Manuel Magan Abollo came up with the idea of Medievalitis at the end of 2016, after realizing that the information on medieval studies in the Iberian Peninsula was limited to international services, specific subjects, huge mailing lists or university and institution websites. The idea was to create a single website that provided open and easy access to information about conferences, funding opportunities and call for papers. From the outset, it was envisaged that the website needed the direct involvement of users, and would encourage them to submit their own news items easily and at no cost.
After several trials and working on local servers, the projects was presented to Maria Victoria Chico Picaza, Senior Lecturer at the Art History I (Medieval Art) Department at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, who offered her help and support. After modifying some aspects of the original project, it was presented at the I Jornadas UCM. La investigación en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. Desafíos y Perspectivas en entornos digitales [Research on Social Sciences and Humanities. Challenges and Perspectives in Digital Contexts]. A few weeks later, the project was presented to the above-mentioned Art History I Department (which today belongs to the History of Art Department), who decided to collaborate financially with Medievalitis, while also guaranteeing the autonomy of the project.
On May 18 2017, Medievalitis was officially presented at the UCM Geography and History Faculty. The payment for the domain and the server took places at the end of March 2017, to cover a two-year period. The website, altogether with its Twitter, Facebook and Telegram accounts – which automatically share the publications of the main domain – were up and running in April.
During the first few months, Medievalitis received several signs of support and collaboration, mainly from people from the Art History I Department. We would like to specially highlight the help from Ana Rita Gonçalves Soares, PhD candidate and predoctoral researcher in Spanish Language, Departamento de Lengua Española, Teoría Literaria y Literatura Comparada. During this same period, people unrelated to the project started posting.
Medievalitis continued growing at a rate that ended up overwhelming the server at the end of 2017. Due to the hihjh number of visits and daily processes, the website became unstable. In an effort to prioritize the security and stability of the site, the weekly/monthly mailing list had to be cancelled.
As a result of the hard work undertaken during those months, the website was redesigned in 2018, with the addition of new functions –such as the Catalogue of Links, organiser profiles, and the possibility of following the news through the website´s Instagram account. Subsequently, we were able to re-establish the mailing list.
At the beginning of the year 2018, our website became the subject of an article. It also served to bring together attendees at the 2018 Leeds International Medieval Congress.
The website underwent a thorough redesign in mid-2018, as a result of which it acquired a tidier look and it became easier to adapt to touch screen devices.
This year also saw an improvement in the translation of the website: the section “Send News” was made available in Catalan, thanks to the generous collaboration of several people. At the same time, minor improvements were carried on to the website: the creation of side panels in some sections, easing navigation; improving the menus and expanding the capabilities of advanced search, which made it easier to filter news by discipline, organization, or to filter open opportunities and future conferences. New sections were added, such as this one that you are currently reading – our history.
The impact of the website on Social Media continued to grow. Both the Instagram account and mailing list were positively received, while the number of Twitter followers continued to grow, reaching almost 600 by the end of the year. The Telegram channel, however, failed to take off and growth for the Facebook page was sluggish due to the company’s new policies.
2018 closed with uncertainty surrounding the project’s future: with the server and domain contract expiring in March 2019, Medievalitis was at risk of disappearing. This situation triggered an increase in donation campaigns. The generosity of several individuals helped to raise a total of 175€ by the end of the year.
The new year began with a continued focus on donation campaigns, and on congresses set to take place in Santiago de Compostela in April. These were: “A época do espazo. Estado e novas perspectivas”, “LVI Congreso de Filosofía Joven: Ontología millennial de la divina juventud” y el II Congreso Internacional “O camiño do medievalista: Et Ultreia”.