The Centre for disability studies


The Centre for disability studies is a research institute located within the Social Science Research Institute in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Iceland.


The aim of the Centre is to increase and strengthen research in the field of disability with an emphasis on interdisciplinary scholarship, including social, cultural and human rights approaches. By bringing together teaching, research, policy and practice the Centre plays an important role in innovation and knowledge in the field of disability. 

The Centre for Disability Studies was established on March 3, 2006. The Centre is an interdisciplinary site created for research in the area of disability studies in Iceland. It operates under the auspices of the Social Science Research Institute in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Iceland.

The Centre has a wide ranging national and international collaboration with scholars, universities and research centres in a number of countries, and works with advocacy groups, disabled people’s organizations, policy makers, agencies and professionals in the field of disability.


  • Rannveig Traustadóttir, Professor of Disability Studies. E-mail:

Assistant Director 

  • Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir, Professor of Disability Studies. E-mail:


  • Dr. Snæfríður Þóra Egilson. Professor in Disability Studies ,
  • Dr. Stefan C. Hardonk. Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Disability Studies,
  • Dr. James G. Rise. Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Anthropology,
  • Dr. Ciara Brennan. Research Associate,
  • Dr. Laufey E. Löve, Research Associate,
  • Þorvaldur Kristinsson. Editor, Literary Scholar,

Doctoral Students

  • Anna Sigrún Ingimarsdóttir. PhD Project: Transitioning, life quality and social participation of disabled children and youth
  • Hrafnhildur S. Gunnarsdóttir. PhD Project: Forms of violence disabled women face
  • Jóna G. Ingólfsdóttir. Adjunct and Doctoral Student. PhD Project: Disabled children, families and services in Iceland: Bridging the gap between theory and practice
  • Linda Björk Ólafsdóttir. PhD project: Life quality and participation of disabled children
  • Sara Stefánsdóttir. PhD Project:  Support services for parents with intellectual disability and their children
  • Sólrún Óladóttir. PhD project: User Centred Rehabilitation Services

  • Childhood and Disability inthe Nordic Countries. Being, Becoming, Belonging. Editors: Rannveig Traustadóttir, Borgunn Ytterhus, Snæfríður Thóra Egilson & Berit Berg.
  • Fötlun og menning: Íslandssagan í öðru ljósi. Ritstjórar: Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir, Ármann Jakobsson og Kristín Björnsdóttir
  • Önnur skynjun - ólík veröld. Höfundur: Jarþrúður Þórhallsdóttir
  • Parents with Intellectual Disabilities. Past, Present and Futures. Ritstjórar: Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Rannveig Traustadóttir, David McConnell og Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir.
  • Deinstitutionalization and People with Intellectual Disabilities. In and Out of Institutions. Ritstjórar: Kelley Johnson og Rannveig Traustadóttir
  • Women with Intellectual Disabilities. Finding a Place in the World. Ritstjórar: Kelley Johnson og Rannveig Traustadóttir
  • Fötlun. Hugmyndir og aðferðir á nýju fræðasviði. Ritstjóri: Rannvegi Traustadóttir
  • Exploring Experiences of Advocacy by People with Learning Disabilities. Ritstjórar: Duncan Mitchell, Rannveig Traustadottir, Rohhss Chapman, Louise Townson, Nigel Ingham and Sue Ledger
  • Resistance, Reflection and Change. Nordic Disability Research. Ritstjórar: Anders Gustavson
  • Gender and Disability. Research in the Nordic Countries. Ritstjórar: Kristjana Kristiansen og Rannveig Traustadóttir
  • Fötlunarfræði - Nýjar íslenskar rannsóknir. Ritstjóri: Rannveig Traustadóttir

Sweden summer school 2017The Centre for Disability Studies has wide ranging international collaboration with scholars, research institutions and universities in the Nordic countries as well as in a number of other European countries, Canada, the United States and Australia. Collaboration with advocacy groups, disabled people’s organizations, policy makers, service providers, local and national governments is also an important aspect of the Centre’s work.

