2023 Icelandic Field Stations
Curriculum

Iceland is an extraordinarily beautiful, interesting and unique part of the world. There aren’t many other places where glaciers bump up against lava fields. It’s also true that the country gets its energy almost exclusively from geothermal and hydroelectric sources. In contrast to other wealthy industrialized nations of the Global North,

Iceland doesn’t suffer environmental degradation from nuclear waste, pesticide runoff, massive landfills, urban sprawl, open pit mining or many of the other types of sacrifice zones we see in most other countries. But how many dams have been built to power aluminum smelters and crypto farms, and at what environmental cost? What is Iceland’s carbon footprint really? How does its rich literary history inform the climate record? What changes is the country undergoing as the result of climate change? How quickly are glaciers receding and what impact is that having? How is potentially useful land unearthed as a result of glacial retreat? Who does it belong to, how should it be governed, and for what should it be used? What are the ramifications of Iceland’s agricultural policies? Are there regions functioning as circular economies? What impact has geothermal had on the landscape? Does Iceland have a high level of education, gender equality, and civil rights? And what about those sheep?

These are but some of the questions explored in Wright-Ingraham’s 2023 Icelandic Field Stations program, in partnership with Iceland’s Svartárkot Culture-Nature Project.

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ICELAND

Our integrated studies approach aims to enrich a transdisciplinary understanding of Icelandic culture-nature environments by engaging with conceptual, historical, and lived experiences of place. Through field studies and lectures by leading Icelandic and international scholars, place-based observations and site visits, exploring various visualization methods and literary research, examining historical records in relation to changes in landscape and climate, exchanging and building on environmental science and humanities knowledge, engaging with local communities, and discussing different multi-pillar perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of transformative issues at local, regional and global scales.

Foundational Topics

  • Ecology and natural sciences (geology, biodiversity, glaciology, hydrology)
  • Climate change (glacial recession, changing landscapes)
  • Systems thinking (interconnection, complexity)
  • Socio-cultural dynamics (politics, economics, ecotourism, energy resources, and industry, comprehension of core issues and stakeholders)
  • Landscape dynamics (language of landscape, land-use history and planning, architecture and climate)
  • Communication studies (understanding of environmental records, narratives, and digital visualization techniques)
  • Environmental Arts and Humanities research (interpretation of historical records and literature, learning through creative practices)

Outputs

Participants and faculty participate in daily activities, and are encouraged to develop their own agenda for inquiry within the framework set by the program team.

Each participant may develop a paper that connects to materials, concepts or experiences inspired by the IFS program. We highly encourage participants to submit these papers to considered for publication in a Special Issue of the Environmental Humanities journal, Ecocene, that IFS course leaders will guest edit.

Projects might develop from, for example: visualizations, drawings, narrative writing, recording and monitoring local conditions, analyzing ecosystemic changes, questioning representational strategies, exploring the restoration of physical and environmental spaces, examining food and energy pathways, engaging with ecocritical, arts and humanities studies, or establishing collaborative relationships with local actors.

Participants who have developed a prior proposal or agenda for inquiry in the region of study may pursue their own project during the workshop. Participants who do not have a prior project in the area may create one during the workshop, either independently or under the mentorship of faculty. This is not a mandatory requirement. Participants may engage with field station without having to develop an output if they so wish.

We welcome participants from any disciplinary background to wish to learn how multiple modes of thinking can aid in advancing an interdisciplinary understanding of place and professional practice.

 

Cost to Participants

We estimate the 2023 Icelandic Field Stations’ to cost participants approximately $4000 USD in total, based on twin share accommodation.

Food, accommodation, international flights, travel insurance, and airport shuttles are booked and paid for directly by participants, with the exception of accommodation in Höfn which may be paid to the Wright-Ingraham Institute directly. We will offer help organizing twin share accommodations for participants.

Field transportation and excursions and faculty costs are covered by a modest tuition fee ($990-$1090) which will be payable to Wright-Ingraham Institute upon acceptance to the course.

NOTE: The Wright-Ingraham Institute and the Svartárkot Culture-Nature Project are non-profit entities. 100% of all costs associated with the program go toward producing the program. Our programs are designed for small pods or research clusters of up to 15 participants and require a minimum of 10 for the program to run.

See our Logistics and Costs page for more detailed information.

Knowledge Sharing Policy

The IFS program encourages all participants and faculty to share knowledge freely, by allowing materials including photos, videos, presentations, publications, and other Field Stations outputs to reach a broader audience via our program websites, and by publishing via creative commons and open access agreements, rather than by proprietary means.