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Ragnhild Bø, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Religion and Heritage

‘My fellowship turned out to be very rewarding’
20 March 2019
Visiting Fellow Centre for Religion and Heritage, Ragnhild Bø
Visiting Fellow Centre for Religion and Heritage, Ragnhild Bø

Dr. Ragnhild Bø joined the Centre for Religion and Heritage at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies as a Visiting Fellow from December 2018 through February 2019. During this period she has been carrying out research for two current projects, one on Netherlandish religious art in Scandinavia and one on the entanglements of material, motif and meaning in late medieval art.

Research

Ragnhild Bø is a Norwegian specialist in the arts of the later medieval and the early modern period, working on illuminations, paintings and sculptures alike, mostly in relation to how objects travel, how they stimulate devotional activities and how they cater to cults of saints. ‘I think it all sparked off in the mid-nineties when I read about Gothic cathedrals during my first year as a student of Art History,’ she explains. In Groningen she has been carrying out research on Netherlandish altarpieces in Scandinavia as well as on the entanglements of material, motif and meaning in late medieval art.

Multidisciplinary approach

Dr Bø considers this type of research important and relevant in several ways: ‘Studying transformations of religious culture manifest in artefacts with a multidisciplinary approach can be seen as highly relevant for meeting important challenges in today’s society. Also, I hope my research can contribute to more profound understandings of how people from earlier periods valued, used and cared for both their personal items and more communal works of art.’

‘My fellowship turned out to be very rewarding’

Ragnhild comments that she had ‘the most wonderful stay in Groningen’…: ‘I got the keys to my office on the day I arrived and got e-mail and library access sorted shortly after. Everyone I met was very friendly and helpful. I was mostly looking forward to sharing my research with colleagues, exchange ideas and to get access to monuments not yet seen and books not yet read. For all these things, my fellowship turned out to be very rewarding. Apart from having access to more books, in particular books in Dutch, my fellowship is mostly about connecting with people, sharing ideas and instigating future projects. I was here for a brief stay in December 2018 to give a talk and have been here again for four weeks divided between January and February 2019. I hope to come back in May.’

Centre for Religion and Heritage

The activities at the Centre for Religion and Heritage at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies had long been on Ragnhild’s radar. When she obtained a Marie Curie post-doctoral research fellowship she contacted the Centre and was invited as a fellow. Dr. Mathilde van Dijk, coordinator of the Centre for Religion and Heritage: ‘Ragnhild is an art historian working on the devotional use of late medieval Netherlandish altarpieces in Scandinavian churches. For us it was great to have a specialist over who works with Dutch heritage – in the broad, Netherlandish, sense of the word, as most of those pieces have been produced in today’s Belgium. Being a specialist on the Modern Devotion myself, art is not my discipline so I really liked the new perspective Ragnhild gave me.’
Last modified:21 March 2019 10.45 a.m.

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