In these trying times Medieval Studies needs more opportunities to come together to positively build and reinforce our community. Before the COVID-19 pandemic this was largely handled by universities, research groups and smaller location based gatherings. It wasn’t a perfect system as many were left out, their voices diminished or unable to contribute to any of the important conversations that results in modern research advances. More and more medieval focused graduate students enter a job market that holds no work or hope for them.
Medieval Views: A Virtual Arts Festival seeks to address that need while simultaneously being more inclusive to the public. Let us try a creative solution. Let us, as scholars and researchers, take it upon ourselves to hold a virtual gathering. In short let’s be inclusive, show some kindness and have an art party for all to enjoy if they so choose.
This Virtual Festival is designed to provide creative public engagement for all ages as the event provides a common positive memory with which to build and maintain relationships. There will be virtual events such as coloring, group art creation and an online historical fashion show. The Festival will also consist of virtual gallery displays of medieval themed art created and submitted by people of all ages. I would like to include the products of classroom projects as well, with permission from the creators.
Also on display will be the products of medievalists as artistic creators. Many have taught themselves skills of the medieval past and the digital present with great beauty as a result. Sharing that with one another forms another means of reinforcing our community and allowing it to grow. Since it so far has not been a need addressed let’s change that. There are few enough positive topics in the world. Together let’s create more.
In order to achieve the outlined description I want to create a dedicated website to host all of the art submissions and gallery displays, the links for videos, podcasts and talks for those who are okay with them being posted. If I’m able to arrange keynote speakers for the Festival period itself their contribution will also be hosted there. A full list of all Backers will be posted to this website. This would have member-only areas so that participants can be safer in this process.
To make this work a social media platform dedicated to the Festival itself will be set up. This will include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. This will better support live question and answer sessions. A direct email for the festival will be set up for general inquiries and questions for the live question and answer sessions. This will help to involve the public from the beginning of the project.
If this Kickstarter campaign is successful I would like to give all of those who present a paper, including the keynotes, token compensation for their time. I’d also like to do the same for the winners of the popular vote for the art submissions themselves. Any volunteers would also be eligible for this. The best way to do that in this case is to give gift certificates to the recipients for use at a local indie art supply or bookstore to help these venues better survive the economic effects of COVID. If the campaign is more successful than this need I’d like to be able to offer small carer subsidies to help cover the cost of the time necessary for people to take part in Medieval Views as well.