recorded a Bright Club podcast.
- At Bright Club: METAL, Titus Hjelm and his guitar riffed on the sociology of the Nordic metal scene.
- Richard Cole and Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen performed at Bright Club: INK, respectively finding the funny in Runology and the history of the printing press.
- Mary Hilson brought her knowledge of the cooperative movement to a boatload of comedy fans on the Thames, at Bright Club: MONEY.
- Claire Thomson and Chris Abram each performed a set at the sell-out show Bright Club: LIFE at the Bloomsbury Theatre, 4 February 2011. You can hear their performances by clicking on these links: >>> Chris Abram @ The Bloomsbury >>> Claire Thomson @ The Bloomsbury (Warning! contains material which some listeners may find offensive)
Several members of staff past and present have held Lunch Hour Lectures, most recently Dr Helena Forsås-Scott on The Power of Lagerlöf. This talk was followed up in June 2011 with a conference, film screenings and other events celebrating Lagerlöf, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in London. Dr Mary Hilson's talk on The Northern Utopia: What is Distinctive about the Nordic Countries? was one of the most downloaded Lunch Hour Lectures of 2008.
Our two new UCL Impact PhD Students, Nicky Smalley and Agnes Broome, are working hard with the Swedish Embassy in London on a series of events and projects to bring Swedish literature to a wider audience in the UK. Check out their webpage on Swedish Literature in London for more news on their projects as they develop.
Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen has been developing material on Hans Christian Andersen for the UCL Humanities for Business programme. In autumn/winter 2010-11, Scandinavian Studies launched a Nordic Noir Book Club for avid readers of Scandinavian crime thrillers, and we're working on a series of short talks in a central London café. And our students will be organising an exhibition on Faroese language and culture in 2011, funded by a grant from UCL's ESCILTA fund for innovations in learning and teaching. Please contact Karin Charles if you would like to be kept informed about these projects.
Strategy and training
Dr Claire Thomson, Head of Department, sits on the UCL Beacon for Public Engagement Steering Group, is a Public Engagement Mentor, and has held talks on public engagement activities in Scandinavian Studies in forums such as the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, AHRC public engagement workshops, UCL's Public Engagement Symposium 2009, and a recent UCL SSEES public engagement workshop for postgraduates in the Arts & Humanities.