The 2023 Icelandic Field Stations is an interdisciplinary, immersive, place-based course held in Summer 2023 in various locations throughout northern and southeastern Iceland. The course has been developed at the intersection of the environmental humanities, alongside the natural and social sciences. It connects with local communities and to issues of global importance. In particular, it focuses on the scenic Lake Mývatn area, the Bárðardalur valley on the banks of the glacial Skjálfandafljót River with its magnificent waterfalls, and the Vatnajökull Glacier near Höfn, and will conclude in Reykjavik. The course will provide a unique blend of lectures and experiences of cultural histories and contemporary issues embedded in landscapes.

Through lectures, discussions and excursions, this co-produced workshop will engage a range of questions concerning the human dimensions of environmental change and the effects of such change on environments and societies. The course foregrounds questions of long-term societal resilience and cultural responses in the face of natural hazards, climate change, competition and societal conflict over resources, effects of early globalization, and anthropogenic transformation of landscapes and ecosystems at multiple time scales.

Our aim is that the diverse lectures and activities included in this course will spotlight the complex historical entanglement of society and environment, from the deep past into contemporary times. Our further goal is to inspire interdisciplinary scholarship and collaborations, whether focused on Iceland or elsewhere.

Themes/Keywords: Climate change / Icelandic Literature / Energy / Agriculture / Glacial Recession / Water / Arctic / Cultural Heritage / Environmental Humanities / Iceland / Ecology / Landscape studies


The aim of the IFS is to advance and share research concerning interactions between humans and nature, and to strengthen relevant connections between the environmental humanities and current political and scientific debates about the environment. A further goal is to generate discussions about the complex relationships between humans and nature in confronting contemporary environmental challenges.

The program seeks to showcase innovative research and provocative exchanges from experts in fields including history, environmental science, ecocriticism, visual studies, archaeology, anthropology, language studies, technology, energy, agriculture, and philosophy, with the aim to connect scholarship to public discourse of the Arctic region and build integrated knowledge that may contribute to deepening our understanding of local and global environmental challenges and how we might confront them.

Our hope is to broaden conversations through knowledge exchanges that strengthen the relationships between different research communities. By bridging or integrating disciplinary lines of thought through productive, generous interaction, we hope to build new ways of knowing and transmitting what we know, and by extension, build capacity to contribute to structural change.

IFS is not just about approaching topics in an integrated and multi-disciplinary way, it is about incorporating a new way of working together—listening, teaching, learning, and coalition-building with one another, and expanding research and practices in an emerging field that both values expertise and also recognizes the limitations that are always present in any one discipline—this is what IFS aims to deliver.


July 29th to August 11th 2023


First ten days: Kiðagil, Bárðardalur, northern Iceland. Approximately 60 km (50 miles) from Iceland’s northern capital of Akureyri.

Final three days: Höfn in Hornafjörður and Vatnajökull area, southeast Iceland. 


The region:

The rural regions of Mývatn and Bárðardalur in Þingeyjarsveit, northern Iceland, are unique environments—sometimes perceived as remote—but they are also entangled in the wider social and environmental histories of Iceland and the North Atlantic. Bárðardalur is a farming community in a deep valley and the neighboring Mývatn area is an elevated, inland lakeside community with a rare biodiversity and a history of rebellious social movements. The region is at the center of a range of long-standing collaborative research undertaken by the interdisciplinary team of scholars leading this course, and their colleagues. After Northern Iceland, we head to the Höfn area, to undertake a guided walk on a tongue of the Vatnajökull Glacier before terminating the course in Reykjavik

See HERE for a brief overview of Iceland and some of its current local environmental concerns, written by dr. Lea Rekow. 

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for those working across an array of disciplines who wish to supplement and broaden their interests in Arctic and Nordic studies with a unique site-specific curriculum in the environmental humanities and natural and social sciences. The course welcomes scholars, emerging professionals, researchers, post-graduates, master’s and doctoral students looking for new insights and inspirations in post-and transdisciplinary methods, as well as those wishing to stimulate and participate in a fresh exchange of ideas, methodological processes, and perspectives.

Though suited to a more advanced level of study, we also welcome motivated undergraduates to apply to participate in this course.

Application Deadline:

February 15th, 2023

Svartárkot Nature-Culture Svartárkot, 645 Fosshóli

+354 844 8645 – vidar@svartarkot.is

+354 895 4742 – gudrunhlini@gmail.com