Reflecting on 2023

A year that had mainly challenging news globally, to say the least – it's even more vital to spotlight the good news and achievements. At the University Centre, there were many moments for us that we will keep in good memories. The biggest milestone for UW was the opening of our new student housing this autumn. Witnessing its transformation from an idea to a tangible reality in just over a year was fantastic. Navigating the complexities of such an ambitious undertaking in a remote setting, with its many unpredictabilities, demanded a lot of collaboration, determination, and patience. This wasn't just a construction project; it was coastal community development in practice.

Another UW student receives a thesis grant

Emma Dexter, an UW student in the Coastal Communities and Regional Development master’s program, has received a grant from the Regional Development Agency of Iceland for her final project. She has received ISK 330.000 to research the place attachment of people who live in areas at risk from natural disasters in Iceland. She will also explore people's awareness of climate change and their assessment of disaster risk. In addition, she wants to know whether there are differences in these factors between places depending on whether people live in areas with a risk of natural disasters or not. She will do this by conducting a national survey in Iceland.

Three UW students receive a grant for thesis research

Three UW students have received a grant from “Hafsjó af Hugmyndir” for their thesis work. Hafsjór af Hugmyndum is an innovation grant for university students organised by Sjávarútvegklasi Vestfjarðar in collaboration with Vestfjarðastofa. The grant is intended for undergraduate or graduate students at an Icelandic university for a final project whose goal is to create increased value from marine products or to promote business life in the Westfjords.

Place attachment and avalanche threat

Matthias Kokorsch, academic director of the Coastal Communities and Regional Development master’s program at UW and Jóhanna Gísladóttir, from the Agricultural University of Iceland (Landbúnaðarháskóli Íslands), have been researching the interaction between place attachment and natural disasters with the CliCNord project. The CliCNord project examines how small rural communities in the Nordic countries understand their own situation, how they handle adverse events, and under what circumstances they need help from the established system and civil society organizations. There are different hazards that affect local communities across the Nordic countries that are regarded as a direct consequence of climate change, like coastal flooding, cloudbursts, wildfires, slush avalanches, and flash floods for example. In the CliCNord project, there are 8 different cases in 5 countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Give Icelandic A Chance receives the European Language Label

The campaign Gefum íslensku séns or “Give Icelandic a chance” has been awarded the European Language Label. The award encourages the development of new techniques and initiatives in the field of language learning and teaching. The label is awarded to the most innovative language learning projects in each EU member state and third country associated to Erasmus+. The campaign Give Icelandic a Chance received the award from the Ministry of Education and Children's Affairs and Rannís in collaboration with the European Commission. You can read more about the European Language Label here.

Introducing research in the Westfjords

On Friday, November 10th, the weekly lunch lecture was held outside the walls of the University Centre of the Westfjords for the first time. The event was held at Blábankinn in Þingeyri, where researchers from the Westfjords gave short lectures about their latest work. The researchers are part of the Westfjords Research Association , which is a group of people who conduct research in the Westfjords and the surrounding area. The speakers were from the University Centre of the Westfjords (UW), the University of Iceland and the Natural Science Institute of the Westfjords.

Arneshreppur gives Icelandic a chance

The community center in Trékyllisvík in Árneshreppur in the Strandir region was lively during the weekend when the „Give Icelandic a Chance“ campaign was presented. According to Ólafur Guðsteinn Kristjánsson, coordinator of Icelandic studies at the University Centre of the Westfjords, the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the process of learning Icelandic and how we as a society can contribute to people's progress in Icelandic by giving learners the opportunity to use the language on as many occasions as possible. The aim of the campaign is to promote increased opportunities for people to use Icelandic in the widest and most diverse way possible, so that those who learn the subject, no matter where they are, receive the support and understanding of those who are native speakers. The campaign is supported by the University Centre of the Westfjords, the Center for Lifelong learning and the municipality of Ísafjörður.

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.