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Labrador Institute connects with communities

By Jeff Green | May 30, 2008
Fuelling many of the research and public outreach projects taking place throughout this province’s Big Land is Memorial’s Labrador Institute, long considered the university’s window into the region.

With offices in both Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador City, the institute is mandated to help promote collaboration, outreach, research and education in Labrador.

Its five full-time staff members help link communities to researchers in the fields of pure and applied sciences, social sciences, arts and languages as well as in health research and education.

Since January of this year, the institute has helped more than 100 projects – ranging from collaboration and outreach to research and education – get off the ground.

“These are projects currently on go, recently completed or ones that will soon start,” said Dr. Keith Chaulk, who took over as director of the institute six months ago.

“For example, the Labrador Institute has had a long tradition of working with the arts community and we help with the Labrador Creative Arts Festival, the Lake Melville Music Festival and the Labrador West Music Festival.”

The institute also recently helped co-ordinate and organize a conference on climate change held in North West River and it has completed a term as interim regional co-ordinating office for Labrador for the International Polar Year.

“People have had a really positive feedback to what we’ve been involved with,” said Dr. Chaulk. “In many cases we do enrich the lives of Labradorians through this work.”

As for the immediate future, Dr. Chaulk said the Labrador Institute will continue working with community groups and researchers and expanding on its mandate.

“I’d like to find new ways to deliver university-level programming in Labrador beyond the first-year courses. I see that as the real focus for us in the future,” he said.