Keynote Speakers

Sigrún Júlíusdottir

PhD, Sigrún Júlíusdóttir is a professor emeritus at the University of Iceland. Graduated from the School of Social Work, University of Lund, Sweden 1970 and  completed  a Phil. Cand  in Sociology, University of Stockholm. She holds a MSW from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA with training in couple- and family therapy, 1978. Holds a Phd in social work from  University of Gothenburg, Sweden 1993. She is a licenced psychotherapist and  trained in supervision and consultation.  She runs a small private practice Tengsl, working with psychotherpy with individuals and  families, supervision and councelling.

Professor Juliusdottir was a Chief Social Worker at the Icelandic University Psychiatric Hospital for  twenty years before her position  at the Social Work Department,  University of Iceland 1991. She conducts courses and programmes in family therapy and supervision at the Institute of Continuing Education. She is  Chair for the Research Center of Family Relations, University of Iceland.

The research area is on family matters, supervision and the professional and academic development of social work. She has written books and articles in Icelandic, Swedish and in English.

Address: Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Iceland, IS-101 Reykjavík. ICELAND.

Tel + 00354 525 4505. Mobile: 00354 891 7638 Fax. 552 6806.  Email :

Title of her presentation:  Solidarity  and Diversity in an Age of Individualism

Abstract:  The paper portrays some characteristics of threatening and protecting factors in the contemporary life of ordinary people, from a global viewpoint. It is argued that concepts of solidarity and support develop from knowledge and ethical values which become manifest in respect for diversity, inclusion and participation.

In a perspective of individual lifecourse development, and jeopardizing life events such as parents’ divorce, death or emigration, attention is paid to young peoples‘ patterns of risk behaviours, deficits and dependency on drugs and digital media. Here minorities and marginalized groups of immigrants, those unemployed and less educated are  particularly unshielded and vulnerable. In that connection the influences of the (boundless commercial and drug) market and increasing individualism are depicted.  Finally, the importance of policy issues such as primary prevention through family life education and support to young families and children, is highlighted with reference to recent family research and critical policy issues.

Key words: threathening vs. protecting factors, contemporary life, diversity, individualism, families, early intervention, policy.


Elisabet Karlsdottir is an Executive of the  ICE-CCFR, Centre for Children and Family Research (Rannsóknastofnun í barna- og fjölskylduvernd, RBF), Department  of Social Work, University of Iceland.

Karlsdottir graduated as a Social Worker from University of Iceland in 2002, finished a Master degree in Social Work in 2005 and a Diploma in Elderly Care 2008 also from University of Iceland. After graduation Karlsdottir worked as a Social Worker in the Family and School Services at Reykjavík Social Services in Vesturgardur and the Service Centre in Arbaer and Grafarholt until 2008. She was a research assistant in the Department of Social Work at Stockholm University  2008 – 2010 and has worked at the ICE-CCFR, University of Iceland, since 2010.

Karlsdottir has published a numbers of reports, papers (Ritröð) and book chapters since 2010 in her work for ICE-CCFR.

Karlsdottir has also been a Part-time Teacher in the Social Work Department since 2003. Main teaching areas are community work as well as care workers in elderly care.

Address: ICE-CCFR, Centre for Children and Family Research, Social Science Research Institute, University of Iceland, Gimli, Sæmundargata 10, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. Telephone: 00354 525 5200, Mobile: 00354 692-7782 Email:


Erla Björg Sigurðardóttir

Erla Björg Sigurðardóttir is a head of the division of Quality and Research at Reykjavik Welfare Department.

Sigurðardóttir graduated as BA in Social Science from University of Iceland in 1989 and as Cand Mag in Social Science from Universitity of Bergen in Norway in 1997, as Social Worker in 2002 and  finished a Master degree in Social Work in 2006 also from University of Iceland. In 2009 Sigurðardóttir started PhD studies in Social Work, areas of vocational rehabilitation for users of Social Sevices at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

From 1989 to 1995 worket Sigurðardóttir as counselor in treatment for addictive people in Iceland, from 1997-1999 as counselor in Child Care in Norway, from 2000-2002 as counselor in Reykjavík Social Housing and as Social Worker in Social Services in Reykjavik from 2002 until 2007. From januar-oktober 2007 as manager for vocational rehabilitation for addictive people and from oktober 2007-desember 2010 as manager for housing resources for addictive people. From desember 2010-mars 2014 as manger at Reykjavik Welfare Department and from apríl 2014 as head of the division of Quality and Research at Reykjavik Welfare Department.

Sigurðardóttir has also been a Part-time Teacher in the Social Work Department at University of Iceland since 2004. Main teaching areas are addiction, consequences and treatment.

Sigurðardóttir has written articles and reports in the field of addiction and diverse services in Social Services.

Adress: Reykjavik Welfare Department, division of Quality and Research, Borgartún 12-14, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. Telephone: 00354 411 900 Email:

Title of their presentation: Parents on the Margin- Children’s Heritage

The presentation is based on the paper Parents on the Margin – Children´s Heritage published in 2015. In the study we used the research data from a research which the ICE CCFR (Centre for Children and Family Research) and SSRI (The Social Science Research Institute) conducted for the Reykjavík Welfare office in the winter 2011-2012 and findings was published in a report 2012.

The project (Parents on the Margin – Children’s Heritage) is on the people who receive financial support from municipalities are, among others, the ones who have the lowest income in Iceland. This research was based on comparing the socio-economic status of parents in Reykjavík, depending on whether their income was based on social benefit from municipalities, unemployment benefits or salary from the general labor market. The main goal for this research was firstly to find out if children who have parents receiving social support or unemployment benefits are socially excluded from social activities, sports or other leisure activity.  Secondly to explore the effect of poor economic status of parents on the children’s, social capital, social network and social exclusion. The findings strongly indicate that children who have parents who receive social or unemployment benefits are excluded from social activities as well as having a poor social status because of their parent’s way of earnings.

In our presentation we will discuss the findings of our research, in a theoretical perspective. As well as discuss how we can avoid the social heritage of poor families to cross over from one generation to another. There is a need for long-term support to the parents (mothers) to prevent that poor status of the parent is passed on to future generations.


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