Monday 22 July 2013

A Year in Review

It has been one year since we uploaded our first post, and since then many things have happened in each of our lives. Through our individual adventures the blog has been our constant companion. It has not always been easy, but somehow we managed to keep it going. To celebrate this anniversary we've decided it's time for a good old-fashioned self-reflection-post!

When we began this adventure we were each drowning in our own research, writing, editing and about to embark upon our MSc dissertations at the University of Edinburgh, but somehow along the way, we came together to form this blog. Indeed, the somewhat chaotic nature of academia acted as the impetus for the original framework of the blog, which mainly consisted of posting truncated papers and imagery. This, in translation, involved putting as much content as possible into a vaguely limited amount of words followed by the accompaniment of a small armada of footnotes and pretty pictures.  Reflectively speaking, we were doing what we knew best: writing papers. But as time progressed, we were confronted with the reality of busy and very different schedules, the nuances of our private lives and a blog that was quite arduous in nature. It soon became clear that our simple idea of posting material according to a rotational schedule (AKA the 'post-n-run' tactic) was not as feasible as we once thought it should, or even could be. We realised that in order for Beyond Borders to succeed as a blog, the four of us needed to become more of a team. What began as collaboration amongst fellow students  became a partnership of academic minds and more importantly, friends. We divided tasks that were not only associated with the facilitation of a successful blog, but also focused on our individual talents. This forced us to not only be more self-reflective about the blog itself, but also about the process associated with the transmission of information, blog or otherwise.

We considered that maybe, possibly, or perhaps not everyone was excited to read what amounted to short essays, which lead us to write smaller posts, blog more about our own ideas and opinions and opt to share what we deem to be more ‘experimental' concepts in relation to current medieval scholarship. After all, we did not want the blog to become a small journal written by four colleagues, but instead we wanted a place for exchange and creative thinking. Granted, we're still hard wired to produce works with copious footnotes and word limits that break all the rules of blogging. So it's fair to say that this coming year will see posts which will attempt to make room for both types of writing, short and long, thereby allowing for different types of readers.

But as everyone within our readership knows, we have not been the only ones posting on our blog. Part of our initial conceptualisation of Beyond Borders was to include and work towards contributions by guest bloggers. For us, a guest blogger expands the discourse we aim to spark while also allowing people who want to share their ideas a forum in which some comments and/or recognition may be received. After some amazing posts by people we had the privilege of meeting earlier in our academic careers, we started advertising the option. We wrote to art history institutes, grad schools, newsletters, tweeting, Facebooking and suddenly the project 'guest blogger' had become a PR-job on its own right (one in which our Emily Tuttle blossomed to a PR-mastermind). And the work paid off. By now we have had numerous guest posts from an international community, and we are thankful and feel honoured that so many have shown an interest in writing something for the blog. If you are getting interested yourself, why not drop us a line with your idea for a guest post ;)

So, what now? Well, we will continue doing what we are doing at the moment. We will develop the blog, change a bit here and there, and eventually Beyond Borders will transition into other projects, but we will see where the future takes us. Most importantly, we aim to still be here next year having expanded our readership and the interests our readers may have about the medieval world. We're already looking forward to our second anniversary post and we hope you are as well.

The Beyond Borders Team

Fabian, Samuel, Shandra and Emily


  1. I just want to take a moment to express my thanks to the Beyond Borders team for allowing me to be one of your guest authors. I look forward to what the future will bring to this dynamic outlet for ideas about medieval art!

  2. Thanks for your wonderful contribution Nathaniel! It has been a wonderful first year and we look forward to future discourse.