Cambridge University Library MS Gg.1.1 fol. 490v. – Diagram of the human brain with five cells or ventriculi representing the five ‘powers’ of thought (the common or imaging sense, imagination, estimation, cogitation and memory), illustrating Qualiter caput hominis situatur.

Medieval Immersions: Script, Space and the Ecologies of Meaning (formerly the Material Medieval Memory Project) is a project about method and repair. Academic and public discourse shows that studying the medieval is more important than ever, not least because the period has been misappropriated, maligned, and misused for harm. A quick Google search for “medievalism and academic worry” not only reveals just how central the medieval is to current events and popular media, but also how the misappropriation and unintended manipulation of the medieval is largely due to a failure of the academic method.

The root of the problem, argues medievalists, is that as we temporally move further away from the subject of our discipline, we become increasingly disconnected from it. The medieval seems too distant to be relevant to emerging scholars and local communities. By making the medieval accessible through digital humanities projects, the MIm seeks to create sustained collaboration and broad scholarly exchange both within the academic community and without.

Current Activities:

♦ August 2021. Kenna L. Olsen: “Emergent Medievalism(s): Capturing Polytemporalities for Teaching Medieval Studies. What is Medieval? Seminar Series.

♦ June 2021. Olsen, Kenna L.“Logics of Landscapes: Finding Truth through Chaos in Chaucer’s House of Fame.” International Medieval Congress. University of Leeds. Leeds, UK. [refereed].

♦ April 2021. Olsen, Kenna L. “Medieval Literary Approaches to Considering Climate and Sustainability: Climate Crisis in the Classroom.” Humanities Colloquium Series and the Humanities Environmental Committee, Mount Royal Univeristy.

♦ April 2021. Kenna L. Olsen: “Medieval Literary Approaches to Considering Climate and Sustainability: Climate Crisis in the Classroom.” Humanties Colloquium Series and the Humanities Environmental Committee, Mount Royal University.

♦ 03 July 2020. Kenna L. Olsen: “Beyond Medieval Mimicry: Evoking Medieval English Experientiality via Immersive Performances of Medieval English Texts.” The Middle Ages in the Modern World. King’s College London. London, UK.*

♦ 06 July 2020. Kenna L. Olsen. “Transcending boundaries: Emergent medieval(isms) via Immersive Environmental Spaces. Leeds International Medieval Congress. Leeds University. Leeds, UK.*

♦ 16 July 2020. Kenna L. Olsen. “Acousmatics and the rhetorics of sonic agency in Chaucer’s House of Fame.” New Chaucer Society. Durham University. Durham, UK.*

♦ Winter 2020: Building Matters Speakers Series.

      • 17 March 2020. Thomas Dubois: “Sacrality and the Landscape in the Nordic Middle Ages: Indigenous Studies Perspectives.”*

      • 11 February 2020. Vin Nardizzi: “Back to the Woods: Shakespeare, Trees, Bodies.”

♦ Fall 2019: ENGL 4410 – Select Topics in Medieval Literature, 650-1500: The Pluriverse, Temporalities and Spatialities

      • This course is the first offered at Mount Royal University to be taught entirely in the Immersion Studio!

♦ January 2018 – June 2020:  “Building matters: a case study in partnerships for environmental sustainability.” With Elias Fahssi, (DIRTT Environmental Solutions, Ltd.).

      • This case study, funded by MRU’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, argues that solutions for sustainability are complex and require approaches that bring together methods beyond independent knowledge fields or disciplines.  Research silos undermine society’s ability to seek sustainable methods and produce them for perpetuity.  Building matters is a localized case study that alleviates this obstacle to sustainability.  This collaborative partnership uses knowledge of the human past as evidenced in the human responses to the environment, its changes and challenges, locatable in medieval literatures and charters, by way of the MMMP, and incorporates this knowledge in DIRTT’s goal to find new methods to replace practices of construction that undermine sustainability and endanger human welfare.

