Many Faces of Pain

The conference Many Faces of Pain will be held at the University of Iceland from September 1 - 3, 2017. Scholars and writers will discuss pain and suffering from various standpoints and academic fields, such as literature, health sciences and artificial intelligence.    

Five keynote speakers come from abroad: Ronald Schleifer (literature, medicine); Madelaine Hron (literature, migration, immigration) Anne Mulhall (gender studies, queer stidies), Christopher Eccleston (psychology, pain research) and Nadia Berthouze (artificial intelligence). There are also 15 Icelandic speakers, among them are three writers: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Naila Zahin Ana and Hallgrímur Helgason.

The conference is in English. It is located at the University of Iceland and is open to all and free of charge.

It is hosted by the Center for Cognitive Studies at the University of Iceland, the Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents at the Reykjavik University and the Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland. Its aim it to bring together scholars and writers from different fields, share knowledge and increase understanding of a phenomenon that most of us know from our own experience.  


Friday,   September 1st
Place: Árnagarður, room 301

10.00 – 10.05
Sigríður Zoëga (University of Iceland): Welcome!

10.10 – 11.00 
Key speaker: Ronald Schleifer (University of Oklahoma):  "The Music of Pain: Semiotics, Facticity, and the Possibility of Representing Sensate Experience."

11.00 – 11.15 
Coffee break

11.15 – 12.15
First session
a.    Sigríður Zoëga (University of Iceland): "Pain, is it a problem?"
b.    Arnór Víkingsson (The National University Hospital of Iceland): "Pain for self-regulation and social harmony.“
c.    Marianne Klinke (University of Iceland): "Pain in the brain: Insights from body schema alterations observed in hemispatial neglect and in phantom limb experiences.“

12.15 – 13.00

13.00 – 13.50
Key speaker: Nadia Berthouze (University College, London): "Rethinking technology for chronic pain physical rehabilitation."

14.00 –15.00
Second session 
a.    Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson (Reykjavík University): "Crossing from Physical to Virtual Reality."
b.    Sif Ríkharðsdóttir (University of Iceland): "Pain, Emotion and Embodiment in Old Norse Literature“
c.    Rannveig S. Sigurvinsdóttir (Reykjavík University): "Improving Mental Health and Well-being Using Virtual Reality."

Saturday,  September 2nd
Place: Háskólatorg, room 105

10.00 – 10.50
Key speaker: Christopher Eccleston  (University of Bath): "Exploring embodied perception: the psychology of physical sensation."

10.50 – 11.10
Coffee break

11.10 – 12.10
First session
a.    Dagný Kristjánsdóttir (University of Iceland): ""The blood drops are my tears": On cutting and selfharming in YA-literature.“
b.    Gyða Björnsdóttir (deCODE genetics): "Human Pain and Genetics"
c.    Guðni Elísson (University of Iceland): "Why we hate climate change. Evil and the good we seek"

12. 10 – 13.00

13.00 – 13.50
Key speaker: Madelaine Hron (Wilfrid Laurier University): "'Unthinkables'?: Translating Refugee Pain in Image and Narrative."

13. 50 – 14.10
Coffee break

14.10 – 15. 10
Second session: Authors on pain
a.    Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, "Hotel Silence.“ 
b.    Naila Zahin Ana, ''How to feel safe on a snowy rock in the middle of the Atlantic.'' 
c.    Hallgrímur Helgason, "The Painkilling Process.'' 

Sunday, September 3rd
Place: Háskólatorg, room 105

10.00 – 10.50
Key Speaker: Anne Mulhall (University College of Dublin): "Queer trauma, queer narratives and the politics of testimony in contemporary Irish culture."

10.50 – 11.10
Coffee  break

11.10 – 12. 10
First and final session!
a.    Valgerður Sigurðardóttir (The National University Hospital of Iceland): "Pain and suffering at the end of life."
b.    Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir (University of Iceland): "Archival pains: retrieving and reworking the family archive."
c.    Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir (University of Iceland): ""Silence is death": On two poems by Alda Björk Valdimarsdóttir."


Centre for Research in the Humanities, University of Iceland
Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents, Reykjavik University
Institute of Research in Literature and Visual Arts, University of Iceland
The City of Reykjavík
The Icelandic Pain Association
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture


Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir, Center for Cognitive Studies, University of Iceland
Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson, Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents, Reykjavik University
Sigríður Zoëga, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland