A New Direction for Ceræ – Independence!

Over the past eighteen months, it is surely an understatement to say that so much has changed on a global level within society in general, and academia has not been unaffected. The shift to having not just digital, but live-streamed digital, interactions has been greatly accelerated by the catalyst of the pandemic. And while some of us may have become more physically isolated from our immediate surroundings and colleagues, paradoxically, the humanities have in a way become more open to the general public as participation in events and opportunities have gone digital and open access for a global public audience. Two attributes which have been an important part of the identity of Ceræ right from the very beginning.

Here at Ceræ, we have also gone through some big internal changes over the same period, the result of which is that we are now a fully independent journal.

We began in 2020 with the decision to update our main image. Previously, we had used the famous image of Hildegarde von Bingen receiving divine inspiration1 both because of the inspirational, progressive, and unique figure of the saint herself, especially given that she is one of a small number of identified female medieval authors. But more than that, it was the cera, the wax tablet she is depicted using which provided the link to the original aims of Ceræ itself.

Our new image, a portrait of Gottfried von Strassburg, the author of the Middle High German romance, Tristan, from the Codex Manesse2, similarly features an image of the cera in use. Around Gottfried are gathered what could either be students or an audience for his lyric poetry and music, and it is this sense of this image capturing a dynamic dialogue at work which particularly spoke to us here at Ceræ where we hope that our articles may similarly spark discussion and collaboration amongst between our readers and our authors.

Our next move, shortly after the completion and publication of Volume 6, was to begin the process of becoming a truly independent journal, by moving away from our previous publishing model and streamline our digital presence. This process took the best part of a year to complete, but now, for the first time, both our current volume and all of our previous volumes are directly hosted on this website. In another first, we have also been able to present the whole of our latest volume as a single published document, which we hope to be able to retrospectively apply to our previous six volumes in the future. We continue to chart our path forward with new ideas to consider and implement in the future.

We are forever grateful to the University of Western Australia for supporting us in our first years when we published Ceræ through the OJS system, as well as to the Bryant Stokes Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence and other early sponsors which have allowed us to spread our wings and fly solo. Each one of our committee members, especially those who have been involved for multiple years, also deserves our thanks and our appreciation, for making the journal what it is today.

However, independence always comes with a price, and in our case this means that the cost of maintaining the website for the journal now falls to us collectively. This is why we have added a new page to the website where our individual readers can now donate directly to the journal to support us with our costs of website maintenance and the essay prize fund which rewards graduate and early-career researchers. 100% of the donations which we receive will be used to ensure that Ceræ will continue to be a place for original scholarship well into the future. We will continue to provide our open access content for free, but while we continue our efforts of fundraising through traditional channels, moving forward we also hope for the goodwill of our audience to help us to continue in the long term. It is our goal to continue to evolve as a journal, and as digital humanities continues to become more open access and open to the public, we want to be at the forefront of this.

  1. Hildegard von Bingen with Richardis von Stade and Volmar, miniature painting, c. 1230; Lucca, Biblioteca Statale.
  2. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 848 Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse) f.364r.

Featured Image: The Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April 1320, National Records of Scotland, SP13/7

Leave a Reply