Friday 8. June 2018

University Center hosts Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Scholar

Dr. Brad Barr, longtime UW Visiting Faculty at the Coastal and Marine Management master’s program, is back in Ísafjörður conducting research into the preservation of whaling heritage sites in Iceland.  The project, funded by the Fulbright Commission Iceland, focuses on determining the state and condition of the historic whaling station sites in Iceland, and making recommendations regarding how these sites might be effectively preserved and interpreted. 

The historic whaling station sites are located in the Westfjords and East Iceland, and were actively operating primarily around the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, until the Icelandic government established a temporary moratorium on whaling in 1915.  The waters around Iceland were home to relatively large populations of whales – as they are today – and attracted the attention of the commercial whaling enterprises from around the North Atlantic.  While most of the whaling operations at these sites were successful at catching whales, what sets them apart was the technological innovation that occurred at these sites during this brief period of time…innovations that changed the course of history.

Dr. Barr has been in Iceland since the beginning of April, working out of Akureyri at the Stefansson Arctic Institute and focusing on the sites in Eastern Iceland, and now has relocated to the University Center to continue this work in the Westfjords, where all the remaining whaling station sites are located.  There are approximately ten whaling station sites that will be visited during June.  Once the field research is completed, the study findings will be shared with the Icelandic Government to assist in their efforts to preserve this important heritage.  


Brad Barr at the old whaling station at Stekkeyri in Hesteyrarfjörður in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
Brad Barr at the old whaling station at Stekkeyri in Hesteyrarfjörður in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
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