In my journey with The Norman Sicily Project, the nature of my work has grown alongside the project’s progression. In this evolution, I have been given a number of invaluable opportunities to learn new skills and refine pre-existing ones. The process of cataloging and assigning metadata to images has improved my organizational abilities and understanding of file structures. This facet of the job has been incredibly beneficial to my aspirations of working in the post-production aspect of filmmaking- a department where organization is not only key, but, has the force of scripture. My capacity to concisely describe images has also proven to be an asset of the same function. With the completion of the image portion of the project, I have more recently been assigned to a heavily research-oriented task.
I, along with other students on the project, have been given an opportunity to expand research on the churches of Norman Sicily, including engaging primary source texts. This type of work is not something I have been given much exposure to in my academic career. Aside from a handful of research papers for my humanities courses, my relationship with this process has been unfortunately limited. The intuitive skill involved in undergoing an intense research process is not something many people are given an opportunity to explore and I am glad I have been tasked with such an important part of the project’s development. The work I have completed in the past several months has made me a stronger student and individual, allowing me to explore and expand skills I did not know I had.
Overall, the project constantly reminds me of the importance of documenting history and the value of understanding processes of the historian. While my field (filmmaking) seems a bit removed from the work I have been assigned, I have found the skills I have taken away to be of great value to my profession. The relationship between these two seemingly separate worlds have proven to me time and time again their similarities. I believe no matter the field, skills that dominate the humanities are translatable anywhere. Beyond the obvious professional benefits, the project has had a great impact on me on a personal level. To know I am able to contribute to the preservation of an incredibly rich and transformative part of history has made me feel like my voice is a little less small in the story of the world. In an era where preservation and accessibility has become increasingly possible, there is a necessity for efforts like The Norman Sicily Project. We, as historians, as scholars, as students, as humans, have an obligation to reinvigorate the richest parts of our history that have been widely forgotten or unexplored.