I am Sigrid, an Art History student from Lund University, and this year’s recipient of the International Museums and Collections Award. This blog is a diary of of my experiences, thoughts and adventures during the one month I spend at the University of Birmingham.

If you’ve looked at the header of this blog, you have probably already figured out why it’s called Two lions, one mermaid. This is the part where I explain it all the same. As I am interested in heraldry, one of the first things that drew my eye upon arriving at campus in Birmingham was the coat of arms of the university. I decided to find out more about the heraldry of both universities and to use their respective charges to form the title of this blog. And so, dear reader, come with me on this journey from Lund (a lion) to Birmingham (a lion and a mermaid).

cropped-ad-utrumque-per-ardua-ad-alta.jpg

Lund University, being founded in 1666, has a seal rather than a coat of arms because of its age. The crowned lion and three crowns on the right symbolize the Swedish royal power, since Scania had only just become Swedish. The sword and book in the grasp of the lion visually refer to the motto of the university: Ad utrumque (paratus) which basically means “Prepared for both”.

The University of Birmingham gained university status in 1900. The shield is connected to the university’s predecessor, Mason University College, though it was designed (in its current appearance) in 1900. The double headed lion and the mermaid are both remnants of the previous institution and its founder, Josiah Mason. The motto is Per ardua ad alta, meaning “Through effort great things are achieved”.

I am very much looking forward to my time in Birmingham, and will enjoy learning new things. Stay tuned for more updates!

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