Report by Ben Chennells (Research Support Fund)

I am grateful to the Viking Society for providing funding for my attendance at the 18th International Saga Conference, on Sagas and the Circum-Baltic Arena, which took place in Helsinki and Tallinn, between 7–14 August 2022. Hosting delegates with expertise in all areas of Old Norse studies, and from a global range of institutions, the International Saga Conference is internationally renowned as being the premier conference in the field. I was, therefore, delighted to be able to attend the conference for the first time with the Viking Society’s support.

The range of research delivered at the conference was impressive, deepening my understanding of Old Norse texts both within and beyond my own specialism. Keynote lectures by Neil Price, Haraldur Bernharðsson, and Stephen Mitchell set the tone in their exhibition of highly developed research on Old Norse language, folklore, and mentalities, whilst also encouraging inclusivity in dialogues within the discipline. Amongst the many parallel sessions, I found panels on ‘Skalds and discourse’, ‘Perspectives on Jómsvíkinga saga’, ‘International mobility and contacts’, and ‘Constructing the saga’ particularly helpful and informative. It was excellent to have the opportunity to discuss this research with colleagues both familiar and new, with the social aspects of the conference enhanced by its hybrid format. I was also pleased that my paper, based on my doctoral research on audiences of Old Norse skaldic poetry and entitled ‘Sagas and the ongoing history of skaldic reception’, was well received. The discussion following my presentation has already proved beneficial for my research, since, at the time of writing, I am in the process of writing up my doctoral thesis. Overall, the conference organisers are to be thanked and commended for making this event happen in such difficult circumstances.