Aarhus Student Symposium

Aarhus Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects – 25th - 26th of April 2018

The Student Symposium has now been an on-going tradition for ten years. We are proud that even though it has grown a lot in size, quality, interdisciplinary and internationality since the first time, the Student Symposium is still arranged for students, by students, and with students as speakers.


The programme for the 2017 Student Symposium can be found here

Call for papers

Cfp for the 2018 Student Symposium can be found here.

The Student Symposium in previous years

Aarhus Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects, 17th-18th of March 2016. Programme.

Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects, March 19th-20th 2015. Programme.

Student Symposium on Religion, Ideology and Cultural Practices in the Old Norse World, March 21st 2014. Programme.

Student Symposium on Religion, Ideology and Cultural Practices in the Old Norse World, March 1st 2013. Programme

Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects, March 23rd 2012. Programme

Student Symposium on Old Norse Subjects, March 4th 2011. Programme

Student Symposium on Old Norse Subjects, March 5th 2010. Programme

Student Symposium on Old Norse Subjects, February 27th, 2009. Programme

Student Symposium on Old Norse Subjects, April 24th, 2008.

History of the Student Symposium

By Bergdís Þrastardóttir


The idea for the Student Symposium ignited when sitting with my fellow students from the Viking Studies program at a mythology conference at Aarhus University. Inspired by the constructive atmosphere at the conference and the unity and enthusiasm of my fellow students from the program a thought lit in my mind: “Wait a minute! We could do this as well” I thought, “we should do this as well, we should organize our own conference”.  So often had we discussed our ideas with each other and complained about the few opportunities available for students to publish or present their research. It was obvious that these opportunities were not going to come knocking on our door, so perhaps we should create them ourselves. The result was the first Student Symposium, held in April 2008, arranged by me and two of my friends from the program. After some group pressure, eight students agreed to give a paper, all of which were enrolled in the Viking Studies program on BA or MA level, as either local or exchange students like me. The goal was to get an opportunity to present our own ideas in a friendly but professional environment and among peers, while at the same time experience the journey such a presentation connotes: from idea, to research, to title, to seeing your name on a poster and a program, to trying to write a paper, to getting up there and presenting it, and getting through the dreaded part of answering questions and comments. Despite solid back up and guidance in how to give good presentations from Pernille Hermann and visiting professor and performance expert Terry Gunnell, none of us had tried this before. We had foreseen and prepared for this process, but we had not foreseen the rewarding feeling that comes with presenting your own work. The symposium had been a success for both speakers and participants, and we were determined in repeating it the following year, and encourage others to experience the rewarding journey we felt we had taken.

When time came to plan the second Student Symposium I had gotten a stipend as a Ph.D. student at the Scandinavian Department at Aarhus University. I was therefore no longer a “mere” exchange student, but suddenly had access to both facilities and funds that made room for expansion of the symposium. Therefore the second Student Symposium was expanded to thirteen speakers, eight local or exchange students from Aarhus University and five students from the Department for Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies from the University of Iceland. The symposium was now international, but the aim was still to enable students to present their research in what they could feel was a comfortable environment. The solution was obvious: all speakers met at the University bar the evening before the symposium to get to know each other. A tradition was created and this pre-symposium meeting has been an option for speakers and others interested since the second symposium. With increased internationality the symposium also became an excellent place for networking. To enable discussion with likeminded scholars the social aspect of the symposium was therefore expanded to including a reception, which thanks to the support of Centre for Viking- and Medieval Studies, the Scandinavian Department and The Doctoral School in Arts and Aesthetics has been an indispensable part of the symposium program since 2009.

The notion of expansion had caught on. In 2010 the symposium was no longer just international but was expanded to interdisciplinary as well, and its theme broadened from Old Norse to Medieval Iceland with the intention to enable all students with interest in the subject to participate. The Call for Papers was now international and the symposium grew in both internationality and interdisciplinarity, and has continued to grow since then with an increased range of abstracts, themes, speakers, and participants every year. What started out as a local experiment conducted by a couple of enthusiastic students has now grown to an annual event with international recognition within the field of Old Norse and medieval studies, and has already given over fifty students the opportunity to present their ideas at a professional symposium, and experience the reward such a process gives. Now that the Student Symposium has gotten new organizers I hope it will continue to develop and find new themes and attract new students that like us six years ago, long for an opportunity to present their own research instead of listening to others all the time.