Research | Háskólinn á Hólum



DRT Research Policy 2018

Appendix to DRT Research Policy 2018



Year: 2014-2015

Georgette Leah Burns

The project involves design of the expansion of the Icelandic Seal Center exhibition as well as design of the area outside the Center including the Hvammstangi harbour area as a whole. The goal of the project is to encourage tourists to stay longer in the area. Partners in this project include the Icelandic Seal Center, the municipality of Húnaþing vestra (HV), Kaupfélag HV general store, the tourism association HV, Gauksmýri ehf, Reykir museum, the library of HV, the school of HV, the Tourism Department of the University of Hólar, Kidka Wool Factory, Sealwatching and Institute of Freshwater Fisheries.

Funding: Vaxtarsamningur Norðurlands Vestra



Year: 2014-2015

Georgette Leah Burns

The exploratory workshops on “Human-Seal Interrelations” aim to address issues concerning the ecology and social behavior of different seal species from a diachronic perspective in connection to human activity and environmental change. The focus will be on specific seal species, harp seal, grey seal, ringed seal and harbor seal which are or were indigenous in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic during the Holocene. The presence of different seal species in different time periods in the Baltic Sea is linked to climatic fluctuations during the Holocene which in turn offered different opportunities for human exploitation. According to archaeological research, seals were intensively exploited by humans in the past but the exploitation patterns varied greatly between regions and time periods. Thus, these workshops will explore the human use of seals in the Nordic countries through time by comparing archaeozoological data on seal exploitation patterns including seasonality, kill-off and butchering patterns from the Baltic Sea, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. This will provide us information on the utilization of seals, hunting methods as well as with data in order to reconstruct human dietary practices during time.

Funding: NOS-HS - The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences.



Year: 2014-2015

Georgette Leah Burns

This project will plan the development of Hvítanes in Skötufjörður as a safe and sustainable tourism destination based around the area’s unique proximity to a seal haul-out and pupping site. It is a collaboration between the municipality of Súðavíkurhreppur, Vegagerðin, Selasetur Íslands, Háskoli á Hólum and Náturastofa Vestfirðir.

Funding: Framkvæmdasjóður ferðamannastaða



Year:  2013-

Laufey Haraldsdóttir

This study aims to explore the use of local food in rural tourism in Iceland. The goal is to look at what lies behind the use of local food in rural tourism and if and how identity and representations plays a role in that context. The study is based on interviews with tourism entrepreneurs in rural areas in North, West and South of Iceland, as well as inspection on menu’s, web pages, and marketing material from the firms the entrepreneurs own and/or run. 

Publications and presentations:


Haraldsdóttir, L. (2014). Viðhorf og áherslur ferðaþjónustuaðila varðandi veitingar; hvað liggur að baki? (Tourism operators attitude and emphasis concerning food; what lies behind?) Erindi flutt á 8. ráðstefnu um íslenska þjóðfélagið; Norðan við hrun og sunnan við siðbót, á Hólum 15. Maí

Haraldsdóttir, L. (2014). Maturog staður. Samtal við ferðaþjónustuaðila (Food and place. Dialogue with tourism entrepreneurs). Erindi flutt á Þjóðarspegli- ráðstefna í félagsvísindum hjá Félagsvísindastofnun í Reykjavík 31. Október.

Haraldsdóttir, L. (2014). Food, place and rural tourism in Iceland. American Folklore Society, Annual Meeting Santa Fe, NM, 7. November 2014



Year: 2013-2015

Georgette Leah Burns

A cooperative project between Northwest, Northeast and Skagafjorður Tourism boards, the Icelandic Seal Center and Holar University College. The project aims to develop a guided trail across the north west of Iceland for bird watchers.

Funding: Vaxtarsamningur Norðurlands vestra (SSNV)



Year: 2012-2015

Guðrún Helgadóttir and Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir

The project aims to support and strengthen the native breed equine tourism sector in Western Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.  This refers to businesses providing a tourism experience using native horse breeds within local landscapes.  The experience across the three highlighted regions and native breeds varies considerably in terms of landscape, support, and levels of activity and development.  Through engaging practitioners in the exploration of innovative business models, best practice can be shared across locales and situations. This will strengthen collaboration in the sector across the North Atlantic region where there currently is none. The project highlights models of innovative business practice which will facilitate the further development of the sector which will provide sustainable jobs in a sector which capitalizes on the landscape and genetic assets of the region.

Funding: The Nordic Atlantic Cooperation (NORA) and North Atlantic Tourism Association (NATA).