International research collaborators include Stockholm University (Sweden), NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), Centre for Disability Studies at Leeds University (UK), University of Sheffield (UK), Centre for Disability Law and Policy (National University of Ireland, Galway), Norah Fry Research Centre (University of Bristol, UK), University of Swansea (Wales, UK), University of Toronto (Canada), Western University (Canada), University of Alberta (Canada), Centre on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies (Syracuse University, USA), Montclair State University (USA), Deakin University (Geelong, Australia), and Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Sydney University (Australia).

Important aspect of the Centre’s activities is collaboration with advocacy groups, disabled people’s organizations, policy makers, service providers, local and national governments. 

International collaboration with disabled people‘s organisations include Independent Living Institute in Stockholm and The Swedish Disability Rights Federation (Funtionsrätt Sverige) and European Network on Independent Living

European wide Collaboration 

The Centre has also collaborated, through various projects, with EDF, the European Disability Forum and EASPD, European Association of Service Providers for Persons with disabilities

Nordic level collaboration on policy making

Over many years the Centre has collaborated with the Nordic Welfare Centre This work has, in particular, focused on disability issues The Nordic Welfare Centre is an institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers and disseminates knowledge on welfare issues to all the Nordic countries in order to strengthen tools for policy-making and well-being all citizens.


Important aspect of the Centre’s activities is collaboration with national advocacy and activist groups, disabled people’s organizations, policy makers, service providers, local and national governments. 

Disabled People’s organisations

The collaboration with disabled people‘s organisations and activist groups in Iceland are at the core of the Centre’s activities. Since its foundation the Centre has worked closely in advocating disability human rights with a wide range of disabled people‘s organisations in Iceland including The Organisation of Disabled People in Iceland, The National Association of Intellectual Disabilities, TABÚ, Feminist Disability Activist Group, Átak, Félag fólks með þroskahömlun (The Icelandic Self-Advocacy Group) and NPA Miðstöðin (The Centre for Independent Living) Members of the Centre also work with informal groups of disabled people such as a long-term collaborative work with a group of parents with intellectual disabilities.


The Centre has worked both independently and in collaboration with DPOs on advising Ministries and Alþingi (the Icelandic Parliament) on disability law and policy.

NNDR, Nordic Network on Disability Research

The Centre for Disability Studies is informed and strengthened by its collaboration with NNDR, The Nordic Network on Disability Research, an interdisciplinary newtork of scholars in the field of disability.

NNDR is a multidisciplinary network of disability researchers interested in cultural, societal and environmental dimensions of disability and marginalization. The purpose of NNDR is to advance research and development in the field of disability. NNDR provides a forum for researchers, particularly from the Nordic countries, to meet, present and discuss their research, as well as encouraging Nordic and international exchange and collaboration.

NNDR was established in Fredrikshavn, Denmark in 1997 and has grown into a large network of disability researchers, reflecting the growing interest in and importance of disability research in the Nordic countries.

The main meeting place for the network is the biannual NNDR conferences.

For more information please see NNDR web pages at

ANED: Academic Network of European Disability experts

  • James Rice and Rannveig Traustadóttir are the Icelandic Country Experts


DARE Project (Disability Advocacy and Research for Europe)

  • Principal Investigator at the University of Iceland is Rannveig Traustadóttir


Disability before disability (DbD) (2017-2020)

  • The Principal Investigator and Co-Ordinator project is Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir


LIFE-DCY Life quality and participation of disabled children and youth


  • Snæfrídur Thóra Egilson, professor in disability studies, principal investigator
  • Stefan Hardonk, assistant professor in disability studies
  • Linda Björk Ólafsdóttir, doctoral student in disability studies
  • Anna Sigrún Ingimarsdóttir, doctoral student in disability studies
  • Ásta Jóhannsdóttir postdoc in disability studies
  • Freyja Haraldsdóttir, doctoral student in education.
  • Barbara Gibson professor at the University of Toronto is an external collaborator


Rethinking work inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities

  • The research project is funded by the Research Council of Norway for the period 2018-2020 and lead by Hege Gjertsen at UiT, Norway. Researchers from Norway and Iceland collaborate on the study.
  • The Icelandic part of the project is lead by Stefan C. Hardonk and Árdís Kristín Ingvarsdóttir 


The lives and conditions of migrant families with disabled children


  • Snæfríður Þóra Egilson, Professor in Disability Studies
  • Guðbjörg Ottósdóttir, Assistant Professor in Social Work
  • Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, Professor in Anthropology