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Online Exhibition - Ciphers, Codes and Notes: Crafting Knowledge in the Medieval and Modern Worlds

A collaboration between Dr. Sinead O' Sullivan, Dr. Ciaran Arthur and Special Collections has resulted in the creation of new online exhibition entitled 'Ciphers, Codes and Notes: Crafting Knowledge in the Medieval and Modern Worlds'

Opening page for Ciphers, Codes and Notes Exhibition- Burgerbibliothek Bern, Cod. 264, page 77

The exhibition is organised around key themes relating to early medieval intellectual culture. It comprises 10 sections exploring reproductions of early medieval manuscripts with glosses, diagrams, illuminations, ciphers and mystic writing. It offers a virtual tour of some of the most highly-prized early medieval manuscripts preserved in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, and England.

For the physical exhibition in the McClay Library (provisionally scheduled November 2020 – January 2021) these medieval materials will sit alongside modern examples of notetaking, debate, codebreaking and encryption. The modern examples are drawn from the works of the following literary figures connected with Belfast: Seamus Heaney, C.S. Lewis and Helen Waddell (manuscripts held in Special Collections). These writers were deeply indebted to the medieval past.

The exhibition has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in collaboration with the Leverhulme Trust. All text written, and images compiled by Dr Sinead O’Sullivan and Dr Ciaran Arthur, Queen’s University Belfast.