Public-facing Medieval Scholarship

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST

The Middle Ages are an important subject of public interest in the twenty-first century, as medieval-themed festivals, museums, television series and films attest. In our contemporary context, public-facing medieval scholarship has many opportunities to build upon and engage with this societal interest, to develop it and to ensure its historical accuracy. How do public scholars pursue this? This question is pressing especially for young medieval scholars and graduate students, for whom stable employment in the academy is limited, and who often look for and find creative work outside of it.

To encourage and expand current conversations about public-facing scholarship in medieval studies, we’ve invited two young scholars, Carolin Rinn and Lucy Splarn, to share their experiences about doing public-facing research and work. Ann Marie Rasmussen will discuss with them the importance of public scholarship, its challenges, and its possibilities.

Invited Speakers

Carolin Rinn has her PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Giessen (Germany) where she wrote a dissertation entitled, “Zwischen Erinnerung und Heilsvermittlung: Visualität und Medialität der mittelalterlichen Pilgerzeichen aus Aachen und Canterbury.” She presently works with the archeological excavation company SPAU, where she offers her historical expertise to guide visitors through various sites, which she views as a pilgrimage of sorts. She continues her research with medieval badges through her work with the Pilgerzeichendatenbank, an online database of pilgrim badges.

Lucy Splarn is currently a PhD student at The Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent (England). She has worked as an Archive and Library Assistant in Canterbury Cathedral, worked on an exhibition at the Beaney Museum in Canterbury. More recently, she has been working with media to share her knowledge to a wider audience as a Researcher for LionTV (a production company) on a television programme called Horrible Histories.


Ann Marie Rasmussen has been the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies at the University of Waterloo (Canada) since 2015. Her areas of expertise are medieval studies, German studies, and gender studies. Over the past decade, she has worked in the field of material culture, focusing on medieval badges. Her book Medieval Badges: Their Wearers and Their Worlds was published in 2021.

This is a free talk that will take place on Zoom. Upon registering on Eventbrite, you will be sent an Eventbrite confirmation email. The Zoom link will follow, though it will not be immediate.