September 2014. Suksessfaktorer ved bruk av nasjonal hesterase på Island. Hesteturisme i Nord-Norge. Presented at seminar at Bioforsk Tjøtta, Nordland, September 26th-27th.

June 2013. Emotions in motion: Experiencing hope and grief for the Faroese horse. North Atlantic Forum, Hólar University College, Hólar : June 15th 2013



Year: 2011 –

Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir

This study aims to explore how rural communities embrace the ever increasing role of tourism. Three  Icelandic  rural  communities  serve  as  the  context  and  the  material  for  this  research. Those  are  Strandir  (in  particular  the  Northern  part),  Húnaþing  vestra  (with  a  focus  on Vatnsnes peninsula) and Borgarfjörður eystri. Traditionally the economic backbone of those scarcely  populated  communities  has  been  sheep  farming  and  coastal  fisheries,  but  income from these has been rapidly declining in the last decades. Thus, those are all places that have dealt  with  heavy outmigration  and  a  negative  place  image  associated  with  loss  of  jobs  and depopulation.

Funding: The project has been supported by the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, Chair in Arctic Tourism. Destination Development in the Arctic and Arctic and the Tourism Association of Húnaþing vestra.

Book Chapters:

Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir og Gunnar Thór Jóhannesson. (2014). Weaving with Witchcraft: Tourism and Entrepreneurship in Strandir, Iceland. Í Granås, B. og Viken, A. (eds.). Destination Development in Tourism: Turns and Tactics. Farnham: Ashgate. 

Articles in conference proceedings:

Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir og Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson (2012). Sköpunarverkið Strandir – þrenns konar sjónarhorn. The Creation of Strandir– Three Different Angels In Ingjaldur Hannibalsson (Ed), Conference proceedings from the Annual Social Science Research Conference XIII: Viðskiptafræðideild (pp. 132-139).

Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson, Katrín Lund og Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir. (2011).

Sköpun áfangastaðar (The Making of a Destination). Conference proceedings from the Annual Social Science Research Conference XII: Viðskiptafræðideild (pp. 132-139).   


Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir. (2013). The Entangled Web: Tourism, place and identity  -

Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir. (2013). Viðhorf og sýn ferðaþjónustuaðila í Húnaþingi vestra Skýrslur Háskólans á Hólum 2013-1 - ISSN: ISSN 2298-3880


2014. Heksemuseet i Hólmavík, Island: Entreprenører og nettverk i etableringen av en turistattraksjon. (e. The Sorcery and Witchraft Museum in Hólmavík, Iceland: The role of entrepreuners and network in destination development. Presentation at the seminar Trolldomshistorien som reiselivsprodukt. Held by NordNorsk Reiseliv at Vardø, Norway March 25th.

2013. Vangaveltur um ímynd svæða. Fyrstu niðurstöður úr viðtölum við ferðaþjónustuaðila í Húnaþingi vestra (e. Regional image: Preliminary report on findings from a study among tourism entrepreneurs in Húnaþing vestra). Kynning á opnum fundi Ferðamálafélags V-Hún og Markaðsstofu Norðurlands. Hvammstanga, 7. mars. 

2013 Afhverju ferðaþjónusta? (e. Why tourism?). Presentation at Hólar Research Day, May 17.

2013. Who is going to do it? The question of tourism development in sparsely populated  areas. Presentation at the the North Atlantic Forum 2013 - Rural Tourism, Challenges in  Changing Times. Hólar, 15. júní. 

2013 Identity work and tourism occurance: cases from Iceland. Project presentation at the research seminar of the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) in Húsavík 9th to 11th of October 2013.

2013 Svæðisbundnir söguhringir - hver er varan? (e. Regional historical trails – what is the product?). Presenation at a conference by Historical Tourism Association, February 16th.

2012 Project presentation at the research seminar of the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) 2012 at Höfn on 20th and 21st September.

2012 with Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson. Sköpunarverkið Strandir – þrenns konar sjónarhorn. The Creation of Strandir– Three Different Angels In Ingjaldur Hannibalsson (Ed), Conference proceedings from the Annual Social Science Research Conference XIII: Viðskiptafræðideild (pp. 132-139).



Year: 2010-

Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir

The research deals with the issue of what identifies businesses and business development in equestrian tourism in Iceland and how this development contributes to the process of creating an economically sustainable horse industry in Iceland. Equestrian tourism is in this research seen as an example or a case of business development within the horse industry. The subject is being analysed by researching the process of starting up and running equestrian tourism businesses, investigating the combination of various horse related products offered by horse-based businesses and how it relates to tourism, as well as customer experience and cluster development in the field.

