Prof. Steven Bednarski Receives SSHRC PG for Medieval History and Climate Change Project

Thursday, August 1, 2019
Dr. Steven Bednarski, GI faculty member and Professor of Medieval History at St. Jerome’s University was recently awarded a multi-million-dollar grant to support an interdisciplinary project that illuminates the relationship between climate and culture in the late Middle Ages.
 
Dr. Bednarski's students at Herstmonceux Castle
Image of Dr. Bednarski's students at Herstmonceux Castle from http://dragenlab.ca/herstmonceux-castle/
 
The interdisciplinary project titled “Environments of Change: Digitizing Nature, History, and Human Experience in the Last Medieval Sussex” will last for 7 years and will explore how digital technology gives insight into how the culture of the Middle Age treated climate change. The researchers will also investigate if this relationship can facilitate understanding in contemporary relationships with climate change.
 
“To represent the climate-culture symbiosis objectively we focus on another time and place of immense environmental and cultural change: southern England, 1000-1550—which coincides with the gradual end of the Medieval Climate Optimum and onset of the Little Ice Age.”
 
--Dr. Steven Bednarksi
 
Along with exploring how climate change impacted the past, the project also aims to establish the first digital humanities lab for the study of historical climate and culture and will be known as the Medieval Digital Research in Arts and Graphical Environmental Networks Laboratory; otherwise called DRAGEN Lab.
 
“Our novel digital media will include: an educational video game based on our archaeological and archival investigations; interactive digital maps to represent how climate and culture co-evolved; and exciting AR/VR 3D models that allow users to experience distant historical sites in their reconstructed natural contexts, online and through mobile tourism apps.”
 
"Environments of Change" will build upon an existing research partnership that Bednarski leads between the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, and the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex.
 
Along with St. Jerome’s, other University faculty supports include the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, Arts, Science, Environment, the Office of Research, Office of the Provost, and the Games Institute. GI Executive Director, Dr. Neil Randall, was one of 30 experts involved with the project.
 
“Together, we will produce tools to digitize sound, image, word, and provide an immersive experience to wide audiences, from school children to policy makers to scholars.”
 
Read more about "Environments of Change" in the full article by Waterloo Stories, here.

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