Inger Birkeland

Fakultet for humaniora, idretts- og utdanningsvitenskap
Institutt for kultur, religion og samfunnsfag
Campus Notodden (S-434A)
My education is from University of Oslo, with MA in human geography from 1994 and PhD in human geography from 2002. I teach nature-society relations and cultural aspects of sustainability and education for sustainable development at the BA- and MA-programs in teacher education and culture studies at USN. I supervise master students and doctoral candidates in teacher education and culture studies and have been board member for USNs doctoral program in culture studies from 2015 to 2023. My research interests have for many years been related to strengthening the cultural and social development of post-industrial communities Tinn and Notodden, with a focus on empowerment of children and youth, and civil society development. Since 2005 I have developed research in this region on participative place planning, industrial heritage, and culturally sustainable development at the community level working with participative action research methods cooperating with teachers, schools and kindergartens, museums, civil society organizations and municipalities. Related to this research, I took a lead role in developing and coordinating the COST Action IS10007 Investigating Cultural Sustainability (2011-2015) as member of the Management Committee from Norway and as leader of Work Group 1 for theory and conceptual work. A long time research interest has been difference feminism now evolving into new research with ecofeminist, hydrofeminist, and psychological approaches to sustainability and climate change transformation. In addition to my academic job at USN, I spend time studying gestalt therapy at the Norwegian Gestalt Institute AS (2021-2025).


Teaching responsibilities:

MG1SA4/MG2SA4 - Samfunnsfag: Globale utfordringer (Social studies, global challenges)

MG1SA6/MG2SA6 - Sted og kulturarv (Place and cultural heritage, master level)

MG1SA9/MG2SA9 - Bærekraftig utvikling og samfunn (Sustainable development and society, master level, course responsible)

9920/9921 - Exploring the interface: Materials and materiality in ecology and culture studies (PhD)


I am member of research group Kulturarv i bruk, active projects: 

Hydrofeminism and Industrial Heritage: The watery bodies of Rjukan-Notodden World Heritage

Exploring the Nature-Culture Interface: Valuing industrial heritage in the Anthropocene

I am also member of research group SAMD (Forskergruppe innen samfunnsfagsdidaktikk), active projects: 

Klima og følelser: Kritisk følelseskompetanse blant lærerstudenter i undervisning om klimaendringer (Climate and emotions: Teacher students' critical emotional awareness in climate education) 



Nature-society interrelationships; people and place; materials and materiality; industrial heritage; multivocality; cultural analysis/cultural theory; sustainability; cultural sustainability; place pedagogy; posthumanism; interdisciplinarity; feminist critique of science.



2018-:           Professor in Human Geography, USN

2012-2017:   Associate Professor in Cultural Analysis, USN (HIT)

2009-2012:   Associate Professor in geography, USN (HIT)

2005-2009:   Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Bergen 

2003-2005:   Senior lecturer in Cultural Analysis, USN (HIT)

2001-2003:   Research scientist, Telemark Research Institution 

1996-2001:   Doctoral Research Fellow at the Dept. of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo (incl 48 weeks maternity leave, 1999) 

1994-1995:   Lecturer, Tourism Studies, Finnmark University College

Project management, offices held, other: 

2015-: Member of board for Doctoral Program in Culture Studies, USN

2014-2016: Coordinator BA-program in cultural management, USN

2014-: Committee work/internal scientific examiner for applications to scientific jobs and doctoral positions, USN 

2014-2016: Research leader for Heritage in Use research group, USN

2012-2015: Chair Working Group 1 and MC member from Norway, COST Action IS1007 Investigating Cultural Sustainability

2010-2014: Place Pedagogies and Learning Landscapes. Research leader, place-conscious education for sustainable development, Notodden, Norway, USN

2010-2012: Research leader for Place Pedagogies research group, USN

2005-2009: Place Planning: Water, Art and Regional Vitality in Tinn and Rjukan, Norway. 4-year postdoc research grant, Department of Geography, University of Bergen

2005-: Appointed external examiner at various universities and colleges


2002: Dr.polit. (PhD) in human geography, University of Oslo

1994: Cand.Philol. (MA) in human geography, University of Oslo 

1989: Cand.Mag. in human geography, University of Oslo

1987: Ex.phil., University of Oslo 

1986: Høgskolekandidat i reiselivsfag, Oppland DH 

1984: Årsenhet i tekstilforming, Telemark Lærerhøgskole

1983: Exchange student with AFS, Centralia High School, Missouri, USA

1982: Examen Artium, Notodden Secondary School, Samfunnsfaglinja

Further qualifications: 

