From Iceland — Conference Spotlights Women of Foreign Origin Working In The Arts

Conference Spotlights Women of Foreign Origin Working In The Arts

Published March 30, 2023

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Women of foreign origin working in the arts are the focus of a conference happening at Borgarleikhúsið on April 1. The one-day event is the latest endeavour of Hennar Rödd (Her Voice), a non-profit organisation raising awareness about the experiences of women of foreign origin in Iceland.

“We’ve held previous discussions and conferences that have been more generally on the status of women of foreign origin,”  Hennar Rödd co-founder Elínborg Kolbeinsdóttir told the Grapevine. “We’ve had platform discussions on women in the labour market and health.”

“This year, the main topic is accessibility within the art community in Iceland and visibility and representation,” Elínborg continues. “Then we touch on different subjects within the broader topic of art. For example, we have speakers who are talking about their own profession and experiences.”

Among those scheduled to speak at the conference are longtime Grapevine contributor Shruthi Basappa, who in addition to being a talented food writer is a professional architect  and founding partner of Sei Studio. She will speak about accessing design grants as a woman of foreign origin. Attendees will also hear from Anna Sonde and Johanna Haile speaking about representation in Icelandic media, April Dobbins speaking about equity in the film sector, and several other women of varied creative backgrounds engaging in a panel discussion on representation in the arts.

There will also be workshops on make-up for diverse skin tones and creative writing for self-awareness and growth, as well as a performance by R.E.C Arts.

The ultimate goal of the conference is to spotlight the experiences of foreign women, identify common hurdles they face, and to make those responsible for Iceland arts and cultural institutions aware of these women’s experiences and affect positive change.

Hennar Rödd was founded by Elínborg and Chanel Björk Sturludóttir in 2018 to platform women of foreign origin in Iceland. The organisation regularly hosts events and they are currently working on a book to be published later this year highlighting women’s stories.

The Conference on Women of Foreign Origin in the Arts takes place at Borgarleikhúsið on April 1, starting at 10:30 and ending with a mixer that begins at 16:00. Tickets for the main event and workshops are available at

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