Memorial University has a long history in Labrador, not only in research, but also in the well-remembered educational and engagement activities of the Extension Service. One early achievement was the Labrador Film Project carried out by Tony Williamson in 1969; but field workers implemented many projects and provided a wide variety of services throughout the region, and in the 1970s maintained a noted presence in Cartwright and Nain.
The Labrador Institute of Northern Studies was announced in 1977 and formally adopted its constitution in 1979, with Williamson at the helm as Executive Director. The institute was originally intended to promote community development, to assist the delivery of extension services, and to support socio-economic research, as well as to establish a permanent link with the Memorial campus in St. John's. The institute’s relationship with the Extension Service continued to evolve, with very close collaboration, until the termination of the latter in 1993; and in 1997, the university changed the focus of the Institute's activities and renamed it the Labrador Institute of Memorial University.
Today, the Labrador Institute has a small permanent staff, as well as a number of associated researchers and postdoctoral fellows.
A poster entitled, Memorial in Labrador: A Historical Overview, gives a timeline and summary of these activities.