A short visit to Seyðisfjörður to see the conditions, meet Goddur and the locals and visit for planning of the coming workshop. Here is a short photo gallery from the visit.


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Pre-Christianity Roots of Nordic Creative Language

A course in Iceland July 15th – 22nd – 2012.    (Part of Lunga)

The Iceland Academy of Art ( and the Oslo National Academy of Art ( offer an intensive master class for designers in July. The course takes place in the Blue Factory in Seyðisfjörður, East-Iceland (, Iceland as part of the 12th Lunga Arts Festival.

The town Seyðisfjörður has been part of the international society for a long time. It is the location of the arrival of the first telephone link from Iceland to the world over 100 years ago. It is the arrival point for the only passanger boat link to Europe and has been part of the international arts scene for decades. This narrow fjord is a place of a strange connection between strong local culture and the international arts and design scene. Located in Seyðisfjörður is Skaftfell Arts Centre ( with galleries, residences and workshops. Something that has been part of the portfolio of the Iceland Academy since its establishment.

The Lunga Arts Festival ( is a yearly event held in this town in a bohemian summer. In the middle of July people gather in a town of only 700 inhabitants, to enjoy the space that is created by electric vibes from various art forms melting together when young people from foreign locations unite in one place through their creativity. Lunga is first and foremost a festival with the purpose of summoning people in creation and to strengthen awareness and knowledge about art and culture. Through out the years Lunga has grown and has now become on of Iceland’s biggest art festival for young people. Going from having only 20 participants the first year to being completely sold out for the last years.

The Blue Factory ( is an old disused herring factory that went under a snow avalanche in the 70’s and presence of people is not allowed there in the winter because of further snow risk. It is being developed as a mini art and design factory that takes place in the summer. It houses woodworking and metal workshops and is full of industrial relics as a source of inspiration.

The master class is run by professor Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon ( from the Iceland Academy and professor Halldór Gíslason ( in the Oslo Academy. They have held courses with same focus in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Sweden and wider. The course will look into historical methods of Nordic myth rooted in being in harmony with nature. The aim of the workshop in the summer of 2012 is the roots of Nordic symbolic language, especially researching and experimenting with pre-Christian activity and symbolism. A great part of Nordic history has been distorted by Christian definitions of existence while Old-Nordic mythology and symbolism has landed under clouds of definitions and knowledge that is contaminated by Christian beliefs. The Blue Factory gang has spent time looking for the roots of symbols and language and the workshop will go through this and seek further samples. Last year’s workshop concentrated on building a sweat-lodge and researching into Nordic sweat culture for the same reasons. Slowly through academic periods and dialogue different knowledge is made available to designers and creatives.

The course is 1ECTS and is seen as an extra curricular activity for students in design but students from the other creative fields are welcome to apply. Participants will be 6-8 and will be selected on basis of group dynamics and diversity. Here are images from the Blue Factory and Lunga in July two years ago and here an album from last year. Part of the project will be in collaboration with Skálanes ( All this material is available also through the Blue Factory Website: (


The course is only open to students that have finished a BA degree.

There is no fee for participation.

Accommodation is provided in the factory but students have to bring their own sleeping bags.

Food or travel expenses are not provided but there is a communal kitchen in the factory and plans are that the group cooks together for intensive dialogue.

Students cover their own travel expenses but in some institutions, where the course is offered, can apply for travel grant to participate in the course.

Dates: Arrival not later than July 14th ending on July 22nd.

Engagement will be the basis for student evaluation.

Interested applicants should contact Halldór directly by mail ( before May 10th. Travel information will be provided after enrolment. The boat sails from Norway and Denmark to Seyðisfjörður and various flight companies offer trips to Reykjavik. Internal flights to Egilsstaðir from Reykjavik are provided by AirIceland. Students will be picked up in Egilstaðir airport on arrival.

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The sweat lodge on the right and the frame arranged on the left for fire etc. The town Seyðisfjörður is on the other side of the fjord, but only 15 minutes drive away. The fjord is open to Europe ha ha!

Here are photos of the first sweat that took place. We will make some more photo albums and the print reflective booklet will come out later this autumn.

We have to thank all participants and assistants for the great help that was offered. We learn lots about the world, how to deal with creativity and visual being and how to do business for culture. Look forward to our next project!!!

Here is the photo catalog. 

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Here on the photo is the area where the sauna is being erected and the ceremonial area for burning and thinking and communicating. The location is very close to our building and is on the other side of the fjord from the main town.

Tonight is the first official test of the new sauna that we have been progressing in the new art and design school in East Iceland. The great amazing students and teachers have been working hard on this and the test run is tonight with all the ceremonies.

This is the fundamental holder of ancient knowledge about living and dealing with the simplicity of doing, using and coming and leaving. All is actually design thinking really although we do not have to call it design. No worry. It is about understaning how to deal with our living and how to improve living conditions. Unfortunately very much of this tradition and dealing methods disappeared with Christianity and it takes years and decades to find again the wais to deal with survival, creativity and the future. This is what we are doing in our new design school in Seyðisfjörður in the factory.

I could go on about this forever but this time I just want to put one photo and little news about our efforts and how design can be worked differently and found from other angles than Christianity, Mathematics and Commercialism.

The workshop is held by the Icelandic Design School in Reykjavik (LHÍ) and the Norwegian Design School in Oslo (KHiO). Participants are selected by us and come from different countries and cultures and knowledges. The list of them this year are these.  The work has been very hard but the results are good. All will be published in a small booklet that is part of our program. The event is linked to the Lunga Festival that has this website. We, me and Goddur feel honored to be part of this event and working with all these great people. And especially thankful to the two brothers that provide the facilities and support with work and finance.

The two brothers Sigurbergur Sigurdsson and Thorgeir Sigurdsson, the owners of the facilities and supporters of this Icelandic extra design academy. Great co-workers and supporters of progressive work. Looking forward to continuing our cooperation over the coming years with students and partners from all over the world.

The sauna has been built and is being prepared for the first evening test run.

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An other photo album from the activities.

Slowly the sauna is developing. There is plan that the sauna will be active tomorrow morning and all the makers and participants are very interested in trying out the new sauna. It is going to be a fundamental tool for our development and ideas process for the coming years. We plan many new and different projects in the future years in this new school of art and design. Here are links and some images added.

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Here is a short photo dialogue about the activity in the workshop. Building a new outdoor sweat lodge. The plan is to make two such in the town and then proceed with the tradition that comes from North America.

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Here are a few images of the workshop preparing the sauna in the town.

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