Wright-Ingraham Institute 2023 Icelandic Field Stations Program
Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants

1. How many participants will be selected to participate in this year’s program?

A small group of participants, between 10 and 15, is expected to participate in this year’s program. The course is predicated on a minimum of 10 participants and applicants will be notified that the course is proceeding when their application is accepted (typically by mid-March, 2023).

2. How many faculty/facilitators will be present?

Between 18 and 20 Icelandic and international faculty will rotate through the program, some staying for several days, others participating throughout the course. On average 2-5 faculty and facilitators will accompany the group on any given day.

3. What criteria are used to determine the selection of program participants?

WII and SCN strive to select a wide range of exceptional participants across race, gender, age and experience. The focus is on choosing those that will benefit most from the program.

The overriding criteria for evaluating Icelandic Field Stations applicants is the likelihood of advancing emerging leaders in their respective fields, especially those engaged in interdisciplinary fields relating to climate-change resiliency, the arts and humanities, and those with an interest in arctic and sub-arctic regions.

Field Stations programming focuses on building integrated knowledge across disciplines and is targeted towards early career professionals or those at a high academic level.

4. Are there any costs to participate?

Participants must directly pay all costs associated with this program. We estimate the total cost for a room share participant will be under $4,500 USD, including the cost of international travel, internal travel from Reykjavik to Akureyri, travel insurance, food, accommodation, tuition, excursions and other course related travel, and misc. other expenses. Please see our LOGISTICS & COSTS page for more information.

Participants are asked to pay an up-front $300 non-refundable tuition fee to secure their place following acceptance to the program.

5. Why am I asked to pay a $300 security fee to participate in the program?

The fee is requested to hold the participants’ place in the program, to avoid last minute cancellations, and to insure the participants’ commitment. We understand that this is a very unstable time and last minute changes may occur, so we ask participants to examine all materials, consider their own comfort level, as well as their ability to participate in 13 days of in-the-field research which involves extensive travel, and the toll that long bus journeys, moderate-level fitness travel excursions, their ability to adjust to new locations, new people, new places, and new ways of being might entail emotionally before committing to participate in the program.

6. What is the impact you hope participants gain from this experience?

The aim of the Field Stations program is to provide a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and culture, expand exposure to multi-disciplinary perspectives, positively influence and enhance professional skills and leadership development opportunities, and lead to providing better socio-environmental understanding of Iceland, Nordic culture and this sub-Arctic environment.

7. How will this program advance participants’ careers?

Integrative, place-based inquiries are important to help expand knowledge and research networks, create symbiotic connections to ideas across various subjects, disciplines, and cultures, and provide a foundation to enhance creative, interdisciplinary understandings.

8. What excursions will participants engage in and what is the fitness level and accessibility required?

Most days will include an excursion of some kind, including hikes to the highlands, visits to hydroelectric dams and geothermal power stations, glacial walks and kayaking, and other activities that will require a moderate level of fitness and good mobility.

9. Is this program affiliated with any other organizations, And if so how?

The 2023 Icelandic Field Stations program is a co-production of the Wright-Ingraham Institute and the Svartárkot Culture-Nature (SCN) program based in Iceland.

10. What are the Institute’s safety protocols, COVID-19 policy, travel insurance requirements, and is there a liability waiver?

WII will require proof of up-to-date vaccination for participants to sign a legal liability waiver. We hope to minimize COVID risk due to the small number of participants – a pod – and the curriculum that maximizes time spent in open spaces. Participants should be aware, however, that there is also substantial time spent traveling together in a van on a daily basis, and in some instances, we will be working indoors. Our accommodations may also require room sharing. In these contexts, we will not be socially distanced. Obtaining private travel insurance is also a requirement and an obligation that falls to the participant. If a participant tests positive for COVID while on the trip, participants’ own insurance will be expected to provide quarantine accommodation during an isolation or quarantine period.

If an exposure event requires postponement or abandonment of the Icelandic Field Stations program, participants will be offered the opportunity to have their participation deferred to a later time or receive a refund of their tuition security fee, however any refund for their accommodation and flights will be dependent on the participant’s own insurance policies.

11. What do we eat during the trip? Are meals available for special diets, food allergies, vegan or vegetarian preferences, etc?

Participants will be asked to inform us about any dietary restrictions prior to the start of the program, and also discuss this with their place of accommodation.

12. Are there places to shop for personal items along the way and do laundry?

Laundry services are available at Kiðagil. Please note we will send out a packing list before the start of course, but be prepared to bring galoshes, warm clothing, rain gear, thermal underwear, hiking boots and sneakers if possible. Though we are visiting Iceland in the summer, the country is often windy, and daytime temperatures can often be as low as 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

13. Where do participants stay?

Each location will have a different type of accommodation (farm, hostel, hotel, dorm) with the common thread that all accommodation is shared unless participants book single rooms at a higher cost.

14. Are there “off days” for participants to unwind?

We recognize the importance of personal time however our days are full, with the understanding that we don’t want to overpack them whenever possible.

15. How is room sharing organized?

Through discussion and consensus among participants, and in coordination with the course administrators and the accommodation venues.