The main aim of the research is to enhance knowledge on the competitiveness of equestrian tourism in Iceland, including business development and the characteristics of tourism businesses within the Icelandic horse industry. The research also aims to strengthen equestrian tourism as an industry and to reinforce successful development and deepen general understanding of the essence and importance of horse related activity in Iceland.

Book chapters:

In press: Identifying the success criteria of Icelandic horse-based tourism businesses: interviews with operators. Cheval, tourisme et Mondialisation, Editions Spéciale Monde du tourisme, Paris. Parution

Articles in conference proceedings:

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2013).    Of horses, tourism and lifestyle entrepreneurship in Iceland; business development in equestrian tourism.  22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference. Conference Proceedings. 19 p.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2012).    Identifying the success criteria of the Icelandic horse based tourism. Equi-meeting Tourisme. Saumur: les Haras nationaux, Ecole Nationale d’equitation, University of Angers, UFR Ingenierie. P. 139-142.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Economic importance of the horse industry in northwest Iceland: A case in point. Second International Conference for PhD candidates, Bulgaria: South-West University “Neofit Rilsky”, Faculty of Economics. P. 113-117.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Hestamennska sem atvinnugrein á Norðurlandi vestra (e. The horse industry in North West of Iceland). In Kristinsdóttir, Á (ed.), Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins 2011. Reykjavík. P. 84-90.

Sigurðardóttir, I. 2011       Co-authored with Steinþórsson, R.S. Entrepreneurs or not: how do operators for small horse based industries in Iceland define themselves? Conference proceedings from The 21st Nordic Academy of Management 2011. 14 p.

Conference presentations:

Sigurðardóttir, I. & Steinþórsson, R.S. (2014). Hestatengdur klasi á Norðurlandi vestra (e. A horse based business cluster in North West Iceland). 8. Ráðstefnan um íslenska þjóðfélagið, Hólum.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2014). Gestir í hestaferðaþjónustu fyrr og nú. (e. The  horse-based tourism stomers in past and present). 8. Ráðstefnan um íslenska þjóðfélagið, Hólum.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2014).    Lífstíll verður ferðavara; tengsl hestamennsku og ferðaþjónustu (e. Lifestyle becomes a tourism product; the relations of equestrianism and tourism). Landsýn, Hvanneyri.

Sigurðardóttir, I. & Steinþórsson, R.S. (2014). Hestar og þróun klasa; hestatengdur klasi á Norðurlandi vestra (e. Of Horses and cluster development: A horse based business cluster in North West of Iceland). Landsýn, Hvanneyri.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2013).    Entrepreneurship in equestrian tourism; business development and customer satisfaction. Consumer Behavior in Tourism Symposium 2013, Brunico, Italy.

Sigurðardóttir, I. &  Steinþórsson, R.S. (2013). Cluster development in equestrian tourism; an example from North West of Iceland. Consumer Behavior in Tourism Symposium 2013,  Brunico, Italy.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2013).    Of horses, tourism and lifestyle entrepreneurship in Iceland; business development in equestrian tourism. 22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference, Bifröst/Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2013).    Economic challenges in horse based businesses. North Atlantic Forum, Skagafjörður.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2013).    Lífstíll eða lifibrauð; þróun fyrirtækja í hestamennsku á Íslandi, (e. A lifestyle or livelihood: development of horse based businesses in Iceland. Þjóðarspegillin, Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. & Helgadóttir, G.  (2013).  Gæði þjónustu og ánægja viðskiptavina í hestaferðaþjónustu (e. Service quality and customer satisfaction in horse-based tourism). Þjóðarspegillinn, Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2012).    Identifying the success criteria of the Icelandic horse based tourism. Equi-meeting Tourisme, Saumur, France.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2012).    Einkenni og uppbygging fyrirtækja í hestaferðaþjónustu, (e. Development of horse based tourism businesses). Þjóðarspegillinn, Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Hestamennska sem atvinnugrein á Norðurlandi vestra (e.The horse industry in North West of Iceland). Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins, Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Structure and economic extent of the Icelandic horse industry. The 20th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2010).    Búbót á krepputímum – útflutningur íslenska hestsins, (e. Export of the Icelandic horse). Icelandic Social Sciences, The University in Bifröst. 

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2010).    The Icelandic Horse Industry - Structure, Extent and Competitiveness - The 19th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research. Akureyri.


