Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History
Introduction: MA in Medieval History, HI6091 module and Special Collections at University College Cork
Special Collections is delighted to welcome students engaging with our collections through a series of online exhibitions with the School of History. UCC Library’s Special Collections holds a variety of illuminated manuscript facsimiles, including the Luttrell Psalter. The facsimiles represent manuscripts created before the advent of printing and the facsimile recreates the original document in a copy that is as faithful to the original as possible. Although researchers prefer to examine original documents whenever possible, a facsimile offers an opportunity to study illumination and lettering styles, output from particular locations, and texts created by hand originally on parchment or vellum. UCC Library’s Special Collections holds a variety of manuscript facsimiles covering different areas:
- Books of Hours e.g. The Grandes Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry
- Psalters e.g. Utrecht Psalter
- Gospels e.g. The York Gospels
- Bibles: e.g. The Coverdale Bible, 1535
- Individual manuscripts: e.g. The Thornton Manuscript
- Series of manuscript facsimile texts: Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile
- Irish language manuscripts: e.g. The Book of Leinster, The Book of Lismore, The Book of Ballymote
- Types of manuscript: e.g. The Irish Miniatures in the Abbey Library of St. Gall
- Literary manuscripts: e.g. The Canterbury Tales
- Medical manuscripts: e.g. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem
This online exhibition, presented as series of blog posts on the Luttrell Psalter, celebrates the on-going collaboration between UCC’s Special Collections and the School of History’s MA in Medieval History. For History students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Special Collections represent research facilities that provide specialised support and access to stimulating resources. In their second and third years, UCC History undergraduate students are introduced to Special Collections as part of their various options when they get an opportunity to work with rare publications and material of historical value. These undergraduate classes always leave the students animated by a space they usually do not frequent during the course of their studies, by the content of the material that is brought out especially for them and by the kindness and helpfulness of staff.
The initial encounter of undergraduates with Special Collections continues through their postgraduate studies. The MA in Medieval History students in the past two years have availed of an exciting and rare opportunity of being on work placements in Special Collections. They have created online exhibitions inspired by rare books housed by Special Collections as part of the HI6091 Skills for Medieval Historians module: The Book of Kells and about Viking Cork. This blog centres on the themes of knighthood, hospitality and piety that reflect the research interests of the current MA students, with the images and texts selected by the students themselves to illustrate those themes.
The blog on the Luttrell Psalter is yet another outcome of collaboration between the librarians, academics and students, a collaboration that continues to stimulate all involved and through the online output reaches beyond the walls of UCC.
The Students – Bios
Liam Costello completed his undergraduate degree in History and Irish at University College Cork in 2018. He is currently undertaking an MA in Medieval History in UCC. His research interests focus on the Irish and Anglo-Norman identity and relations, and Irish ecclesiastical reform. His MA thesis looks at the transformations in the twelfth-century Irish church as reflected in a vision text called the Visio Tnugdali.
Patrick James O’Dwyer completed his undergraduate degree in History and Ancient Greek and Roman Civilisation at University College Cork, where he is currently pursuing an MA in Medieval History. His research interests include medieval Christian views on Islam, medieval maps and Insular art.
Tomás Miller completed his undergraduate degree in French and Ancient Greek and Roman Civilisation in UCC and enrolled on the MA in Medieval History to pursue his interest in the Middle Ages. His main research interests are the architecture and liturgy of the mendicant orders, especially those of the Dominican and Franciscan friars. His MA thesis focuses on the significance of transitional spaces in friary churches in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, in particular the development of choir precincts.
The project has been overseen by Elaine Harrington and Dr Małgorzata Krasnodębska-D’Aughton.
Elaine Harrington is UCC Library’s Special Collections Assistant Librarian. Elaine raises the profile of UCC Library’s Special Collections with local, national and international engagement through classes, social media, exhibitions, events, outreach and broadcasting. She collaborates with 30 academics in UCC and CIT to develop innovative research-led undergraduate and postgraduate modules based on primary sources held in UCC Library’s Special Collections. Elaine is a co-founder of the Sonic Histories of Cork City (SHOCC) Project and the 2018 winner of CONUL’s Training & Development Research Award.
Dr Małgorzata Krasnodębska-D’Aughton lectures in Medieval History at UCC’s School of History. She has published on Irish illuminated manuscripts, manuscripts in Polish libraries, and most recently, on the Irish mendicant orders. She is interested in the intersections between History and other disciplines, History and the arts, and History and students’ skills and employability. Her professional experience includes work on the Franciscan Faith: Sacred Art in Ireland 1600-1750 exhibition as well as the Medieval Ireland exhibition, both on permanent display at the National Museum of Ireland. She collaborates on the Monastic Ireland Project that provides a platform for academic studies on monasticism, combined with heritage and education outputs. She has recently contributed to programmes on RTÉ’s Lyric FM titled ‘Friars Walk’ (December 2016) and ‘Jerusalem Passion’ (April 2017, finalist at the New York Festivals: World’s Best Radio Programs, June 2018). She is a co-editor of Monastic Europe: Community, Landscape and Settlement to be published by Brepols in 2019.
We wish to acknowledge the generosity of the British Library for allowing us to use their images of the Luttrell Psalter. We thank Dr Damian Bracken and Dr Diarmuid Scully for their comments and advice on the text of the blog, and Peter Finnegan for his talk on the Blackstone Launchpad facilities available to postgraduate students. The students of the MA in Medieval History programme wish to convey their gratitude to Dr Małgorzata Krasnodębska-D’Aughton, coordinator of the HI6091 Skills for Medieval Historians module, and Elaine Harrington, Special Collections Librarian, for their support throughout the editing process of this blog.
Małgorzata Krasnodębska-D’Aughton & Elaine Harrington
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