Connecting Early Medieval European Collections

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Lynda Mulvin

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr Anna Kadzik

Funding: Digital Culture EA-EU Creative Cultures, €192,000

Image: detail of a piece of medieval metalwork

Connecting Early Medieval European Collections (CEMEC) is an EU-funded digital collaborative project between eight European museum collections, seven universities and six technical partners that aims to examine the connectivity between Early Medieval objects and the objects’ regions of origin with the aid of innovative digital technologies. This Digital Culture EA-EU Creative Cultures project includes input from Ireland, though a collaboration between UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy, the National Museum of Ireland and Waterford Museum of Treasures.

Drawing on objects from participating museum collections, the project will produce Crossroads. Traveling through the Middle Ages, a travelling virtual exhibition focusing on the early days of migration and cultural exchange in Europee during the Early Middle Ages. This transnational exhibition will explore diversity and connectivity in Early Medieval Europe, between different regional cultures in Europe and around the Mediterranean, from Ireland to Egypt and from Spain to Hungary and Greece. Using a range of digital technologie,s including an interactive timeline, maps, and contextual reconstructions, 'Crossroads' will first present distinct cultures between the years 300-1000 and then will discuss how these cultures were connected through Faith, Identity and Dress, Warfare, Travel, Knowledge, and Memory of Rome. The exhibition will open at the at the Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam in September 2017 before travelling to the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and the LVR-LandesMuseum in Bonn. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly and lavishly illustrated book Crossroads. Reizen door de middeleeuwen / Crossroads. Travelling through the Middle Ages, published in English and Dutch.

From 19-21 April 2017, UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy together with the National Museum of Ireland and NOHO, the Irish technical partner, hosted a transnational conference in Dublin, that brought the CEMEC project members and the digital research community together during a three-day meeting to explore issues pertinent to digital heritage resources and visualisation technologies.

This grant is funding a Post Doctoral Researcher, Dr Anna Kadzik, and a research assistant from NMI, Maeve Sikora, and Rosemary Ryan of the Waterford City Museum. Together with input from twelve other European museums and universities, a virtual exhibition, entitled ‘Europe at the Crossroads 300-1200 AD’, will be launched in Amsterdam in October 2017 and will come to Ireland in 2018. There will be an accompanying monograph. In connection with this, in April 2017, a transnational conference will be held in Dublin bringing together the virtual heritage community of Ireland and Europe.

This is an innovative collaboration between UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy, the National Museum of Ireland, Waterford Museum of Treasures, and The Discovery Programme and Noho as technical partners - involved in 3D visualisation and panoramic timeline respectively.