Monday, 4 August 2014

2014 Year of the Viking (Cont.): "Unlocking the Vikings" & Language, Myths & Finds Conference (Part 3/5)

"Unlocking the Vikings"

What we think of them and why in modern context & mediums
1) Author Victoria Whitworth: "First Catch your Viking: Norse narratives for a twenty-first century audience.

Modern viking character is Clever/Strong/Brutal/Violent vs Modern Male Masculinity
- in modern historical fiction there are often a gang of Viking characters that display each of the above qualities.

2) Ruarigh Dale : Frothing Madmen: Depictions of Beserkrs in modern fiction

Beserkers did NOT fight naked - they just removed armour - if they had any.
Not much evidence for animal skins/drugs/hallucigents/shield biting.
Saga evidence involves not a lot of 'frenzy' and the episodes that are recorded are often well before any serious battle/fight/conflict.
Seems to stem from controlled or uncontrolled anger. 

3) Mark Kirwan: Who cares about the Vikings?

Reasons why the Irish liked or disliked or even respected the Vikings - they were warriors/traders/craftsmen/minters(coins)/adventurers/sailors. The Irish also may be touchy about Viking heritage due to the mercinary role in the many battles between the low and high kings of Ireland, changing sides etc.

4) Leszek Gardeta: Vikings reborn: Facets of early medieval reenactment in contemporary Poland 

Modern misconceptions of Viking heritage in slavic heritage. Polish re-enactors work closely and collaborate with scholors and archeologists. Wolin Viking Festival held since 1993 and still going strong. 

5) James Crawford: The evolution of the Outer Hebridean blackhouse 

Isle of Lewis - evolved from long-houses with attached barns into large figure of eight shapes with compartments not rooms. Otherwise known as jellybaby shape :P

6) Thor Ewing: Riddle Gestumblindi: Viking myths and music 

A fantastic example of storytelling enchantment with a classic norse involving riddles, dopplegangers, Kings and Odin accompanied with some excellent harp/bone flute and piphorn playing. I purchased his book of his own adaptation of the norse myths and legends so expect to see a review up soon. 

7) Edmund Southworth: Norse, Celt or English? The view from the Isle of Man 

The Isle of Man IS NOT PART OF THE UK!  Had no influence by Romans or Norman - Phenomenal monumentalism with 200+ stone carvings/sculptures/keels aka crosses - equal to Norway.

8) Tom Birkett: Sea Stallion from Glendalough

Part of the sailing team in 2007 - relatively unexperienced at rowing compared to other recruits. Sailed on it from Roskilde to Dublin. Sea Stallion is a warship not a cargo/trade ship, i.e. a Knarr. During the trip 18,000 gallons of water had to be pumped out of the ship from start to the end of the voyage.

9) Christina Lee: Wicking the Viking - Vikings in German Popular Culture

19th Century saw rise of norse interest - a common belief that norse myth is Germanic whereas the actual people, the Vikings, were percieved as coming from elsewhere in Scandinavia, not Germany. 
Language, Myths and Finds Project

LMF is an AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Programme, running from 2013-14. The programme brings together graduate students and full-time researchers from across the UK and Ireland to explore the translation of Norse and Viking cultures into the modern day. Programme participants are working with local partners in five communities with Norse heritage: the Isle of Lewis, Cleveland, the Isle of Man, Dublin and Munster (Cork and Waterford). The programme also draws on the work of the British Museum and participants will draw on the Museum’s ‘Vikings: Life and Legend‘ exhibition as part of their engagement with local communities.

You can download the detailed and colourful booklets as the result of each of the groups work as PDF's using the links below.

Viking Myths and Rituals on the Isle of Man, ed. Leszek Gardeła and Carolyne Larrington
The Vikings in Lewis, ed. Brittany Schorn and Judy Quinn
The Vikings in Munster,ed. Tom Birkett and Christina Lee
The Vikings in Cleveland, ed. Heather O’Donoghue and Pragya Vohra
Viking Age Dublin: Walking Tour and Activity Book, by Rosalind Bonté, Eleanor Jackson, Maria Teresa Ramandi, Elizabeth Ashman Rowe, Rebecca Boyd and Erin Goeres.


First off a HUGE NORSEMAN sized Thank You to the very friendly and supportive Judith Jesch, (the same lovely lady I met briefly earlier in the year at BBC History Magazine's Viking Day in Bristol) for informing me of this fantastic two day conference on all the latest Nordic research. She responded to me plea for more vikingy events to attend and so my addition/obsession was satisfied for a few more months in anticipation. It was an amazing conference, learnt soooo much more, met so many awesome and inspiring people and I finally don't feel like the Tigger of the viking fan world - I know there are others like me.

Secondly another a big thank you to the following people who kindly took me, a humble wanna-be-author-valkyrie-jo-blogs-member-of-the-public, under their wing during the weekend and really made me feel welcome and appreciated AND even let me rant on about Vikings for a bit.
 James Aitcheson, author of Sword Sword/Splintered Kingdom/Knight of the Hawk who I fondly think of as a friend following this weekend in his always delightful company.
Ruarigh Dale, for sharing his knowledge and experience of buying cheap 'vikingy' films and more often than not sharing in my disappointment and horror at what some people do to these heroes of ours.
Christina Lee, for although we failed to recognise the other at the conference she always responded to my sometimes many and lengthly twitter convos on vikingy topics. Plus we both share a love for How To Train Your Dragon.
 Victoria Whitworth, author of Bone Thief/Traitors' Pit, for not only hosting the very interesting and engaging and indeed thought provoking character & object writing workshop at the conference but for also taking the time to talk to me, I do appreciate it.

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