Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health

Professor Astrid Blystad

University of Bergen, Norway

16th January 2022


With increasing collaboration with Maya Unnithan at the Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technology and Health (CORTH), School of Global Studies, a visit to the University of Sussex had been on the agenda for long time. But as the corona pandemic never seemed to come to an end, the prospects for moving abroad for a research stay seemed rather bleak. However, with the support of Unnithan and the administration at CORTH, we carried on with the plans and finally secured a most rewarding five- weeks stay.

I was given the chance to attend a number of seminars at CORTH and was impressed by the interdisciplinary nature and the academic quality of the discussions. I also truly enjoyed seminars at the Department of anthropology Anthropology regularly followed by pub visits with extended contextual discussion.

I was also given the chance to arrange seminars with a focus on collaborative activity and my own research. The first presented a new Research Council of Norway-funded project (MATRISET) which critically scrutinizes local implementation of global health surveillance, with an empirical focus on the ‘maternal death surveillance and review system’ (MDSR) in Tanzania and Ethiopia. CORTH is a central partner in this project. The second seminar had a focus on ongoing research exploring the dynamics between national abortion laws and policy on the one hand and women and girls’ actual access to relatively safe abortion services on the other. Both seminars ended in fruitful discussions centering on key questions within the respective research areas.

A number of lunches, dinners, pub visits and walks with staff and students added to the joy of the stay. I truly appreciated the many walks and talks along the long Brighton beaches (one even including a swimming trip), walks in the South Downs National Park, which surrounds the university campus, and along the beautiful white cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Another true highlight was the Lewes bonfire festival. It is difficult to beat the creativity and craze played out during the course of these evening hours, not the least in beautiful Lewes.

Upon return to Norway, we work to further strengthen and formalize the collaboration between CORTH and relevant academic environments at the university of Bergen. Presently we are in the process of planning research stays for PhD students.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all academic and administrative staff and students for providing me with this special opportunity, and not the least my thanks go to Maya Unnithan who received me with such hospitality and warmth in the midst of the corona pandemic.

Thank you very much!

Astrid Blystad
Professor, Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care
University of Bergen, Norway 


Astrid Blystad smiling, stood with a Brighton Bike on the Coastal path