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Community / Conference explores historic experiences of island lives

The uninhabited Shetland island of Havera. Photo: UHI

A CONFERENCE on northern studies, usually held every second year either in Orkney or Shetland, is moving online this year.

The St Magnus Conference, hosted by the Institute for Northern Studies, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, was originally scheduled to take place in Lerwick last year but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The three-day event, starting on 14 April, is entitled Island Histories and Herstories and will explore the contribution of women and men in island communities from before the Viking age to the present, revealing the experiences of island life through research and storytelling.

The event is free to attend and those signed up will have an opportunity to listen to over 40 speakers from more than ten countries, including Iceland, Finland, and Turkey.

Organiser Dr Andrew Jennings said: “When the pandemic first began last year, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone our annual conference.

“It was disappointing, the programme was fantastic, and the speakers had already put in so much work, so we were determined to make sure it went ahead in 2021 and have moved it online.

“And, just as our students can study with us remotely, no matter where they are based geographically, now our conference delegates can join us from anywhere in the world.

“It also presents a wonderful opportunity to share international knowledge gained through research with many more people, bringing alive stories from island communities without the need to travel in person.”

This year’s keynote speaker John Goodlad will talk about the 19th century Shetland cod hunters.

Other topics include:-

  • Skyr Tactics: Power through Protein in Medieval Iceland;
  • Medical and Magical Properties of Viking Gender Identities;
  • Knitting Skills and Stories: Makkin and Yakkin in Shetland and the Aran Isles;
  • Women’s Lives in 19thcentury Newfoundland.

More information and how to register can be found at www.uhi.ac.uk/stmagnus2020 or by e-mailing INS@uhi.ac.uk