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Honoring history: A look at modern Viking reenactment

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Indy Potter, a Ball State digital media graduate student, has spent the past three years building her thesis about Viking culture. The three-minute thesis competition has given her an opportunity to share this passion and rich history.

Out of over 900 universities worldwide, Potter has made it to the top 10 finalists. Although the competition has a focus on research theses, her’s is creative.

“I'm really proud that I made it to the second round because I do love speaking in front of people. My whole family is probably very charismatic and I come from a long line of charismatic people. I just love that I get to have this opportunity to share the hard work that I'm putting in for my thesis,” Potter said.

In 2021, after spending a year social distancing, Potter was able to reconnect with those around her through Viking history. She grew up with influences of strong women, like Buffy. Mixing this and her love for martial arts, Potter decided to focus on the real people that make up this lifestyle. This includes a variety of people, ranging from South America to Northern Europe.

“I hope to present it as weaving a vibrant tapestry of all the people that do this, what they do, and why they do it,” Potter said.

She plans to bring her thesis alive through a three episode docuseries. Each 30-minute episode strives to cover a different aspect of Viking life. The first episode will cover Viking age history, the groups that exist today and how the groups function through leaders and governance. The second episode will explain what it means to be a member, the different ways people earn their status and the creation and maintenance in the camps. The final episode completely focuses on martial arts. Potter wants to highlight this classic element of Viking history to show the passion, skills and rules.

“...a lot of fighting, a lot of the war games that people have, people training each other, camp life of people cooking, a lot of the products that people have made, craftsman has made, a lot of the social aspects and then interviewing people who have been in all different parts of these groups,” Potter said.

The top three finalists will be chosen. Along with monetary prizes for all three, the winner will represent Ball State at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Conference in April, according to a release from the graduate school.