AN IRISH university has launched a global initiative to coincide with the news that Jonathan Rhys Meyers will join the fifth series of hit drama Vikings.
University College Cork (UCC) is aiming to create the largest online collection about the Vikings, which will include educational resources and original artwork.
Dr Tom Birkett, the Principal Investigator on the World-Tree Project, said that the rise in popularity of TV dramas such as Vikings, now in its fourth season, have made history appealing to this generation.
“The Vikings have never been so popular, thanks to glossy TV dramas, blockbuster exhibitions and recent high-profile finds, and the World-Tree Project aims to capitalise on this enthusiasm,” he said.
“The time is certainly ripe for such a collection: interest in Ireland is at an all-time high in the wake of the Battle of Clontarf centenary, and there’s a need for a resource that fulfills an appetite for more information about the Vikings.”
The project will rely on a “world-first” attempt to crowd source material from across the globe, and will enlist the public’s help to develop an interactive digital archive for the teaching and study of Norse and Viking cultures.
The venture – funded by the Irish Research Council – welcomes the public to submit items, which could include a translation of Norse poetry, a film of a Viking re-enactment or an original artwork.
According to researcher Dr Roderick Dale: “Everyone knows that the Vikings travelled huge distances, colonising Greenland, exploring North America and leaving a legacy across Europe. What we’re hoping is that the public will help us to gather together this wealth of material by taking photos in their local area and submitting items to the project.”
The World-Tree Project is encouraging modern interpretations of the Vikings as well as original material.
“If we hope to learn anything about how people perceive and use the Viking past, we need to understand how the Vikings are being used in tourism and popular culture,” Dr Dale said.
“In this sense, a Viking brand or a souvenir is as interesting to us as the legacy they left in the form of literature, language and material culture.”
The collection will be developed into a series of public exhibitions.
The fifth season of the Vikings will be released in 2017.
For more information about the project please visit www.worldtreeproject.org