Praxis of Social Imaginaries: Cosmologies, Othering and Liminality

Winter Symposium in Oslo 3rd to 7th of March 2023

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet,
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R. Tolkien  

Gerald of Wales travelling narratives Topographia Hibernica (1188) and Itinerarium Cambriae (1191)

Our journey begins, and we want to welcome researchers from various different disciplines, artists and activists and people working in the third sector to come and join us on this adventure. We will meet in the facilities of the University of Oslo from Friday the 3rd of March to Tuesday 7th of March. 

The goal is to practice joint reading and listening. By reading together and discussing parts of the two travelling narratives written by Gerald of Wales (c. 1146 – 1223) we will encounter ethnographic depictions from a time and age very different from our own. Still, these accounts are full of rich descriptions of nature, animals, culture and customs or behaviours extending back to the feast day of St. Eluned, where people danced to descriptions of the importance of music.

The practices of deep reading and listening / Peoples, practices, and lands in the medieval 

This study circle works through three different strategies: praxes of reading, listening and the telling of stories. The project can be described as a cosmological artistic intervention. By bringing artists, activists and researchers from different disciplines together in laboratories of praxis, we want to create a transformational learning environment and study how shifts in awareness and epistemic paradigms may occur.  

The texts will be provided in English and we will take time every day to both read the texts and share reflections that arise based on our own area of expertise. We want to provide a space where genuine interdisciplinary dialogue can be facilitated and explored!
A Digital Humanities Approach
Annotations of the texts will emerge from discussion sessions and be collectively archived here, in our Scalar online publication project Praxis of Social Imaginaries. Through our work together, we aim to produce digital scholarly editions of the texts specifically oriented to analysing and informing further academic address of racialisation in Gerald of Wales' work. 
How to participate?
Send us a short bio with your name information about yourself, your home institution/organisation, your artform or area of research and a short motivation to why you want to participate. 
Please also let us know if you will have institutional support for participation, accommodation and travelling costs or if you would want to be granted a scholarship. The earlier you send in your request the better the chances we will be able to work with you for securing scholarships! People living in the Nordic/Baltic region are given priority in scholarships as we are partnering with Nordplus for this event.
Our final call for applications is January 10th, but please reach out and express your interest earlier if at all possible. 

Graduate ECTS points
If you are an MA or PhD student, active participation in this Winter Symposium can afford you 5 ECTS points. If you further study at Åbo Akademi University (or Turku University or any other university under the JOO sopimus) this event will be accounted for as the following course (TE00CL12 Medieval Cosmologies and the Art of Sustainability for the Future, 5 sp) in the minor-subject Social Justice and Sustainability which can be taken through Åbo Akademi University.
Participation fee (including membership in NSU) 85€
Reduced price for people without institutional support 55€
The fee will include food and accommodation in Oslo for the duration of the symposium. 
Accommodations are in double or triple rooms. If you wish to have a single room, there will be an extra charge of 250€
More about the background to these readings

During this Winter Symposium, we want to explore the problematics of racialising in Gerald of Wales's (c. 1146 – 1223) writing. It has been argued by Geraldine Heng that his portrayal of the Irish is a particular case in point where questions of racialisation also are entangled with the use of land and cultural customs in relation to the landscape. We want to investigate how the portrayal of religious rituals, agricultural practices, lived religion and ethnicity were sometimes used to create a sense of community and inclusion that overruns bodily descriptions of otherness, while at other times these same practices divided people.

We foresee that Gerald of Wales's travelling accounts this symposium will attract people not only from historical and performance studies but also ethnographers, geographers and researchers of political science and cultural studies. In the Symposium we will read extracts of the English version of both Topographia Hibernica (1188) and Itinerarium Cambriae (1191) which are rich in descriptions of land, peoples, customs and cultures. Our intent is also that each Symposium opens with a deep dive into the social imaginary and cosmology of the specific period under investigation. In this session such an introduction will be given by Line Cecilie Engh, Associate Professor of History of Ideas specialising in medieval studies. We are also planning a keynote on medical music, as this is a very prominent theme in parts of the writings.
This winter symposium is created in collaboration with Kaia Rønsdal, Associate Professor Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, Norway.


Our vision is that each Symposium would lead both to artistic collaborations between the artists and researchers that gather, as well as a set of article publications for those that are into an academic path. We have a preliminary plan of creating a special issue publication from this event in an peer reviewed open access journal and will announce here when all the details for that are set.

Ongoing research
In parallel with the different symposia of this study circle ethnographic fieldwork is happening. The aim of that study is to follow and examinate the processes of inter- and trans-disciplinary research that arise from the circle meetings. Participation in the events of the study circle does not require participation in the ongoing research. However, due to GDPR regulations we want all the participants to be aware that research is conducted in collaboration with these events. We will thus also ask all participants to sign agreements on data collection. For those that are further interested in being collaborators in the ongoing investigation on inter- and trans-disciplinary research processes, informed consent agreements will be part of the procedures.

We want to Thank Letterstedtska föreningen for supporting the participation of students in this event!

This page has paths: