We are delighted to announce that Mapping Miracles investigators Sarah Waidler and Dr Jennifer Key will shortly commence work on a postdoctoral project funded by the Isaac Newton Trust, under the stewardship of Principal Investigator Dr Máire Ní Mhaoniagh, in cooperation with the Cambridge based Converting the Isles Network. The intention of this six-month project is to produce a trial database of miracle motifs relating to conversion to Christianity found in insular hagiography. The database will encompass saints’ Lives written in Old English, Latin, Middle Welsh and Old and Middle Irish, from the seventh to twelfth centuries.
The second Mapping Miracles roundtable session was held at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in July 2014. Following on from the successful roundtable event that concluded the Mapping Miracles May conference, the Leeds session was intended to further explore some of the key questions relating to the priorities of creating a miracle taxonomy and designing and delivering a database. The session was extremely well-attended by participants from a variety of disciplines and the interdisciplinary and international nature of the Congress enabled the Mapping Miracles team to introduce the project to a new audience. It was wonderful to see some familiar faces from the May conference as well! After an initial project introduction and progress report by Sarah Waidler and Dr Jennifer Key, the discussion of miracle taxonomies and the challenges inherent in producing such a resource was opened to the floor. Moderated by Dr Helen Foxhall Forbes, the session triggered some lively debate over the practicalities of producing a database, the priorities for developing a taxonomy and the nature of the corpus from which the data come. An indication of the texts included in the database was deemed by many participants to be essential to the user-friendliness of any database. It was also suggested that the database would only be useful once a critical mass-point of texts had been reached, and that the list of texts included would need to be made available as part of the database. The issue of quality control was again raised, which reinforced to the team the need to think carefully about processes for data-gathering. A number of participants also discussed how they would use such a resource, and the list of potential search terms that were flagged-up by participants provided the team with a helpful indication of how a Mapping Miracles database might eventually be used.