Inspire and Ice

In January 2017, a team of six students from Elon University’s Interactive Media (iMedia) MA program completed a project for a course titled “Interactive Project for the Public Good.”  The project was for an Icelandic nonprofit organization, Frumbjörg, including a week of work on-site in Reykjavík, Iceland.  The students helped plan a 24-hour Innovation Day at Frumbjörg.  The day served as a launch for the concept of “The List,” an online platform for social innovation created by Frumbjörg’s founder, Brandur Karlsson.

After a week of gathering content and footage, the students returned to the United States to develop a website, several videos, a social media and publicity strategy, and a new way to tell Frumbjörg’s story.  Their journey was both educational and inspirational; their final products reflect the technical work that they executed as well as the mental growth they experienced.

Iceland is often called “The Land of Fire and Ice” due to its landmarks on either end of the spectrum: glaciers and volcanoes.  The students were inspired by this opposing dynamic, recognizing that some of their own strengths also appear on different ends of the spectrum, but together, create a full-range of possibilities.  This image influenced the team’s name: “Inspire and Ice.”  Projects that make an impact require the right combination of personalities and skills; through passion and collaboration, students can make an impact on the world around them.

About Our Client

“Frumbjörg” is a foundation for social innovation, fulfilling a need that has not been met in Iceland.  The innovation center focuses on creating a place to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.  The founder, Brandur Karlsson, sees limitless potential in these unique problem solvers, and he hopes to tap into this potential.  By creating employment opportunities and working toward technological advancements in the health field, Frumbjörg offers a place for individuals to come together and feel as though they belong.  More importantly, Frumbjörg has built the foundation for a future that everyone can work toward creating.  

Brandur competed in Judo until the age of twenty-three; however, when he continued experiencing cramping and lost feeling in his limbs, he knew he was not just falling out of form.  Something was wrong.  After being misdiagnosed with a brain tumor and then with multiple sclerosis, Brandur accepted his fate: he would not make it to the age of thirty.  Brandur described his reaction to the diagnosis as liberation; there was a certain element of freedom in accepting death.  He consulted a third opinion and was informed that he would live, but would remain paralyzed.  He began mouth painting, eventually raising enough money to rent an office, a space that eventually became Frumbjörg.  Brandur’s diagnosis provided him with a blank canvas, and with that blank canvas, he began to work toward transforming the lives of people with disabilities in Iceland. Because of their unique methods for problem solving, people with disabilities can be some of the most resourceful and most valuable members of society.  Frumbjörg is harnessing this power, creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities and showing the world that individual outlooks can impact innovation.


A compilation of memories expressing some of the friendliest faces and the most beautiful places in Iceland.