Sigurðardóttir, I.  &  Helgadóttir, G.(2013).  Gæði þjónustu og ánægja viðskiptavina í hestaferðaþjónustu (Service quality and customer satisfaction in horse-based tourism). Þjóðarspegillinn Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Hestamennska sem atvinnugrein (e. The extent of the Icelandic horse industry). Þjóðarspegillinn. Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2011).    Hestamennska á Norðurlandi vestra (e. Equestrianism in North West of Iceland). Meeting at Blönduós, Iceland.



Year: 2002-

Guðrún Helgadóttir

An ongoing of horse-based tourism. The objective of the first phase was to study the expectations and experiences of guests on short and long riding tours in Iceland. Questions were asked about factors such as horse quality, service, and accommodation during tours. The study also touched on the reasons why people choose such trips over other types of recreation. Questionnaires were presented to guests of horse rental companies and riding tour operators for three summers; a survey was also conducted among operators in the sector, both through in-depth interviews and through questionnaires. An attempt was made to obtain a clearer overall view of the scope and nature of the sector. The results of the project have introduced at conferences as well as published in peer-reviewed articles.

Funding: The Icelandic Horse Center and the Agricultural Productivity Fund, among others.

Peer reviewed publications:

Helgadóttir, G. og Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir (2006). Upplifun og þjónusta. Íslenskir gestir í hestaleigum. [Experience and service. Icelandic guests in horse rentals] Landabréfið 22(1), 37-47.

Book chapters:

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2005). Rekstur hestaleiga og hestaferðafyrirtækja (e. Operating a business in horse based tourism). In Tjörvi Bjarnason and Mattías Eggertsson (eds.), Handbók bænda. Reykjavík. Bændasamtök Íslands.  P. 245-249. (ISSN 0251-1940).

Articles in conference proceedings:

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2008)     Bóndi og frumkvöðull: samræmist þetta tvennt? (e. A farmer and an entrepreneur: Can it be ).  Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins 2008. In Ásdís Kristinsdóttir (ed.).    Reykjavík: Bændasamtök Íslands ofl. P. 378-386.

Sigurðardóttir, I.  (2007)    The Operating Environment of Equine Tourism in Iceland. Proceedings of the 14th Nordic Symposium in tourism and Hospitality Research. In Helgi Gestsson and Ingjaldur Hannibalsson (eds.). Akureyri: The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre. P 139 – 144.

Sigurðardóttir, I.  (2005). Hestatengd ferðaþjónusta á Íslandi: Atvinnugrein eða tómstundagaman?  (e.Horse based tourism: An industry or leisure activity?). Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins - ráðstefnurit I - Erindi. Reykjavík. Bændasamtök Íslands, Landbúnaðarháskóli Íslands, Landgræðsla ríkisins og Skógrækt ríkisins.  P. 258-262. 

Sigurðardóttir, I.  (2005).   Horse Tourism in Iceland: A New Branch of Industry Rooted in the Old Farming Society. Tourism as a contributor to well-being and social capital - Symposium Proceedings. Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä Politecnic.  p. 329-331.

Conference presentations:

August 2014. With I. Sigurðardóttir Why do you have so many horses? Horse culture in Iceland Invited presentation at European Association of Animal Producers Horse Commission session at EAAP 2014, Tivoli Congress Center, Copenhagen, August 25th.

September 2013 with Dr. Katherine Daspher, Leeds Metropolitan University. Dear international guests and friends of the Icelandic horse. The 22nd Nordic symposium in hospitality and tourism, Hotel Thon Svolvær, September 26th  2013

January 2013. From the horse’s mouth : Local views on horse tourism in rural areas. Active countryside tourism, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK, January 24th 2013

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2005).    The Operating Environment of Equine Tourism in Iceland. “The 14th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research” held in Akureyri.

Sigurðardóttir, I.  (2005).   Horse Tourism in Iceland:  A New Branch of Industry Rooted in the Old Farming Society.  The 3rd Tourism Industry and Education Symposium: Tourism as a Contributor to Well-being and Social Capital.  Jyväskylä, Finland

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2005).  Hestatengd ferðaþjónusta: atvinnugrein eða tómstundagaman? (e. Horse based tourism: An industry or leisure activity?).  Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins. Reykjavík.

Sigurðardóttir, I. (2004). Quality horse tourism in Iceland – 5th. conference of the Circumpolar Agricultural Assosiation (CAA). Umeå, Sweden.


Sigurðardóttir, I. & Helgadóttir, G. (2013). Gæði þjónustu og ánægja viðskiptavina í hestaferðaþjónustu (Service quality and customer satisfaction in horse-based tourism). Þjóðarspegillinn Reykjavík.

Helgadóttir, G. & Sigurðardóttir, I. (2005). An example of good practice for rural tourism development; Quality horse tourism in Iceland.  VIII Nordic-Scottish Conference on Rural and Regional Development. Akureyri, Iceland.


