5 Mar 2012

Annual Report to RSE

Posted by AndrewJ


Name and title of Principal Investigator: Dr Andrew Jennings Organisation/Institution: Centre for Nordic Studies, UHI

Names of Collaborators: Dr Arne Kruse, Dr Peder Gammeltoft, Dr Alexandra Sanmark, Dr Berit Sandnes, Dr James Wilson, John Clayton, Val Turner, Eileen Brooke-Freeman

Collaborating Organisations/Institutions: Centre for Nordic Studies – University of the Highlands and Islands; Scandinavian Department – University of Edinburgh; NAFC – University of the Highlands and Islands; College of Medicine – University of Edinburgh; Department of Name Studies – University of Copenhagen; Shetland Amenity Trust; Department of Dialectology and Onomastics – University of Lund

(Please note the word limit for this report is 2000 in total) Type of Award (Network or Major Grant) Network Grant

Title of Project: The Hjaltland Research Network: Mapping Viking Age Shetland

Date Project began (month and year): April 2011

Date of this Report: 02 / 03 / 2012

Total amount of funding awarded: £17,400 Amount of funding received to date: £8,750

Please provide a statement of the award objectives, as stated in the original application, and explain in detail how these are being met.

The objective of the award was to establish the Hjaltland Research Network, bringing together scholars of folklore, onomastics, genetics, isotope research, archaeology and history to plan a proposed research project entitled: Mapping Viking Age Shetland. The Network has been established and the planning of the proposed project is progressing well. The Hjaltland Research Network, through a series of meetings, was to formulate the research project proposal – determining methodologies, establishing datasets, and exploring output formats. Once these have been decided the Network will apply for large-scale research money from a grant funding body such as HERA or AHRC. Research into methodologies, datasets, mapping and data visualisation is progressing well. The aim of the Hjaltland Research Network was to gather relevant expertise to realise the Mapping Viking Age Shetland project. This proposed project will plot all data on an open platform on-line Spatial Relational Database and Digital Map. These new resources will then be used to answer some of the outstanding questions about Viking Age Shetland e.g. the date of Viking settlement, the origins of the Norse settlers and the intensity of settlement. Findings will be presented in a conference and book, as well as digital output available to the public. This project will, in turn, be a pilot for a larger international project which will map the impact and legacy of the Viking Age across the whole North Atlantic, now called by the acronym GIMLI. The Network has been gathering expertise and exploring the most up-to-date methods of mapping and displaying data. The Network was to hold a series of meetings and workshops over the two years, initially two workshops and three meetings were proposed. This has been more than met already- RSE grant money has been supplemented by other internal sources ie. by coordinating meetings with conference attendance etc. In 2011 the Network has held a series of regular Skype conference meetings and the following F2F meetings – – a Network Formation Meeting in Orkney on 16th April 2011, where colleague responsibilities were defined, and discussions centred around how to integrate data from the various disciplines in an optimally searchable database with a GIS-based focus on locations; – a meeting with the Shetland Amenity Trust on 13th September, postponed from June, where it was discussed how the Network and Trust should work together and the nature of the extensive databases held at the Trust, two Trust colleagues joined the Network; – a meeting and workshop in Edinburgh on 25th November, where Dr Gammeltoft explained how to create a searchable interactive map with the NGR referencing system; – a research week in Edinburgh (16th-20th January) where Drs Jennings, Gammeltoft and Kruse attended three important meetings 1. with Doreen Waugh at the Scottish Place-name Survey, 2. with EDINA (a UK national academic data centre, designated by JISC on behalf of UK funding bodies to support the activity of universities, colleges and research institutes in the UK, by delivering access to a range of online data services through a UK academic infrastructure, as well as supporting knowledge exchange and ICT capacity building, nationally and internationally), where they met Conor Smyth and James Reid and 3. with Andrew Dugmore, Professor of Geo-Sciences. All the details of the meetings can be accessed on the Hjaltland Network website www.hjaltlandnetwork.com. On the website one can also see demonstrations of the progress made with mapping data-sets. The website was one of the dissemination objectives. Key milestones have been met and exceeded.

If the original objectives have been changed in any way, please provide the rationale for the changes, and indicate how they are expected to impact on the research outcomes:

There has been no change in the original objective; the Network is progressing along the original trajectory. The sustainability of the work – please give details of any funding applications planned or submitted to support the research and maintain the collaborations, and, if any have been submitted, indicate whether any such funding applications have been successful:

The main aim of the Network is to apply for large-scale funding and progress is being made in the following ways: In December 2011 Dr Berit Sandnes was awarded a 2012 CRF/RSE European Visiting Research Fellowship to visit Shetland and Orkney in September for two months. She will be studying Norse place-names and contributing the information to the Network. In December 2011 Drs Jennings and Gammeltoft were awarded 100,000 Danish kroner (c. £10,000) from the University of Copenhagen Centre for IT Innovation to spend one month apiece to continue the development of the Hjaltland Research Network project proposal. This will include writing proposals for an AHRC Research grant and a Leverhulme Research Project grant. In April 2012 Drs Jennings and Gammeltoft will apply for a Google Research grant of £50,000 to develop kml-files for visualising data-sets on the Google earth API. The deadline is 15th April 2012. In April 2012 Dr Jennings and Eileen Brooke-Freeman will apply for £50,000 NESTA funding to develop an online portal for the Hjaltland project. The deadline in the 25th April 2012. The new £18 million HERA call has been published. The Joint Research Programme theme will be ‘Cultural Encounters’, which is highly appropriate for the Hjaltland project. Drs Jennings and Kruse will attend a meeting in Edinburgh on the 13th March 2012 for funding information. The deadline for outline proposals is 4th May 2012.

Scottish Government National Outcomes – to which of the fifteen Scottish Government National Outcomes does your project contribute and how? (See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/scotPerforms/outcomes)

Research and Innovation

The Hjaltland Research Network makes use of the latest technology to communicate with members – Google, Skype, Facebook. The Network is exploring the use of software, such as the Google Earth API, Google Fusion, Squork Maps and Wikitude in ways that are innovative in humanities research. These will be fully developed in the proposed project towards which the Network is working. The concept behind the project, namely the mapping of all available data-sets about the Vikings in Shetland will advance Viking studies, by creating a truly interdisciplinary platform for research The synergies created by mapping all datasets on the same system will create a unique resource, which will allow for new cross-referencing and thus clarify issues hitherto obscure. It will allow the scholars involved in the project to deliver answers to the many outstanding questions about Viking Age Shetland.

National Identity

Clearly the Vikings are a component part of the historical ethnic identity of Scotland. This Network aims to create a clearer understanding of the Viking contribution to Shetlandic and by extension Scottish identity through the mapping of hitherto difficult to access data

Knowledge Exchange – please provide an explanation of the knowledge exchange outcomes and if they are being achieved or what is planned to achieve them:

The Hjaltland Network has established a Facebook page and a website www.hjaltlandnetwork.com. This website is kept up to date with reports of meetings and with demonstrations of how the project data-sets might be mapped. The existence of this website and the Hjaltland Network has been disseminated on other sites, such as www.gheahome.org. Local inhabitants of Shetland have been informed about the Network with a BBC Radio Shetland radio interview http://www.hjaltlandnetwork.com/?p=38 Dr Jennings was invited by the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University of Copenhagen in January 2012 to give a seminar on the Hjaltland Network. A Power Point from this seminar explaining the Network is available http://www.hjaltlandnetwork.com/?p=475 The lecture about the proposed Hjaltland project to be held at the Shetland Museum and Archives at the end of the two year networking period in 2013 will go ahead.


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