Laura Heiberg, class of 2015, was one of the founders of the BIDS Alumni online network. She tells us about what she’s currently doing just few months after her graduation. During BIDS, Laura majored in Human Geography, conducted MFS in Kenya, and received the Hydén Award for the best bachelor’s thesis on socio-economic and political issues in low- and middle-income countries.
Laura is currently working on a small farm located on the Danish Island, Fyn. It is not your regular farm, it bases itself on biodynamic principles, but it is also a residence and a day care centre for a group of mentally disabled adults.
She is currently writing a report on how the organisation is working with the residents, and especially how they are included in farming practices. Often, the work offered to people with mental deficiencies is ‘left-hand’-jobs that do not have a great importance for the business as such. However, Laura states that “a meaningful job is central for a person’s sense of worth”. This is achieved at the farm as the residents are included in central aspects of the farming activities, and the objective of the report is to document this process but also provide suggestions for future developments. Laura will live on the farm for three months in order to establish relations with the residents and get insights in the work they do.
The context of the work Laura does is not typically BIDS related, instead her interest in biodynamic farming has been the motivating factor for her to chose this. Laura can draw on certain aspects she learned at BIDS, for example; report writing and project evaluation. Laura conducted a field study in Kenya, and the experiences she gathered have been very useful, especially when interviewing and structuring the field work. She gathered data by both qualitative and quantitative methods and wrote her final bachelor thesis on ‘Water Accessibility in Western Kenya’.
At the moment, Laura is thinking of starting a master in Plan, City and Process Geography next September at Roskilde University in Denmark. She chose human geography as a major in BIDS and took several GIS classes, this masters would link theoretical ideas of human geography with practical city and regional planning, using GIS as a central method.
Interview conducted by Ruby Casellini, proofread by Kia Silvennoinen