2021-2025: Gestalt Therapy, 120 stp, Norwegian Gestalt Institute AS

2023: Art Therapy Summer School, MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Ireland, 1-5 July 2023

2019-2020: Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education, 10 credits, USN

2017-2018: Developing Doctoral Supervision, three modules, USN

2018: Kreativt maleri (Creative painting), weekend course at Nydalen Kunstskole, Oslo, September 2018

2017: Finn din kunstneriske stemme (Find your artistic voice), weekend course at Nydalen Kunstskole, Oslo, September 2017

2014-2014: Research management training, University College Telemark (USN)

2004: Course in ecotherapy, Footprint Consulting Ltd., Scotland, organized by David Key and Mary-Jayne Rust



Bøker og monografier

Birkeland, Inger, Steffen Johannesen, Guro Nordby and Benjamin Richards (red) (forthcoming with Routledge) Multivocality in World Heritage. Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site. 

Birkeland, Inger, Constanza Parra, Rob Burton and Katriina Siivonen (eds.)(2018, 2. utg. 2019) Cultural Sustainability and the Nature-Culture Interface: Livelihoods, Policies, Methodologies. Routledge Series in Culture and Sustainability. London: Routledge (ISBN 9781138650497 hardback, ISBN 9780367855796 paperback)

Birkeland, Inger (2014) Kulturelle hjørnesteiner: Teoretiske og didaktiske perspektiver på klimaomstilling. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk (ISBN 9788202426163)

Birkeland, Inger (2005) Making Place, Making Self: Travel, Subjectivity and Sexual Difference. Aldershot: Ashgate (ISBN 9781138255234)

Birkeland, Inger (2002) Stories from the north. Travel as place-making in the context of modern holiday travel to the North Cape, Norway. Dissertation for the PhD-degree. Report nr 2/2002. Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo

Birkeland, Inger og Bjørg L. Hanssen (red.)(2000) Menneskers rom. Oslo: Unipub forlag (ISBN 9788274770492)


Birkeland, Inger (2024) Bokomtale: Håndbok i økopsykoterapi relevant for gestaltterapeuter. Norsk Gestalttidsskrift nr 1/2024

Birkeland, Inger and Eriksen, Mina B. (manuscript) Picture Environmental Citizenship as a Tree. 

Strogan, Juliana, Steffen F. Johannessen, Inger Birkeland, Vicky Mikalsen, and Audhild Kennedy (2023) Inclusive management: accommodating site complexity and pluralities in local values in the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial World Heritage Site, Norway. In: Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 517-533. 

Birkeland, Inger (2023): Discovering Ecologies of Learning in Place-conscious Education. In: New Perspectives on Humanities Education: Use of Resources from Kindergarten to Higher Education, eds: Karl Chr. Alvestad, Kari H. Norberg and Hege Roll-Hansen. London, Routledge  

Murtnes, Åsve; Kari Anne Jørgensen og Inger Birkeland (2019) Steder i naturen: Sted, natur og materialitet på ungdomstrinnet. I: Utmark nr 1/2019

Birkeland, Inger, Steffen F. Johannessen og Ellen Schrumpf (2019) Innledning: Fra industri til industriarv, temanummer av Tidsskrift for kulturforskning, redigert av Inger Birkeland, Steffen F. Johannessen og Ellen Schrumpf, vol 18, nr 2. 

Birkeland, Inger (2018) Making sense of the future: Valuing industrial heritage in the Anthropocene. In: Future Anterior, Special issue: Utopian currents in heritage, edited by Liz Stainforth and Helen Graham, 14(2) pp. 61-70

Parra, Constanza, Inger Birkeland, Rob Burton and Katriina Siivonen (eds.)(2018) Introduction: Culture, Sustainability and the Environmental Realm. In: Cultural Sustainability and the Nature-Culture Interface: Livelihoods, Policies, Methodologies. Routledge Series in Culture and Sustainable Development. London: Routledge

Inger Birkeland (2018) Heritage and Society. In: The SAS Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences, edited by Sandra L. López Varela. Wiley-Blackwell pp 823-827

Palang, Hannes, Katriina Soini, Anu Printsmann & Inger Birkeland (eds) (2017) Landscape and cultural sustainability, Special issue of Norwegian Journal of Geography, 71(3)

Birkeland, Inger (2015) Valuing industrial heritage in the Anthropocene. In: TICCIH Bulletin (The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage) nr 69, 3rd quarter 2015

