Media Release: University collaboration to further Viking research

Orkney College prospectus shoot 2011/12

THE University of the Highlands and Islands has been asked to help some of the UK’s most prestigious universities to expand our knowledge of Viking culture.

Academics from UHI’s Centre for Nordic Studies will be working with staff from Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham Universities to develop students and early career researchers’ knowledge of the subject and enhance their investigation skills.

The collaborative project will give 37-old Norse-Icelandic and Viking studies students and researchers the opportunity to take part in inter-disciplinary workshops led by key academics and heritage sector professionals.

The sessions will explore a range of subjects, including literature, coinage, archaeology and museum skills, which are rarely all taught in single university departments.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the skills development programme will also enable participants to experience Viking settlements first-hand in a seven-day field trip to Orkney.

The project will conclude with a conference and mobile exhibition where the students and researchers will share their knowledge with the public.

Speaking about the collaboration, Dr Heather O’Donoghue, reader in Old Norse at Oxford University and project leader, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together students, academics and heritage professionals from all over the UK to learn from each other about various aspects of Viking culture.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with UHI’s Centre for Nordic Studies, privileged to be sharing their expertise and enormously grateful for their enthusiastic support in this important project.”

Dr Donna Heddle, director of the Orkney-based Centre for Nordic Studies, said: “We were delighted to be asked to join this consortium.

“It’s great recognition for the University and for the Centre for Nordic Studies’ growing international reputation in Viking studies.

“Experts coming together to pass on their knowledge to students in the beautiful environments of Oxford and Kirkwall – what could be better?”

James Fraser, University of the Highlands and Islands principal and vice-chancellor, added: “Being invited to take part in such a prestigious collaboration is a testament to the hard work and expertise of the Centre for Nordic Studies staff.

“I am delighted that the University of the Highlands and Islands will be involved in this innovative project and look forward to hearing how it progresses.”


Notes to editors

The University of the Highlands and Islands comprises thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and co-ordinated through an executive office.

Collectively, this is referred to as the UHI partnership.

There are currently over 7,500 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the university.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university with campuses and headquarters based in the Highlands and Islands. Its mission is to strengthen and develop the social, economic and cultural prospects of the region. It uses a blend of learning methods, including traditional classroom face-to-face teaching, video-conferencing tutorials and lectures and virtual learning environments and other IT media.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.

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Contact: Susan Szymborski
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