Report from the 2018 Bergen Postgraduate Symposium

This April the Centre for Scandinavian Studies participated for the first time in the annual Bergen Postgraduate Symposium. Recently-completed PhD candidates Michael Frost and Beñat Elortza presented their research on, respectively, ‘Bishops and Witches in Fourteenth-Century Iceland’ and ‘Memory, Law and Pragmatism: The Institutionalisation of the leiðangr in Scandinavia during the Civil Wars’. MLitt alumna Caroline Wilhelmsson, who is about to begin a PhD in the Centre, presented some preliminary thoughts on ‘Öland’s Runes and its Clergy: A Case of Interdependence?’. They were accompanied by lecturer Hannah Burrows. The four-day symposium included presenters based in 5 different European countries and provided a supportive and lively environment, with vigorous discussion taking place after each paper. The programme also allowed for a visit to the university’s special collections and the opportunity to examine a variety of manuscripts and early printed books.

The medieval town of Bergen belied its reputation as raniest city on earth, providing a glorious sunny day for an excursion to several sites of historic interest around the city, including the thirteenth-century Håkonshallen, a royal residence built by King Håkon Håkonsson of Norway, and the twelfth-century Mariakirken (Church of St Mary). Our accommodation was located next to the UNESCO World Heritage site Bryggen (the dock), an important Hanseatic trading centre and location of a major find of c. 670 runic inscriptions from the fourteenth century.

The Centre would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education for funding which enabled our attendance. We hope to continue our involvement in this excellent opportunity for postgraduates to share research in a welcoming and constructive environment.

Author: Dr Hannah Burrows

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