Universities/University of Sheffield

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    University of Sheffield

Early Medieval Clerical Exemption in a Digital Age

Welcome to the event page for the Early Medieval Clerical Exemption in a Digital Age Wikipedia training workshop at the University of Sheffield on Friday 16th February 2018.

Wikipedia training workshop - In a nutshell

  • Where?: University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Street - Seminar room G13, Sheffield, S1 4DT.
  • When?: 16 February 2018, 14.00 - 16.00
  • Cost: Free
  • How do I sign up?: Please sign up below
  • What to bring: A laptop


The Laws of Hywel Dda manuscript (Peniarth MS 28, National Library of Wales) and a laptop displaying the Hywel Dda Wikipedia article

This course provides a long-term perspective on a single contentious issue: whether and how early medieval clerics could be put on trial in secular courts. The question of ‘criminous clerks’ is most famously associated with the cause célèbre of Thomas Becket in the twelfth century, but this was merely the latest in a long line of similarly explosive confrontations that reached back to the establishment of the church in the Roman Empire.

The course also however situates this topic in a new context, that of global public humanities. Both public and scholarly perceptions of the past are increasingly mediated through free online resources, such as Wikipedia, rather than traditional published sources, with significant consequences for the production and consumption of historical knowledge. Historians have often ignored this development; but this course chooses instead to squarely engage with it, requiring its participants to use the knowledge they acquire to improve Wikipedia, whether by adding new pages on relevant topics or editing those that already exist, as well as to reflect on the implications of this new form of dissemination.

The two-hour seminar format allows each seminar to discuss an aspect of digital humanities, focusing on Wikipedia, alongside a substantive discussion of early medieval sources and historiography. In doing so, it juxtaposes shifts in the early medieval knowledge about clergy – what their role should be, how they should be treated, and how that information was transmitted – with shifts in the creation and dissemination of contemporary historical knowledge.

About the event

This workshop is intended to provide attendees with an overview of how Wikipedia works in practice and the etiquette of contributing to the online encyclopedia. No knowledge or previous experience of Wikipedia is necessary to participate. New editors are welcome and they will be trained in basic Wikipedia editing skills to help them make their first contributions.



  • 14:00 - Start
  • Introduction to Wikipedia
  • Setting up your account
  • How to edit Wikipedia
  • What makes a good article
  • Getting started as an editor
  • How to get help when needed
  • 16:00 - Finish


Participants - Add your name below

Suggested Edits

Martyrdom of Thomas Becket - Psalter (c.1220), f.32 - BL Harley MS 5102


How do I prepare?

  • Sign up for the event
  • Create a Wikipedia account (if you haven't already got one) - signup
  • Bring a laptop (wi-fi will be provided)
  • If you want to learn about editing beforehand, please consult the introductory material below.