A range of medieval literature research projects A range of medieval literature research projects

All our Stories: Research into Heritage

Dr Rebecca Pinner and Dr Karen Smyth, faculty in LDC, are AHRC Research Fellows on the Ideas Bank: All Our Stories project. This is part of the AHRC – HLF Connecting Communities scheme. Collaborative partners with UEA are the Norfolk Rural Community Council, Poppyland Publishing, The National Trust, Norwich Heritage, Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) and the Centre of East Anglian Studies. The PI is Dr Sarah Spooner (History), and the project supports 15 heritage groups from across East Anglia to tell their story, in lots of different mediums. Rebecca and Karen are hosting skills workshops, acting as advisors for groups, and contributing to a community blog.

Julian of Norwich

Julian Week

This is an annual awareness week celebrating the legacy of Julian of Norwich through a wide range of local events. Phd student Louise Øhrstrøm is the founder of this project. It encourages citizens and visitors to learn about Julian and her artistic, historical and theological significance. The project brings LDC students, staff, and multiple local organisations together, such as HEART, the Writers' Centre, The Millennium Library, Fusion and The Friends of Julian of Norwich.

Another Julian project

To promote awareness of Norwich's first lady of literature and one of the most important medieval mystics, staff and students from LDC are working with HEART and the Julian of Norwich Centre. With a Harry Watson Bursary award, Dr Karen Smyth has created a three-part project:

  1. a publicly available annotated online bibliography of the Julian of Norwich Centre's specialist library, produced by Dr Rebecca Pinner. The library aims to hold every published work on Julian, in any language, and unpublished PhD theses from around the world.
  2. a ‘Norwich Stories' booklet in HEART's series, authored by Louise Øhrstrøm and edited by Karen Smyth. This booklet is for tourists and those interested in local history.
  3. a reading and writing workshop at The Forum, on 06/05/2013, hosted by postgraduate students Edwin Kelly and Louise Øhrstrøm. The session is designed for the general public, creative writers, religious groups and local historians.

The Pastons

The Paston Heritage Society celebrates the first known collection of English letters and papers. This lively correspondence shows the family dynamics involved in the rise from the peasantry to aristocracy in 15th century Norfolk. PhD Student Elizabeth McDonald and Dr Karen Smyth are working with the Paston Heritage Society on a range of public activities. Both are talking at the Paston Day hosted by Dragon Hall in May 2013 as part of the UNESCO City of Literature and the King Street Festival, and at the HLF funded Paston showcase at the Norfolk Record Office in Autumn 2013. Elizabeth has also given talks in the Cafe Conversation series. A major exhibition, drawing material from the NRO, private collectors, ancestors and other academic libraries together is also being organised by the Norfolk Record Office for 2013-14.

Time Machines

Oxford's Museum of the History of Science consulted Dr Karen Smyth for a major exhibition on ‘Time Machines'. A mischievous scholar, modelled on Chaucer's Nicholas of Oxford, acted as a narrator guide, who led people around the exhibition. From scoffing at the old-fashioned Roman sundial through to scepticism of marine chronometers and astonishment at a stopwatch, the exhibition drew attention to continuities and change in the history of time telling from the medieval period to the present day.

Local Archive Institutions

Every year, MA and PhD students get hands on experience with medieval manuscripts and early prints in key regional archive institutions. Archivists at the Norfolk Record Office, the Norfolk Heritage Collection in the Millenium Library and the Norwich Cathedral Library generously offer expert guidance. Undergraduate and postgraduate students also go on site visits in Norwich and beyond, to read the relationships between texts and the extensive extant built heritage and rich material culture in the region.