Medieval history and Anglo-Saxon Celtic and Norse
Napoleon reputedly said 'History is a series of lies we agree on'; I find this idea compelling as opinions on how we decipher recorded history change with perspective and interpretation. History provides a sense of identity and belonging, it fosters alliances and the investment in behaviours we might otherwise misunderstand. Looking at the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle made me realise that what we consider as important today was not as significant in the Medieval era in this account. The events of 1066 were noted down in just two lines and I want to understand why, as a turning point in history, it wasn't recorded in full detail, what the author was thinking and what forces were influencing the account.
This summer, I had the opportunity to be part of the Sutton Trust Summer School in Cambridge where I attended lectures about Vikings, Celts and Anglo-Saxons, including studying parts of the languages relevant to them. I was excited to examine and study old manuscripts, which showed me that written history may be recorded incorrectly or to showcase a certain point of view: Bede and Gildas who wrote about the same event presented different opinions.
My Extended Project Qualification is an artefact piece, which examines a dual narrative comparing a Maori and Norse mythological story from the perspective of Maui's fish-hook and Mistletoe. This explores how similar themes, such as death and parental love, evolve in historically separate cultures. During recent work experience at a radio station, I took part in a live on-air discussion about how history, mythology and context should enable us to view the current world picture. I was introduced to Campbell's book 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces', which I am currently reading and it is fuelling my enthusiasm for more detail. The archetypes and stereotypes explored by Campbell reveal a simplified version of stories. In A-level Theatre Studies I have explored simple characterisations and stories through melodrama, which I have realised directly relate to the monomyth theory shown in Campbell's book.
A scout trip to Iceland visiting the original European parliament introduced me to the Icelandic Sagas and how leadership roles changed amongst the early Icelanders. Their family conflicts and struggles still seem relevant today as alliances shift but our need for them remains imperative for survival and trade. The realities of leadership are often different to what we imagine, as my experiences as Head Girl and being on the Student Leadership Team have taught me. Information in context fascinates me. The very small initial conditions that influence the larger historical picture intrigue me as it's the little things that may matter the most. I like to see how far an information thread leads me looking for original sources and the depth of detail available. My A-level Spanish has allowed me to see the development of language through a different culture and how this compares to our own. I have also studied some Norwegian with Oslo University online and I can see similarities with modern day English. Obtaining further language skills to directly translate and interpret original texts is something I look forward to.
Outside college, I work as a lifeguard and have completed my Gold DofE as part of an independent group and this has provided me with independence and resilience. Recently, I worked with Kneehigh Theatre as part of a local history project that launched a mobile App; I recorded memories and used these to write theatre pieces performed by professional actors. I have also acted and directed as part of theatre groups and have performed in many locations, such as the Minack Theatre presenting the devised piece 'The History of the World in 10 1/2 Minutes'.
My academic and personal experiences so far have shown me that history is written by the winners and I'm keen to find a truth and seek inspiration, allowing me to indulge in a subject I really enjoy in a challenging university atmosphere.
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Applied to and offers from -
St Andrews AAA
Accepted Cambridge and Cardiff
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