18 December 2023

Collaboration with Relics of Nature


ROCS postdoc Arndís Bergsdóttir has embarked on a collaborative venture with the University of Oslo's Relics of Nature project.

A group of people with mountain tops in the background.
ROCS postdoc Arndís Bergsdóttir (second from left) with the Relics of Nature team. Behind them, newly solidified lava from the peninsula’s recent eruptions. Photo: ROCS.

ROCS Postdoc Arndís Bergsdóttir, whose work at the centre straddles the boundaries of nature and culture, has embarked on a collaborative venture with the University of Oslo's Relics of Nature (RoN) project. Her collaboration with RoN focuses on the exchange of perspectives and methodologies to grasp Iceland’s unique geological features and their relationships with social and cultural forces. Earlier this year, Arndís was a featured speaker in the RoN webinar series, where she introduced ROCS interdisciplinary project and the collaborative methods involved.

In the following months, Arndís joined the RoN team on a field trip across Reykjanes, Iceland's southern peninsula, earlier this year. The area is known for its dramatic and ever-changing geological formations and has experienced a reawakening marked by a resurgence in volcanic activity beginning in 2021 after more than 800 years of dormancy. In fact, in the weeks following the field trip, parts of the area were evacuated due to a magma dyke running under the Reykjanes town of Grindavík, exemplifying, in real-time, the intricate relationships between nature and society.

Group of people on top of a mountain.

Hiking up Mount Thorbjorn, which became part of the seismic activity’s epicentre shortly after. Photo: ROCS.

Interisciplinary collaboration

The collaboration reached another milestone in September with a workshop hosted by Relics of Nature with collaborators and RoN expert advisory members Jamie Lorimer from the University of Oxford, Emma Waterton at York University, Caitlin DeSilvey at the University of Exeter and Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir an Icelandic based artist. Arndís presented her emerging paper on moving land- and seascapes, a work inspired by her participation in the ROCS research cruise in the summer of 2021. The paper delves into the intricate relationships between Iceland's geological movements and the surrounding seas, offering a novel perspective on methodologies that encapsulate the complex connections between land- and seascapes.

This partnership between ROCS and Relics of Nature is a prime example of how interdisciplinary collaboration can lead to significant advancements in environmental research. The insights gained from this collaboration are not only crucial for understanding Iceland's unique landscapes but also for broader environmental studies, offering valuable lessons on the global scale of ecological, oceanographic, geological, social, and cultural interplay.

People sitting in a lecture hall faceing a whiteboard

Relics of Nature workshop at the National Museum of Iceland. Photo: ROCS.