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British Academy honour for world-leading Viking expert

Friday, 24 July 2020

The University of Nottingham’s renowned expert in Viking and Old Norse Studies, Professor Judith Jesch, has been made a Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of her outstanding work in the field.

The British Academy is the leading champion of the humanities and social sciences in the UK. A Fellowship is a mark of distinction as only a small number of scholars in any academic subject are elected.

Professor Jesch joined the University in 1985 and has a long and outstanding track record of academic distinction in her research and teaching. As Director of Nottingham’s Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, she pioneers ground-breaking research projects and also pursues a long-standing commitment to engagement with the public and heritage sectors.

Professor Jeremy Gregory, PVC Faculty of Arts

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Professor Jeremy Gregory said: “We are delighted that our esteemed champion of this fascinating area of study has been made a Fellow of the BA. In her long and dedicated time at Nottingham Judith has reinvigorated the discipline, sparking huge interest from students all over the country and indeed the world who want to come here to study with her, because of her reputation. She has also shone a spotlight on neglected areas of Viking studies such as skaldic poetry and runic inscriptions. Knowledge of the Viking diaspora and gender studies of the age are also richer for her attention.”

Professor Judith Jesch, School of English

On receiving her Fellowship, Professor Jesch said: “I am honoured and privileged to have been elected to this body whose job it is to promote the humanities and social sciences, at a time when these disciplines seem to be increasingly marginalised in a world which prioritises STEM subjects. I look forward to spreading the word about SHAPE (Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for people and the economy – a new brand name for those subjects that help us understand ourselves, others and the human world around us, which is being promoted by the Academy.

“I'm thrilled and excited to be following in his footsteps of the last person to be a Fellow from our School of English, Professor Kenneth Cameron, as he was a significant figure in the study of place-names as evidence for Viking settlement in England. This is a subject close to my heart and part of my current project, Vikings in the East Midlands. It is very much a public-facing project, but otherwise, my main research interests at the moment are in runes and runology, and The Saga of the Earls of Orkney. I am very much looking forward to conveying my enthusiasm for these projects not only to other Fellows in the Academy, but to all those who follow its work.”

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