Country women to study Icelandic history, culture

Published 10 January 2011

icelandMore than 200 members of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW will travel to the University of New England from all over the State at the beginning of February to immerse themselves in the history and culture of Iceland.

Iceland is the subject of this year’s CWA Weekend Country of Study School – an event held every year at UNE and organised by the UNE Conference Company. (Last year’s “country of study” was Scotland.)

The Study School will begin on Friday 4 February and continue till lunchtime on Sunday 6 February. The program includes 10 informative presentations on Icelandic subjects (from the Sagas to the financial crisis), a formal dinner, an Icelandic cultural evening, and an ecumenical church service.

The delegates will be staying at UNE’s Earle Page College. On the Friday, a flag-raising ceremony on the lawns of the College at 6.30 pm will be followed by a formal dinner in the Earle Page Dining Hall, during which the Vice-Chancellor of UNE, Professor Jim Barber, will welcome the CWA delegates and the presenters to the University. Also during the dinner, the Armidale Dumaresq Mayor, Councillor Peter Ducat, will welcome the visitors to Armidale, and the Honorary Consul-General for Iceland, Mrs Sigrun K. Baldvinsdottir, will present a “Welcome to Iceland”.

The next day, Mrs Baldvinsdottir will open the study program with an “Introduction to Iceland”. The titles of the talks will include “The Sagas of Iceland” (presented by Dr Kári Gíslason from Queensland University of Technology), “Myths and modern times” (Dr Einar Thorsteinsson, UNE), “The challenges of growing up in rural Iceland” (Mrs Sibba Gudlaugsdottir, Icelandic Australian Association of NSW), and “Energy and nature in Iceland” (Mr Björg Thorsteinsson, Icelandic Club of Queensland).

The cultural evening on Saturday 5 February, organised by Linda Sigmundsdottir from the Icelandic Australian Association of NSW, will include performances of Icelandic folk songs arranged for flutes and played by professional musicians from Sydney. Ms Sigmundsdottir, who is herself a flute and oboe player, will contribute both to the music and to the explanation of its context and meaning. The local accordion player Anneke van Mosseveld will also perform with the group.

The annual CWA Study School is an expression of the long-standing relationship between the University of New England and the Country Women’s Association of NSW.