It’s Sunday, March 1 and I just arrived in Uppsala, Sweden, to begin my Fulbright Specialist assignment at Uppsala University.
My project is titled: “Viking Age Runic Studies: Education and Outreach.” The project will provide opportunities for me to research how the Swedish education system approaches the subject of runes and runestones and how students respond. Are instructional materials already well developed and widely used? If so, how did they come to be? Where do they fit in the scope and sequence of curricula for various age groups? What would it take to make them available to English speakers?—to be used in American schools or by social and historical organizations?
Based in the Scandinavian Studies Department at Uppsala University I will have access to other departments within the university, including archaeology, education, history, as well as to museum officials. I will have access to archives, scholarly research, coursework, and contacts with whom to collaborate. This will build upon the existing connections between Uppsala and the American Association of Runic Studies (AARS) through the Runic Tours and Rune Rounds.
For my project I will gather ideas to develop lesson plans and to identify teaching strategies. They will be shared with others for input and feedback that will guide efforts to expand their use across Minnesota and the Upper Midwestern United States. Significant communities of people in that section of the nation share Scandinavian ancestry. They are quite likely to be curious about, if not already familiar with, runes and runestones. For those with a grounding, my hope is that the lesson plans will pass along new knowledge.
The experiences I have as a Fulbright Specialist will provide me valuable interaction and insight into how to harness and focus the natural curiosity invariably aroused by learning of runestones.
So, let’s begin the Fulbright adventure!!!