Exploring Iceland‘s Coastal Future

Students from the University Centre of the Westfjords recently went on a field trip to picturesque locations near Ísafjörður. The student group was a combination of two courses taught in two different master‘s programs. One of them was „People and the sea: Geographical perspectives” which focuses on understanding the connection between people and the ocean with terms from geography. The other was "Coastal and Marine Management: Theory and Tools", where students learn about theories, policy making, legalization and tools in marine and coastal management. Since the two courses touch on similar topics it was a perfect opportunity for a joint field trip.

The first group of students settles into UW‘s new student housing

The University Centre of the Westfjords marked a significant milestone yesterday as the first group of students moved into their brand-new student housing. The student housing complex is made up of two separate buildings, one of which is now ready for occupancy. The other building, which is still being built, will be ready in the fall, with plans for an official announcement and celebratory events once both buildings are fully operational.

Bjarney Ingibjörg joins UW as project manager

The University Centre of the Westfjords is delighted to announce that Bjarney Ingibjörg Gunnlaugsdóttir is the new project manager at UW. She is born and raised in Ísafjörður and has been an integral part of the local music community. Her love for music was nurtured from early age ever since she studied at the local music school. Later she studied at the Complete Vocal Institute in Chopenhagen, Denmark. She has been a music teacher for 30 years but recently changed paths.

Cruise ships and common eelgrass - defenses starting tomorrow

The season of theses defenses is upon us again. In the next couple of weeks, 16 students will defend their master's theses at UW, with a smorgasboard of interesting topics.

Orientation Day 2023

The University Centre of the Westfjords kicked off the new academic year with an exciting Orientation Day for incoming students. Like previous years, the student group is international with a diverse background.

Walk and theatre: A take on Gisla's Saga

The Give Icelandic a Chance events are still in full swing and tomorrow, Tuesday, will see a take on Gislasaga, one of the Icelandic Sagas which partly takes place in Haukadalur by fjord Dýrafjörður. The event is held in collaboration with Kómedíuleikhúsið, the smallest professional theatre group in Iceland.

Icelandic Learners Everywhere in August

As is usual in August, we're all about Icelandic learning these days. Our three week beginners' course began yesterday with 19 participants. The Give Icelandic a Chance campaign is of course also in full swing and its various events suitable for the Icelandic learners, so we want to remind you of the objectives of the campaign; to give those who are learning the language a chance to use it as much as they can and have ability to, be patient, simplify and repeat their sentences and not demand that the learners speak perfect Icelandic. And last but not least, give Icelandic a chance and not shift over to English or some other language right away.

Please take part in a survey for the Westfjords!

University Centre of the Westfjords is asking for the participation of as many residents in the Westfjords as possible in a survey for a research project on place appropriation.

Exciting job opportunity at the University Centre!

School for International Training (SIT) in Vermont, USA, is looking for a new academic director for its study abroad program in Iceland. The job is a renewable, year long position, located at University Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður. Application date is by 10 July and anticipated job start is 1 August. Click here for further information and application form.

A memorable Graduation Ceremony

As usual, the Graduation Ceremony took place on Iceland's National Day, 17th of June - which is the birth date of independense leader Jón Sigurðsson - as part of the celebrations at Hrafnseyri which is the birth place of Jón. This year's cohort was unprecedentelly large, receiving their certificates from the rector of UNAK and the UW graduate caps which are knitted hats with tassles, as a nod to the traditional Icelandic tail-cap.

How can a community support language acquisition?

A symposium in relations to Give Icelandic a Chance took place on Thursday, with a following workshop on Friday. The symposium was titled "How can a community support language acquisition?" and several speakers gave very interesting talks, which goes to show quite an ambition for teaching Icelandic to foreigners so that the language can be of proper use to them and make Icelandic society more accessible.

Students' Short Films

The course From extraction to attraction: Coastal communities in an era of leisure and tourism, which Patrick Maher teaches, finished last week. At the end of the course students made videos highlighting their perspective on Ísafjörður and its surroundings and the results are these three fun short films:

Various events coming up!

The Give Icelandic a Chance campaign continues into the summer and some very interesting events are lined up over the next few weeks, as can be seen on the poster here on the right.

UW's Annual Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of University Centre of the Westfjords was held on Friday 5th of May. Apart from traditional objectives of the Annual Meeting, a new board was elected as well as chair of the representitives' council. Very few changes were made, Dóra Hlín Gísladóttir was re-elected as chair of the council and the UW board remains the same except for a new secretary, as Stefán B. Sigurðsson left the board and Martha Lilja Martensdóttir was voted in to replace him.

Ambassador of Canada visiting UW

Canada's Ambassador to Iceland, Jeannette Menzies, visited the University Centre of the Westfjords today and spoke to both staff and students about continuing, and possibly increasing, collaboration with Canadian institutes. The weather in Ísafjörður was really welcoming so the ambassador joined the students of From Extraction to Attraction: Coastal Communities in an Era of Leisure and Tourism on a walk around town.