Sigurðardóttir, I. (2005) Hestatengd ferðaþjónusta á Íslandi. (e. Horse based tourism in Iceland). BSc thesis at the University of Akureyri (12 ECTS). 79p. Accessible at



Year: 2000-

Guðrún Helgadóttir

This is an ongoing project of reflection on key concepts and issues are formed and used in tourism discourse, education and the cultural sector.


2008 Sýn[ir]? Um sjónrýni. [Visions? About visual research] Netla- Veftímarit um uppeldi og menntun

2001 Urban – Rural interaction in the cultural sector. In Bright summer nights and long distances. Rural and Regional development in the Nordic-Scottish Context, pp. 192-203. Editor Ingi Rúnar Eðvaldsson, The University in Akureyri.


October 2013. Ferða* Þjóðarspegillinn Rannsóknir í félagsvísindum XIV. Reykjavík : Háskóli Íslands 25. Október 2013  [Tour*, Þjóðarspegill, social sciences XIV, Reykjavík: The University of Iceland]

October 2013. Að segja það sem segja þarf við þann sem þarf að heyra það – þannig að hann heyri það. Ferðamálaþing, Hótel Selfoss, October 2nd 2013 [To tell those that need to hear what they need to hear in such a way that they will hear it. Icelandic Tourist Board Annual Symposium]

October 2012 Frumþörf fisksins er vatnið ... hvaða tækifæri eru í norðurljósunum? Hlutverk gagnrýnna rannsókna í ferðaþjónustu. Örráðstefna Rannsóknarmiðstöðvar ferðamála í hátíðarsal Háskóla Íslands 27. október 2012 [The primary need of fish is water. Icelandic tourism research center mini conference, the University of Iceland]

April 2012 Menning og ferðaþjónusta. Erindi á Sagan og framtíðin - málþing um ferðamál í tilefni 20. ára afmælis Ferðafélags Skaftárhrepps, Kirkjubæjarklaustri 27. apríl 2012 [Culture and tourism. Presented at History and future – 20th anniversary symposium, Skaftárhreppur tourism association, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland]

June 2011 with Per Åke Nilsson, Dennis Holm and Sigurður Árnason: Back-movers and in-movers. A study of back migration flows into a small society over time. The seventh International congress of arctic social sciences ICASS VII, Akureyri, 22. júní 2011.

April 2011 Staðsetning háskóla – skiptir hún máli? Ráðstefna um íslenska þjóðfélagsfræði, Háskólasetur Vestfjarða Ísafirði, 8. apríl 2011 [The location of a university – does it matter? Conference on Icelandic social sciences, Westfjords University Centre]

Apríl 2009, Is it my turn to go to Mustiala? Tourism education and knowledge transfer in the Nordic region. Nordic Tourism: Destination - Innovation – Inspiration, Nordic Innovation Centre, Ísafjörður.

February 2009, Starfsmenntun á háskólastigi [Vocational education in universties] Fræðaþing landbúnaðarins, Hótel Sögu Reykjavík, 12.-13.2.2009.

2003  Instruction: Or throwing a good party, ARLIS/NordenINFO 2, 7-9.

2001  Stefnumótun í menningarmálum, Ráðstefna sveitarfélagins Árborgar, Eyrarbakka. [Policy making in culture, The municipality of Árborg]

2001  Fræðasetur á landsbyggð – fiskur í vatni eða þorskur á þurru landi ? Menningarlandið, ráðstefna Byggðastofnunar, Menntamálaráðuneytis, Sambands Íslenskra sveitarfélaga, Seyðisfirði. [Research institutions in rural areas – fish in the water or cod on dry land? The ministry of Education, The Regional Development Agency and the Federation of Municipalities, Seyðisfjörður 14.-15. May.]

2000  Menning sem atvinnugrein, ráðstefna Þróunarstofu Austurlands og Markaðsstofu Austurlands, Reyðarfirði. [Culture as an industry, conference organized by the Eastern Iceland Enterprise and Eastern Iceland Marketing Board].

1998  Framsetning leiðbeininga í mæltu máli. Ráðunautafundur 1998. Reykjavík. [Consultancy face to face, Annual conference of agriculture consultants].

1997  Blindgötur og krákustígar. Námsframboð á sviði sjónlista. Ráðstefna haldin af Handverk og hönnun, Norræna húsinu. [Blind alleys and winding roads. Educational opportunities in visual arts, conference organized by Crafts and Design, Nordic House, Reykjavík].

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