This year, Orkney seems to enjoy exceptionally mild weather in December, so I decided to use the opportunity for some fieldwork for my PhD research. In my case, this meant looking at some accessible runic inscriptions myself.
I am now finishing the second month of my PhD, and one thing I have learned: When you’re doing research on an island in the North Atlantic, you better don’t have any fear of flying in small planes or ferry crossings in high waves – travelling is a big part of any academic’s diary, and being based in Orkney does not make it easier for that matter.
This October, I am starting my PhD project with the Centre for Nordic Studies in Kirkwall. I moved up here all the way from Southern Germany because Orkney has plenty of a certain thing that absolutely fascinates me – runes. But it is not the symbols per se which I am going to research. I am going to look at what runes can tell us about perceptions and expressions of identities in the Viking diaspora.