"Examine the relationship between culture, sustainability and human responsibility..."




LOCAL LORE: Collection, Dissemination and Analyses


A twofold research approach will be developed between RA, SCN and local Archives:


1) "Bottom up" vernacular and

2) "Top down" academic, and a dialog between the two.


Iceland has a long tradition of lay-scholarship, and existing collections of local lore and writings reflect the various and complex aspects of the relationship between people and nature in isolated areas.

SCN will conduct short courses and seminars for local scholars in conjunction with the county museum at Husavik.  The local scholars will provide insight into history and lore and the academic scholars will provide insights into the international research community, specialized knowledge in the broad field of natural sciences and cultural studies, as well as data collection methods.


Data and documents on culture and nature will be collected and registered by the local scholars.  SCN will develop focused, academic research examining Icelandic and global nature - culture relations in local as well as international context, in micro- as well as macro- perspective.

The aim is to gain a better understanding of the links between the mythology of local lore and modern science and exploration by applying traditional disciplines from history and folk lore studies, archeology, anthropology,  geography and literature, to the philosophies of aporia, hiking and wayfaring.

Post-disciplinary research into expressions and conceptions of the reciprocity of nature and culture, which will range from the medieval literatures vast variety of handwritten manuscripts to the rapid evolution into modernity.  The subjects will range from:  History, folklore, old and new ways of life, literature, manuscript culture, storytelling, demography, manual culture, food traditions, use of vegetation, natural resources and deserted areas from   Flatey island to Odadahraun lava fields.


Scholars from several universities have expressed interest in conducting research in the area.  SCN aims to participate in, or pursue research grants for studies based on the data described above.  Such projects may be developed into pilot studies for further investigation into the role and value of cultural data collection  in remote rural communities.






Workshop for writers and poets and artists in the memory of:

Stephan G. Stephansson (1853 - 1927) and Bill Holm (1943 - 2009)


The workshop will be developed for scholars and artists to exchange ideas, insights and inspirations related to the two poets and their output.




Stephan G. Stephansson lived near Svartarkot for three years (1870 - 1873) prior to emigrating to North America.  He later lived in the United States (1873 - 1889)  and Canada (1889 - 1927).  Click here for more information








Bill Holm was a prolific American poet and essayist of Icelandic descent.  Both writers combined critical thinking, poetry and nature and shared a passion for arts and music.





The Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) initiative is a global network of researchers and research projects that link human and Earth system history through the integration of knowledge and resources from the biophysical and the social sciences and the humanities.



Circumpolar Networks — understanding cultural and socio-environmental connections in the North Atlantic on a millennial scale


The core of this case is the research program Inscribing Environmental Memory in the Icelandic Sagas (IEM), a major cross-cutting initiative of The Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (NIES),

The North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO) and The Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA).


Project Description:


Research clusters within NIES, NABO and GHEA, in cooperation with partner networks in the USA, the UK and the Nordic countries, have undertaken a major interdisciplinary research initiative that aims to examine environmental memory in the medieval Icelandic sagas, with a prominent focus on historical processes of environmental change and adaptation. The medieval Sagas of Icelanders constitute one key corpus, among numerous other literary and documentary corpora, to be investigated in this initiative.


The primary goal of the project is to consider evidence regarding environmental conditions and changes during the period ca. AD 850 to 1500. The information gathered will be related to how the environment was memorialized in the Sagas of Icelanders. There will be a particular focus on evidence of anthropogenic change to landscape and environment and how such developments may have shaped the writing of the sagas and their socio-environmental preoccupations. The sagas were committed to writing in the forms now largely preserved for posterity in the 13th through 15th centuries. The project thus also considers how environmental and societal conditions during this time period may have shaped an understanding of the past, including cultural foundation narratives and environmental lore.


RA/SCN will contribute:

Textual Analysis via Ecocriticism and Environmental History:


Coordinating the literary and historical (e.g. saga, legal, place names and folklore) analyses with focused ecocritical close readings of the sagas, working to optimize searches for environmental elements in documentary sources and to map as comprehensively as possible environmental content/representation in the literary sources, balancing quantitative with qualitative analyses.