♦ June 2019: Constructing Medieval Worlds: Building Sustainable Medieval Studies via Immersive Environmental Spaces. Research panel. Canadian Society of Medievalists, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of British Columbia.

      • Lina Gibbings (University of Calgary): “Wrætlic is þes Performance Work: Differing Interpretations in Performance of The Ruin”
      • Michael Lazar (Mount Royal University): “Materiality and Spatiality in the Saga of Erik the Red: a methodology for historical literary engagement”
      • Olsen, Kenna L. (Mount Royal University) and Elias Fahssi: “ Means and Methods: Ecologies of Sustainability for Medieval Texts”

♦ April 2019: Olsen, Kenna L. “Pluriverse: Chaucer’s House of Fame as a ‘literary ecology of consciousness.’” Rocky Mountain Medieval & Renaissance Association Conference: Sapere Videre. Metropolitan State University of Denver. Denver, Colorado.

Recent Activities:

♦ Fall 2018 / Winter 2019 – Medieval Miscere Speaker Series:

      • Lina Gibbings, University of Calgary, “Wandering The Ruin: Building A Medieval Performance Text.” 13 March 2019.
      • Dr. Ashby Kinch, University of Montana, “Reading Chaucer Reading: Recursive Design and Inventive Memory in The Canterbury Tales.” 05 February 2019.
      •  Dr. David Watt, University of Manitoba, “Medieval Manuscripts in Canada: The Place of Old Books on Treaty Land.” 30 January 2019.
Copy of IMG_20190313_132431
Colin Gibbings performing the 10th century Anglo-Saxon poem “The Ruin” in Mount Royal University’s Immersion Studio Fall 2018 – English 4410: Select Topics in Medieval Literature, 650-1500: Material Medieval Memory: encountering environmental memorialization. Calgary, AB. Mount Royal University.

♦ May 2018: The Material Medieval Memory Project:  implications for shaping literary memory via the Environment. Research Panel, Canadian Society of Medievalists, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Regina.

          • Carter, Jaclyn (University of Calgary): “Memorializing Matter: Early Medieval Scandinavian Identities and their Material Memories”
          • McGillivray, Murray (University of Calgary): “Deforestation, Energy Penury, and the Old English Poems of the Exeter Book”
          • Olsen, Kenna L. (Mount Royal University): “Building matters: a case study in partnerships for environmental sustainability”

♦ April 2018: Olsen, Kenna L.  “Memorialising Self-Representation:  Manoeuvres of Medieval Materiality in Letters by Women.” 52nd Annual Conference of the Medieval Association of the Pacific. University of Nevada.  Las Vegas, Nevada.

♦ April 2018: Olsen, Kenna L. and Elias Fahssi. “Manufacturing Meaning:  Medieval and Modern Material Sustainability?”  The Graduate College Speaker Series.  Calgary:  University of Calgary.

♦ Winter 2018 – English 4401: Select Topics in Themes, Forms, and Genres: Genres of sustainability: ecocriticism and the status of the modern. Calgary, AB. Mount Royal University.

Past Activities:

♦ Winter 2017 – Medieval Miscere Speaker Series:

      • Dr. Brandon Alakas, University of Alberta, “Resignation or Rebuttal? Richard Whitford’s Dyuers Holy Instrucyons to Catholics in the wake of The Reformation.” 14 March 2018.
      • Dr. Robert Rouse, University of British Columbia, “There be dragones: Empire and Ecology off the Map.” 26 February 2018.

♦ Fall 2016 / Winter 2017 – Medieval Miscere Speaker Series:

      • Jaclyn Carter and Dr. Murray McGillivray, University of Calgary, “Pixels and Stanzas and Quires, Oh My! Digital Approaches to the Gawain Manuscript.” 13 March 2017.
      • Dr. Ashby Kinch, University of Montana, “Spirits at Play: Chaucer and the Luttrell Psalter. 01 February 2017.
      • Dr. Lucie Lamonier, “Urban Solitudes & Solidarities: Montpellier, 13th-15th Centuries.” 28 November 2016.

*Cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.