16. Will rooms be shared between participants and visiting faculty/facilitators or course staff?

No, at no point will participants share rooms with faculty or facilitators.

17. How are participants emotionally supported?

Our trained educators and facilitators have long-standing experience in experiential learning situations as well as in field research. Most faculty and facilitators have experience living in and working in Iceland. We value justice, diversity, equity and Inclusion and everything that those four words represent in today’s global society. Racism, discrimination, microaggressions, and harrassment of any kind will not be tolerated and anyone found to be creating a hostile, or emotionally or physically dangerous environment will be asked to leave at their own expense. Please see WII’s Code of Conduct for more on this. However, we also ask that participants evaluate their own level of emotional maturity before deciding to participate.

18. Is it possible to attend for only part of the program?

No. Given the small number of participants accepted, the per-participant cost of the program to WII and SCN, and the nature of travel, participants are expected to attend the entire program from start to finish.

19. Why choose this program over others?

The Icelandic Field Stations program is a unique program that focuses on experience and observation. It examines how we understand our connections to culture and nature across disciplines such as the environmental humanities, and the physical and social sciences. WII’s Field Stations programs have provided transformative experiences to participants since the mid-1970s. The program offers an extended period of time spent in the field, knowledgeable expert educators and facilitators, and an immersive learning environment.

20. Is this an annual program and can I apply next year?

It is likely that WII will pursue some manifestation of field-based learning next year, but the current year’s program is a uniquely formulated itinerary with faculty and facilitators specially suited to the current site and time.

21. How much time is spent in the car a day, how much in the field, and how much in the classroom?

This varies by day over the period of the workshop. There is outdoor field time provided in many different settings, ecological conditions and climates. Many days will have some indoor learning in addition to time outside in the field. Some days will involve several hours of driving to excursion sites. The landscape of Iceland is powerfully compelling and we will be traversing a large portion of the island’s north and southeast over a short period of time. We will often be traveling on small roads through rural areas and stopping to visit and study many places along the way.

22. Can you walk us through a typical day of field stations, and the highlights of the program?

There are no typical days. All days will be unique, but participants can refer to our day-to-day ITINERARY (forthcoming) for day to day details. Every day will be an adventure and a learning opportunity. We hope that there will be challenges and many rewards expected from spending time in nature, among peers, learning from knowledgeable experts and locals who have a deep investment in place. Some participants may find one experience a highlight, others may be moved by something altogether different.

23. Is this program taking into account the ecological footprint of conducting the program?

WII will observe all reasonable best practices for reducing our ecological footprint, however we all must understand that we will be traveling to and from Iceland, and around the island by bus. It will be up to participants to offset their own carbon footprints for their air travel, if they choose to do so (many airlines now account for this automatically in the purchase price of the ticket).

24. Can you tell us what this faculty member or that faculty member will be teaching?

Yes, please see the CURRICULUM pages on our website as well as our PEOPLE pages to learn more about this year’s areas of study, regional expertise, and background of faculty/facilitators.

25. Is there school credit for this program, and are participants expected to produce an output?

The program may offer an optional European graduate-level, for-credit component that requires extensive reading prior to the start of the course. In the past, the course has been accredited through Hólar University College. This is still being negotiated as of Fall 2022, and we find that most participants have chosen not to take the for-credit option in the past.

Participants may focus on developing any project they choose, or none at all. We hope each participant will consider writing an environmental humanities paper for a special issue of the Ecocene Journal, guest edited by the IFS program directors, that is based on the experiences and knowledge gleaned by the IFS experience.

26. Who owns the intellectual material? Is it creative commons?

The WII follows standard university protocol on intellectual property. All work created over the course of the workshop belongs to the participant. The institute has the right to use study materials in documents for grant reporting and future promotion of the Field Stations program, however, we hope that the materials produced, and images taken, will be circulated by participants as creative commons material, in keeping with the concept that knowledge should be freely circulated in a non-proprietary manner, and available to all at no cost.

27. What is the focus of the program? Is it an environmental humanities program? Or a creative program for environmental studies researchers?

We use an integrative studies model to emphasize cross-disciplinary environmentally-focused inquiry. By bringing diverse viewpoints and practitioners together, we can examine socio-ecological relationships and build on understandings that widen knowledge about how culture and nature interconnect.

28. What will I learn?

We hope that you will learn to see in different ways – the interrelationships between living and non-living systems – from lands and water to people and place.

In this program, participants will:

  • Imagine and understand interconnected systems and timescales
  • Gain field inquiry experience and eco-literacy
  • Use tools from the sciences, arts and humanities
  • Be part of a supportive research community

29. Is this program accessible to anyone needing extra accommodations? If so, who and how?

This program requires a medium level of fitness and full physical mobility. We will be traveling in vans, hiking different terrains, kayaking, and walking on glaciers. We are committed to providing an immersive experience to all who apply and commit to being part of the program and would like to hear from you if you have any particular questions, concerns, or accessibility requests. Please contact us directly at fieldstations@wright-ingraham.org to discuss.

30. Is there a typical demographic of participants?

Faculty and participants come from a diverse range of nationalities and ages, as well as racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. They generally possess a diverse range of expertise and come from a variety of disciplines.