Open to all disciplines, this three-week interdisciplinary course immerses students in the extraordinary landscape, culture, history, and art of Iceland. Focusing on both rural and urban Icelandic culture, it uses the history and storytelling of the Icelanders as a catalyst for students to deepen their own artistic practice and to consider the role art plays in shaping human experience and its impact on the natural world.

Iceland: Life, Death, Wonder, & Ecstasy

Instructor: Brook Hinton
May 16-June 6, 2018

Check-in: Wednesday, May 16
Check out: Wednesday, June 6

Information Session:
Thursday, March 15, 11:15-11:45 p.m., SF campus, GC2

Interested students should contact Brook Hinton ( to start the approval process for registration.


Tiny Iceland, with its population of less than 350,000 people, volatile natural landscape, and historical isolation from much of the world, has had a wildly disproportionate influence on the world's creative imagination. This is a country in which almost everyone is proud to claim the term "artist," where interdisciplinary is the rule rather than the exception, and where the most critical questions of modern life and the future of the planet stand in sharp focus every day. The depth and breadth of creative life in this country is difficult to imagine unless one sees it first hand - and teaches lessons about the nature and potential of deep artistic practice in relation to the natural world, the urban landscape, and the simple fact of being alive on planet earth.

In Reykjavik, students receive an intensive introduction to the art and culture of Iceland, exploring not only the city's extraordinary museums and venues but also exciting contemporary work featured in the annual Reykjavik Arts Festival. Students are housed in centrally located apartments, perfectly situated for visits to artists' and designers' studios, music and film venues, galleries, the National Museum of Iceland, The National Gallery, Nordic House, Culture House, ASÍ Art Museum, Kjarvalsstadir, Hafnarhus, HARPA, and more.

Participants then spend two weeks in rural Iceland on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, near Snæfellsjökull, famous as the setting of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. The area surrounding Snæfellsjökull is one of four National Parks in Iceland and rich in history from the time of the earliest Viking settlements c.861. Snæfellsnes Community was the first Green Globe Certified community in Europe, one of only four in the world.

Accommodations are in modern guesthouses on a working horse farm, within walking distance of beaches, mountains, lava fields, and natural hot springs. In this beautiful remote location, the class engages in a period of focused work, apart from the everyday world, with all meals provided.

The farm is an ideal base for field trips to the Peninsula's rich array of natural and man-made wonders, from Roni Horn's Library of Water to sites of Icelandic sagas and folktales, to the glacier itself.

Texts, videos, and music are assigned in preparation for the class. Students are also expected to read and share additional material of their own choosing during the class, keep a daily studio diary or sketchbook in their media of choice (whether analog or digital), and to participate in daily studio work sessions while in Snæfellsnes.


This trip was not only an aid for thinking about my artwork, but also an aid in thinking about life. It opened my eyes to so many new and humbling things that I would go so far as to say that everyone needs to experience Iceland.


This class was the best thing I could have done for myself and my art practice . . . [It] significantly and positively changed my artistic practice and methods and made me reconsider the place my art has in the world.


About the Instructor

Brook Hinton is a filmmaker, media artist and composer with a deep involvement in the relationship of place to the artistic process. Much of his work draws from his own field recordings and images gathered in Iceland, Wales, Indonesia, and across the United States. Inspired by the unique relationship between Icelanders, the volatile land on which they live, and their artistic process – resulting in an extraordinarily broad and deep collection of work from such a small nation – he has become deeply engaged in study of the country's political and social development as well as its cinema, music, literature, art and design.

He is currently developing ISH, a live cinema project that draws heavily on Iceland’s cultural history and contemporary political and creative life.

Learn more about Brook Hinton »


Undergraduate students: Completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2018 and instructor approval
For 300-level Film Workshop credit: Film 2: Production (FILMS-200) and Film 2: Post-Production (FILMS-208) and instructor approval
For Upper-Division Interdisciplinary Studio credit: Drawing 1, 2D, 3D, 4D, Writing 1, Foundations in Critical Studies, Intro to the Arts and Intro to the Modern Arts. Junior Standing and instructor approval.
Graduate students: Instructor approval

In addition all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2017–18 academic year. Students who are on probation in fall 2017 are not eligible to enroll in a 2018 summer study-abroad program.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduate students, this course satisfies a Studio Elective or, for students who have achieved junior or senior standing by the end of Spring 2017, an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio.
For film undergraduates, this course may be used to satisfy a 200 or 300 level workshop requirement.
For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective or Studio Practice.

Program Fee

$5,400 + $50 summer registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 credits, housing, shared studio space, 14 days of three meals a day while staying at Lysuholl Farm, guest lectures, museum entrance fees, field trips, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Iceland, ground transportation to and from airport in Iceland, meals for seven days while in Reykjavik

Related Topics
(Please read in entirety)

All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including Brooklyn) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.

Questions? Please see Frequently Asked Questions.

Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs