Session 1.5 - Archives across northern borders: Reconfiguring archives in the wake of shifting national, political and cultural contexts in the North Atlantic and Scandinavia


Sámal Tróndur Finnsson Johansen, Ole Gausdal, Grete Gunn Bergstrøm, Inge Høst Seiding, Hrefna Róbertsdóttir, Njörður Sigurðsson

Date Added:

23 October 2019

Chair: Njörður Sigurðsson, Director of Acquisitions and Access, National Archives of IcelandNjörður Sigurðsson, Director of Acquisitions and Access, National Archives of Iceland

Wednesday, 23 October 2019


The panel aims at presenting different cases of how archives have been displaced, divided, relocated, or maybe even lost, in the wake of major disruptions of the context in which they were created. Or, as phrased by the ICA Expert Working Group on Shared Archival Heritage “…issues related to archives pertaining to the history and cultural heritage of more than one community, country or region where the custody, ownership and access is unclear or in dispute. This may arise from war, military occupation, the succession of states or other adverse events.”
With a vantage point in cases from and about small states, self-governing territories and minority populations in the Nordic countries, the panel discusses how such varying reconfigurations of archives have taken place and what lessons we can take from them. A part of the discussion will be about the significance of archival ownership, access and archival design in relation to the themes self-determination, reconciliation, safeguarding of cultural heritage and sustainable cultural development within and between widely varying ‘archival communities’.


Sámal Tróndur Finnsson Johansen

Sámal Tróndur Finnsson Johansen is director of the Faroese National Archives (National Archivist) and manager of ‘The Faroese Genealogy Register’. He has an MSSc in history and geography from Roskilde University. Research includes the Cold War and Urban Planning. He has modernized the National Archives. This includes implementing digital preservation, a central digital inventory, digitizing old records for internet publication, an organized system of transfer of public records and a systematic supervision of governmental authorities. He has worked on retrieving from Denmark's older records of Faroese provenance, and digitizing records of Faroese pertinence in order to strengthen historical narratives.

Ole Gausdal

Ole Gausdal is Director in charge of international relations at the National Archives of Norway since 2017. Deputy Director in charge of Digitization 2005-2008, Director for Digitization and the Collection 2008-2017. His has previously worked as Deputy Director and Head of Archives in several ministries and public agencies. He holds a master in History.

Grete Gunn Bergstrøm

Grete Gunn Bergstrøm works as an archivist for the Sami archives in the National Archives of Norway. Her academic background is from philosophy, cultural understanding and social science. She has researched traditional knowledge in a modern Sami society context and is interested in the search and use and of archives as a source of social, cultural and political revitalization, formation and knowledge development for indigenous peoples.

Inge Høst Seiding

Inge Høst Seiding. PhD social and cultural history, Head of the Archives at the Greenland National Museums and Archives since 2016. Has worked as an archivist and university lecturer in Nuuk, Greenland since 2008.

Hrefna Róbertsdóttir

Hrefna Róbertsdóttir is the National Archivist of Iceland. She has worked at the National Archive since 2007, first as project manager and later head of division until she became the National Archivist in 2019. She is a PhD in history from the University of Lund in Sweden. Hrefna has been the president of the Historical Society in Iceland since 2015. Her research focus has been on the early modern period and the history of the North Atlantic region. She has an ongoing project on publishing sources from the 18th century.

Njörður Sigurðsson

Njordur Sigurdsson (b. 1974). M.A. in history from University of Iceland. Archivist at Reykjavík Municipal Archives 2000-2006 and archivist at National Archives of Iceland 2006-2012. Director of Acquisition & Access at National Archives of Iceland from 2012. Seasonal teacher in archival studies at University of Iceland since 2012. Chair of ICA´s Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage since 2016 and member of IFLA’s Working Group on Digital Unification since 2016.