Conference: Islands as diverse spaces


About the conference

In the vast expanse of our global landscape, islands and remote communities emerge as spaces of resilience, biodiversity, and cultural richness. The conference on island and remote communities will be held at the University Centre of Westfjords, Iceland, in partnership with the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon institute, on October 3rd to 5th 2024. The aim of the conference is to direct our attention to the intrinsic importance of islands and remote communities as dynamic microcosms deserving of profound research. Islands, with their distinctive ecosystems and social structures, face unique challenges—from the impact of climate change to the delicate balance of sustainable development. Recognizing the critical role that islands and remote communities play in global ecological and cultural tapestries, this conference aims at exploring island communities from three overarching themes: culture, language, and education. The conference will bring together practitioners from all levels and backgrounds to encourage interdisciplinary discussions to unearth the untapped potential of islands as “laboratories” for innovative research, policy development, and community empowerment. There will be lectures,workshops, creative presentations and roundtables at the conference. For more information about island studies click here.

Keynote speakers are:

Dr. Laurie Brinklow, Assistant Professor and Co-ordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program / Chair of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. There she facilitates and supports research on sustainable communities on islands around the world, as well as knowledge mobilization and public engagement activities. She also teaches ‘islandness’ in the Master of Arts in Island Studies program and supervises graduate students. She is President of the International Small Island Studies Association and is Iceland’s Honorary Consul to Prince Edward Island. A passionate Islander, her PhD research explored people’s attachment to islands by examining “islandness” in Tasmanian and Newfoundland artists.

Ástráður Eysteinsson, Professor of Comparitive Literature at the University of Iceland. Ástráður has worked at the University of Iceland for many years, first as a part-time teacher in general literature and English, then as a lecturer and associate professor in comparitive literature, and a professor since 1994. He has been a visiting professor at foreign universities and has been active in international research collaborations, in addition to having held various administrative positions at the University of Iceland. He was president of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Iceland from 2008 until 2015.

Gísli Pálsson, professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland. His research over the past four decades has spanned a wide range, from ancient Icelandic literature to modern genetics. In his publications, Gísli has explored many topics, such as the quota system, naming traditions and biotechnology. In recent years, he has increased his focus on environmental issues. Gísli has received many recognitions for his academic work. He received the Rossenstiel School award at the University of Miami (2000), recognition from the University of Iceland for research (2001) and an honorary award from the Ása Guðmundsdóttir Wright Award Fund (2014). He has written about 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and about 25 books, sometimes as a co-author. He has also worked on several documentaries.


Here you can see the preliminary schedule for the conference. Please note that the schedule could change.


Call for papers

We are opening a call for abstracts for the conference and seeking a wide variety of papers related
to islands and island communities. Possible themes include:

  • Sexual identity and gender
  • Islands and masculinity
  • LGBTQIA+ issues
  • Diversity and local knowledge
  • Violence
  • Immigrants
  • Education and schools
  • Religion and religious life
  • Education policies and curricula
  • Language and language learning
  • Sustainability and climate change
  • Nature and tourism
  • Resources and their management
  • History and philosophy
  • Narratives about the past and future
  • Island literature
  • Island identity
  • Traditions, and the present

The focus of the conference is on multiple and multidisciplinary topics. Therefore, papers with a
multidisciplinary approach or multiple themes will receive special consideration in the selection
process. The conference will be in English, and abstracts for proposed papers must be submitted in
English. Presentations including time for questions may not take more than 20 minutes. The abstracts should be sent to The deadline for the abstracts has been extended, it is still possible to send in your abstract.

Decisions regarding submissions are expected to be available in mid-May.

Sign up and pricing

Conference price

Price for early birds: 20.000 ISK (until June 30th)
Master's students and PhD students: 15.000 ISK
General price after early birds deadline: 25.000 ISK (until September 1st)

Included in the conference price: Coffee, lectures and two lunches (fish soup at the local famous fish restaurant, and a light lunch at the University Centre)

Conference dinner

Participants have the option to sign up for a celebratory dinner which will be held at the local culture house called Edinborgarhúsið. Participants can choose between lamb or a vegan dinner, and there will be a vegan option for the desert as well. Price per person is 6000 ISK.

Excursion and Travel from Ísafjörður to Reykjavík

Conference guests are invited to sign up for an exciting trip from Ísafjörður to Reykjavík via the southern part of the Westfjords region of Iceland, an area that is defined as a technical island due to transport difficulties. 

The bus leaves from Hotel Ísafjörður at 8:30 on Saturday, October 5.

The first destination is the majestic and scenic waterfall, Dynjandi. The waterfall is a multi-tiered cascade that descends a total of around 100 metres and is the largest waterfall in the Westfjord region. From there we head to Flókalundur where we get a visit from a representative of the local government and there is an opportunity at Flókalundur to buy lunch. The next destination is Reykhólar, where we will visit
The Boat and Gift-of-Nature Museum and get a guided tour. The museum tells the story of how inhabitants traditionally harvested the rich, natural resources in Breiðafjörður, with its thousands of islands and skerries. At this stop it is possible to buy coffee and something with it. The next stop is Erpstaðir, a dairy farm in the Northwest of Iceland, known for its homemade cheese and ice cream. After that, the next destenation will be the waterfall Glanni. After an eventful and adventurous day trip, the Krauma spa awaits. The Krauma Spa is a geothermal bath and spa resort located near Europe's highest flowing hot spring. Krauma has a total of six baths, five warm and one cold.  Krauma also has a restaurant where guests can buy dinner.

The estimated arrival time to Reykavík is between 21:30 and 22:00.

The bus costs 25,000 ISK per person. Entrance fee to Krauma Spa is included in the price. Note that this trip replaces a flight between Ísafjörður and Reykjavík and can be considerably cheaper than flying between Ísafjörður and Reykjavik.
Food and drink during the trip is paid for separately. 

Sign up and pay for the conference here

Accomodation and transport

For accommodation you can look up options at Visit Westfjords

International Flights: If you are making travel arrangements from abroad there are several airlines flying to Iceland. All of them arrive at Keflavik International Airport. The international airport is located approximitely 50 km away from Reykjavík, Icelands capital.

Airport shuttle Keflavik - Reykjavík: You can travel by coach/bus to and from Keflavik Airport. The trip from the airport terminal to Reykjavík downtown takes approximately 45 minutes. You can buy the tickets and find further details on the websites of the coach/bus companies.

Domestic Flights: From Reykjavik Domestic Airport you can fly with Air Iceland Connect to Ísafjörður which takes about 35 minutes.