Fulbright Sweden Interrupted by COVID-19

Of course, I was disappointed by the news, but in spite of this, I am truly encouraged that my activities as a Fulbright Specialist, both fulfilled and planned, will lead to informative and inspiring runic learning opportunities for both children and adults.

During my required 14-day self-isolation after I returned home, I immediately began follow-up work on activities initiated during my visit. This included completing my final report to the U.S. State Department on my substantial field visits to many runic sites under the leadership of Dr. Henrik Williams and doctoral student Tristan Mueller-Vollmer. (Blog visitors will get to know Tristan better in his upcoming role as a regular blogger to this site. Tristan is preparing his dissertation on the linguistics of words in rune carvings, which will provide a wealth of blog topics to be explored).

I want to thank my host institution and my faculty sponsor, Professor Henrik Williams, for this wonderful opportunity. There will continue to be a formal Memorandum of Understanding between the faculty of Languages at Uppsala University and the American Association for Runic Studies.  This will allow us to continue to spread knowledge about runology to a wider audience, to dispel unscientific notions about runic inscriptions and history in general, and will enhance the constituency of individuals, organizations, and corporations interested in supporting research about runology at Uppsala University. Together Uppsala University and AARS have formally agreed to continue to promote research about runology in the following areas:  lectures and seminars about runology, knowledge exchanges, study visits, and outreach activities.

Thank you to the Fulbright organization and the staff at World Learning, for their support, planning, and communication from beginning to end, and thank you to the Fulbright Sweden staff.

The hosts for the Fulbright program in Sweden met with AARS president Loraine Jensen at Uppsala University. They are, left to right: Maria Carle, program officer; Monica Dahlén, executive assistant; and Eric Jönsson, executive director.

The Fulbright Specialist appointment had the additional impact of energizing our activities in redesigning and upgrading our website, runicstudies.org. Under the leadership of AARS board member Dr. Mark Kinders and web designer Craig Johnson, of Sogndesign, the re-design will add new sections to the site. Among the most significant additions and changes are an active blog site and an educational web component to be developed with lesson plans on runes.

Previously, the website served as a site “of record” for past AARS events and activities, with promotion for upcoming tours and events. These will continue to play an important role in the redesigned site. However, our priority is to ensure runicstudies.org is a more robust and dynamic website with the immediacy of blogs and other activities that will inspire those interested in runic studies to routinely visit the site and engage with each other.