‘Tween warrior bullies: a collaboration

Creators od the Southstation Hoard

Dr. Carlee Bradbury with MFA alumni Karie Edwards and Katie Sickman, creators of the South Station Hoard

Front Cover of South Station Hoard

In a forgotten locker in Boston’s South Station, Archeologists in the year 2812 discovered a ‘tween girls’ treasure hoard … and the girls were bullies.

This is the premise for a collaboration between Carlee Bradbury, Radford University associate professor of art history; Courtney Weida, associate professor in art and art history at Adelphi University, Garden City, New York; and Radford University MFA alumnae Karie Edwards ’14 and Katie Sickman ’15; and undergrad art history alumna Debra Lustig ’14.

The 2009 finding of the Staffordshire Hoard inspired what began as a conference presentation and has grown into a new book called “The South Station Hoard: Imagining, Creating, and Empowering Violent Remains.” Punctum Books is the publisher.

“This interdisciplinary collaborative arts project deals with modern day issues of bullying within the culture of the medieval warrior,” Bradbury said.

Dated to the middle ages, the Staffordshire Hoard is a collection of mainly gold and silver metalwork weaponry. Coinciding in the news at the same time as the discovery was the topic of bullying, Bradbury said.

The two ideas came together when Bradbury wondered who would amass a modern hoard, as well as why and how. What would it contain?

Bradbury thought ‘tween girls as a warrior culture, who collect treasures and trophies, was a natural fit for modern hoarders.

She gathered her team and the collaboration began.

Bradbury, the book’s editor, wrote the introduction and created the fictionalized parts. The title references her daily commute to South Station during her pre-professorial days working in Boston.

Weida addressed the idea of hoard gender and created a lesson exploring the relationship between treasure, community and personal histories.

Edwards was the photographer and object collector.

“My role was to visualize and construct a subterranean archeological site,” she said. “We compiled a hoard of objects that ‘tween girls would want to own, covet or steal.”

Sickman handled the graphic identity and book design.

“It was essential to cultivate a design to not just organize the materials but elevate them into a unified whole, blend the voices together but preserve their identity,” she said.

Lustig’s research provided the background context of the hoard.

“I analyzed what the objects found in the Staffordshire Hoard reflected about the identity of early medieval warriors both as individuals and as members of a very turbulent society,” Lustig said. This became a comparison for the ‘tween hoarders.

With their combined efforts, “The South Station Hoard” ties together art history, research and creative pursuits providing a greater understanding of current societal issues. It is available online at punctumbooks.com/titles/the-south-station-hoard.

Aug 26, 2015