Mother-of-two Brode-Roger, pictured, has led a varied career
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Within months of arriving in Luxembourg, writer Dina Brode-Roger was already planning her next adventure--to study a unique community living in the Arctic.
US national Dina Brode-Roger says that everything she has learned in her varied career so far is coming together for her latest venture--a study of the people living in Longyearbyen, a community of about 2,000 people living near Svalbard, in Norway.
Passionate about putting climate change on the agenda, Brode-Roger has held a long-term interest in the Arctic. Since she was a teenager, she had dreamed of visiting Svalbard, one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, located on an archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
The dream came true when she holidayed there with her husband in 2016. Brode-Roger says she was so affected by the trip that, while moving from Brussels to Luxembourg for her husband’s job, she began thinking up ways to return and draw attention to the work being done there. “I had many different ideas that came up. Slowly the idea for a PhD came together.”
The writer devised a four-year project with two years on-site that would examine the perspectives of the scientists, miners, trappers, tourists and other people living there and the impact of climate change on the area.
“Whatever you think about climate change, it’s going to impact our future. And we can see right now in Longyearbyen the many different ways it’s starting to happen. Of course, it’s not easy if you have politicians saying it doesn’t exist,” Brode-Roger says, adding: “I would like my project to help people get an inside understanding of some of the many things going on in the Arctic.”
The study, which was accepted at KU Leuven in Belgium last spring will, she hopes, lead to several books: one looking at the work of scientists and researchers based there, one containing the perspectives gained from people living there and Brode-Roger’s own reactions. She also plans to create a podcast documenting the curious details of the area, all hosted on the site letterfromlongyearbyen.com (yet to go live).
A mother-of-two, Brode-Roger has led a varied career, working as a consultant, for TV, teaching and most recently concentrating full-time on her writing. In 2013, she published a young adult fantasy novel, Dragon Fire under her maiden name, von Lowenkraft.
She says what unites all these experiences is her interest in “identity and why people do what they do”. After a preliminary visit in spring 2018, her two-year exploration of the community will begin in September 2018.