Grimsson Fellows - open for applications!

The new Grimsson Fellowship is now open for applications, until 1 July. The Fellowship is a collaboration between the University of Iceland, University of Akureyri, Reykjavík University, the University Center of the Westfjords and the biotechnology company Kerecis, which originates in Ísafjörður.

Students learning about "smart shrinkage"

A group of UW students is travelling to Latvia and Lithuania to take part in a two week Nordplus course on de-populating smaller regions. The course is a 5 ECST international course where students focus on development of regions around the Baltic Sea.

Second batch from Estonia arrives

The remaining, modules for the new Students Housing buildings arrived at the harbour yesterday. The new buildings are prefabricated from construction company Seve in Estonia from where the flock of builders also came from earlier this month.

Beach Clean Up in pictures

Students on the course Pollution in the Coastal Arctic had a beach clean up on the First Day of Summer last week, not the least to celebrate Earth Day which was on 22 April. The clean up was a collaboration with students from MÍ College; UW students organised the day and the college students participated in the project, hand in results at MÍ and get their work evaluated there.

Exciting addition expected next year

One of the results from UW participating in NOCCA is a new, exciting workshop on rising sea level which will likely be offered next year. This week, our academic directors attended the 6th NOCCA conference (Nordic Conference on Climate Change Adaptation) in Reykjavík.

Buildings for students taking shape

Many people have noticed that the new students housing is taking shape by Fjarðarstræti. There will be two buildings and currently work is being carried out on one of them, as it's supposed to be ready for move-in on 15 September.

It's thesis defense season

In the coming weeks, UW master's students will defend their master's theses at the University Center of the Westfjords. The subjects are varied and the students are from both master's programs, Coastal Marine Management and Coastal Communities and Regional Development. The defenses are accessible to everyone through links that can be found in the schedule below. Detailed information about each defense can also be found in our events calendar.

"We need to cater more to the Eco System"

Head of the Icelandic Climate Council, Halldór Þorgeirsson, visited students taking the Marine Protected Area Management course this morning, for an informal talk. Halldór was attending a conference by the Icelandic Forest Service held in Ísafjörður yesterday and took the opportunity to visit UW before heading back.

Field trip to Thingeyri

Students from the course Sustainable Aquaculture struck gold during their field trip to Thingeyri on Wednesday. Instructors Peter Krost and Pierre-Olivier Fontaine took their students to visit Arctic Fish where they learned about its operation and were given a tour of the company at its base in the Blue Bank. After that, the group went out on a boat to have a look at the sea farming docks in Dýrafjordur.

Our Community


Adapting to Change

My name is Brittaney Key, and I’m a Fulbright Fellow and master’s student in the Coastal Communities and Regional Development (CRD) program. I chose to come to Iceland for my fellowship specifically because of the CRD program and its unique inclusion of sustainability and development in a rural context.

UW Abroad: Exploring the Baltic with NORDPLUS

This spring, from April 28th to May 14th, a group of 8 UW students had the opportunity to participate in a NORDPLUS trip in the Baltic region, where we joined students from universities in Finland, Lithuania, and Latvia to explore “smart shrinking” strategies for regions experiencing population decline.

The Beauty in Everyday Life - Ísafjörður

Nýlega lauk meistaranámskeiðinu Frá auðlindahagkerfi í aðlöðunarhagkerfi: Sjávarbyggðir á tímum afþreyingar og ferðalaga sem Patrick Maher kennir. Í lok námskeiðsins bjuggu nemendur til myndbönd með þeirra sýn á Ísafjörð og nærumhverfið og útkoman urðu stórskemmtilegar stuttmyndir.

Wake Boarding Westfjords

Nýlega lauk meistaranámskeiðinu Frá auðlindahagkerfi í aðlöðunarhagkerfi: Sjávarbyggðir á tímum afþreyingar og ferðalaga sem Patrick Maher kennir. Í lok námskeiðsins bjuggu nemendur til myndbönd með þeirra sýn á Ísafjörð og nærumhverfið og útkoman urðu stórskemmtilegar stuttmyndir.

A Tale of One Naughty Tourist

Nýlega lauk meistaranámskeiðinu Frá auðlindahagkerfi í aðlöðunarhagkerfi: Sjávarbyggðir á tímum afþreyingar og ferðalaga sem Patrick Maher kennir. Í lok námskeiðsins bjuggu nemendur til myndbönd með þeirra sýn á Ísafjörð og nærumhverfið og útkoman urðu stórskemmtilegar stuttmyndir.

A typical week in the life of two interns in Ísafjörður

Hello we are Hannah and Linda, two students from southern Germany. We are studying Public Administration at the University of Applied Sciences in Kehl. As part of our studies we are doing a three month long internship at the University Centre in Ísafjörður.

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