University College Cork has launched a new crowdsourcing project aimed at creating the largest online collection about the Vikings.

According to a press release about the venture, called the World-Tree Project, it will be a “world-first attempt to crowdsource material on the Vikings from across the globe.” 

The UCC School of English-based project, which is funded by the Irish Research Council, is asking for the public’s help in developing an interactive digital archive for the teaching and study of Norse and Viking cultures. People are invited to submit everything from a translation of Norse poetry to a film of a Viking re-enactment or an original artwork.

Dr Tom Birkett, the Principal Investigator on the World-Tree Project, said that “the Vikings have never been so popular, thanks to glossy TV dramas, blockbuster exhibitions and recent high-profile finds, and the World-Tree Project aims to capitalize on this enthusiasm.”

“The time is certainly ripe for such a collection: interest in Ireland is at an all-time high in the wake of the Battle of Clontarf centenary, and there’s a need for a resource that fulfills an appetite for more information about the Vikings.”

According to researcher Dr Roderick Dale, “everyone knows that the Vikings travelled huge distances, colonizing Greenland, exploring North America and leaving a legacy across Europe. What we’re hoping is that the public will help us to gather together this wealth of material by taking photos in their local area and submitting items to the project.”

The World-Tree Project is also interested in modern interpretations of the Vikings.

“If we hope to learn anything about how people perceive and use the Viking past, we need to understand how the Vikings are being used in tourism and popular culture. In this sense, a Viking brand or a souvenir is as interesting to us as the legacy they left in the form of literature, language and material culture,” Dr Dale added.

The press release states that as the collection grows, it will be curated by researchers at UCC and developed into a series of exhibitions accessible to everyone. 

For more information on the World-Tree Project and to contribute items, visit www.worldtreeproject.org

Pictured (center): Dr Tom Birkett, Principal Investigator; and Dr Roderick Dale, Researcher; from the World-Tree Project with Elena Coderoni and Shane Broderick from UCC’s Medieval & Renaissance Society. Photo: Emmet Curtin.Emmet Curtin