CFP: 2nd International St Magnus Conference, Shetland, April 2014

Closing date for proposals: 1st November 2013

2nd International St Magnus Conference,
Lerwick, Shetland,
9-12 April 2014

The Northern Isles and the Sea: Maritime traditions, island narratives and disciplinary cross-currents

‘Da Sea’s da way da wirld comes to wis.’ (R.A. Jamieson, Nort Atlantic Drift 2007)


The Centre for Nordic Studies, UHI, is pleased to announce that the 2nd International St Magnus Conference will be held in Lerwick, Shetland, from 9-12 April 2014.

Orkney and Shetland are identified by their Nordic cultural and linguistic heritage and by the immutable fact that they lie in the North Atlantic, surrounded by the overwhelming presence of the Sea. The Sea has been a constant in their history, forging a unique way-of-life, influencing their customs and artistic life. It has brought the islands into contact with other cultures and at times it has isolated them from developments elsewhere. It brings riches but it takes away life. This multidisciplinary conference will explore this rich, intimate and at times terrifying relationship.

The principal themes of the conference will be:

–          The Whale Road -The Northern Isles during the Viking age

[Keynote – Professor James Barrett – ‘Laughing Playfully at the Threats of a Menacing Ocean’: The Northern Isles in the Viking Age and Middle Ages]

–          Fish and Ships – The Later Maritime Culture and boatbuilding

[Keynote – Professor Arne Emil Christensen – Boatbuilding in Western Norway and the Islands, tradition and innovation]

–          Moderdäi*– Sailscapes and mindscapes

[Keynote – Professor Terry Gunnell – On the Border: The Liminality of the Sea Shore in Icelandic Folk Legends of the Past]

–          Tall Ship Tales – Literature and the Sea

[Keynotes – Dr Penny Fielding tbc]

Call for papers:

The conference organisers invite researchers, academics, and other interested parties from a wide range of disciplines to participate in the conference. The event offers an opportunity to present papers and posters on archaeology, history, boatbuilding, fishing, mythology, customs, language and literature.

The deadline for contributions is:

Submission of abstracts (300 words maximum) 1 November 2013

Notification of acceptance 1 January 2014

Full papers due 1 March 2014

Abstracts and papers should be sent by e-mail to 

* The current under the sea, by which fishermen steered their boats to shore in foggy weather!

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