Birkeland, Inger (2015) The Potential Space for Cultural Sustainability: Narrating the future of a post-industrial town. In: Theory and Practice in Heritage and Sustainability: Between Past and Future, edited by Elizabeth Auclair and Graham Fairclough. Routledge Series in Culture and Sustainable Development. London: Routledge

Soini, Katriina and Inger Birkeland (2014): Exploring the scientific discourse on cultural sustainability. Geoforum, Volume 51, January 2014, pp 213–223

Birkeland, Inger (2012) Rom, sted og kjønn: Begrepsavklaringer og bruksanvisninger, In: Rom for barnehage, edited by Atle Krogstad, Geir Karsten Hansen, Karin Høyland og Thomas Moser. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget

Birkeland, Inger and Astri Aasen (2012) Ecopsychology and Education: Place literacy in early childhood education. InVital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis, edited by Mary-Jayne Rust & Nick Totton. London: Karnac Books

Birkeland, Inger (2011) Place pedagogies and learning landscapes. In: IGU CGE Newsletter (International Geographical Union Commision on Geographical Education) 2011 (8)

Birkeland, Inger (2009) Kulturell bærekraft: Kulturarven som kilde til lokalsamfunnslæring. In: PLAN nr 3/2009, temanummer i anledning Kulturminneåret 2009.

Birkeland, Inger (2008). Cultural Sustainability. In: TAKU, a journal of The Art and Cultural Professionals' Trade Union 2008 (4). Finland

Birkeland, Inger (2008): Cultural Sustainability: Industrialism, Placeless-ness and the Re-animation of Place. I: Ethics, Place & Environment, vol. 11, nr. 3 (283-297).

Birkeland, Inger (2007) Culture, Cultural Policy, and Ecological Sustainability. In: Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy, nr 2 2007

Birkeland, Inger (2008) Sensing Places: The Politics of Authentic Place. In: Mobility and Place: Enacting Northern European Peripheries, edited by Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt and Brynhild Granås. Aldershot: Ashgate 2008

Birkeland, Inger og Jorunn Eikjok (2004) Natur, kjønn og kultur. Om behovet for dokumentasjon av samisk naturforståelse i et kjønnsperspektiv. In: Diedut nr 5/2004, Nordisk Samisk Institutt, Kautokeino

Birkeland, Inger J. (2004) Mennesket som et bevegelig sted: Feriens steder og regionale endringer. In: Mennesker, steder og regionale endringer, edited by Nina Gunnerud Berg, Britt Dale og Hans Kjetil Lysgård. Trondheim: Tapir Akademisk Forlag

Birkeland, Inger (2002) Reisen mot nord: Sted som metafor for kvinnelig subjektivitet. I: Kvinneforskning 2/2002, Temanummer Reiser i tid og rom

Birkeland, Inger (2002) Kjønn og kunnskapsmakt: Det mannlige blikket. In: Kunnskapsmakt, redigert av Siri Meyer og Sissel Myklebust. Oslo: Ad Notam/Gyldendal

Birkeland, Inger (2000) Luce Irigaray: Mors makt. In: Maktens strateger, redigert av Iver B. Neumann. Oslo: Pax

Birkeland, Inger (2000) Representasjoner av Nordkapp og norsk natur 1860-1900. In: Menneskers rom, redigert av Inger Birkeland og Bjørg Lien Hanssen. Oslo: Unipub forlag

Birkeland, Inger (1999) The Mytho-Poetic in Northern Travel. In: Leisure/Tourism Geographies. Practices and Geographical Knowledge, edited by David Crouch. London: Routledge

Birkeland, Inger J. (1998) Nature and the ”cultural turn” in human geography. In: Norwegian Journal of Geography, vol 52 (229-240)

Birkeland, Inger (1997) Visuell erfaring som situert kunnskap. In: Sosiologi i dag nr 1/97 

Birkeland, Inger (1997) The geographer as tourist/traveller. I: Limstrand, Ingunn: The Research Process: The Researcher's Tasks, Roles and Experiences. Report from a Research Course in Geography, Bårdshaug, september 1996. Papers from the Department of Geography, University of Trondheim

Birkeland, Inger (1995): Om å skrive feministisk geografi. I: Nordisk Samhällsgeografisk Tidskrift, nr 21

Birkeland, Inger Jøran (1994): The Feminine Hotel and the Man-Made Cultural Landscape. I: Nordisk Samhällsgeografisk Tidskrift, nr 19