On My Way to Jorvik

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About the author:
John Sunderland, a dyed-in-the-wool Yorkshireman, was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Britain, in 1950. He was awarded a choral scholarship to Wakefield Cathedral and attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield. He studied graphic design, animation and film at Bath Academy of Art and Birmingham Polytechnic after which he began his freelance career in film and animation.

From his work with Yorkshire Television, he became the title designer of the hit game show 3*2*1 and created the character 'Dusty Bin', the program's iconic booby prize. From that exposure he landed further animation direction projects and became director and art-director for film projects with Kenny Everett.

His career path changed when he presented innovative concept designs to the York Archaeological Trust for their plan to develop a museum based on their five-year rescue-archaeology dig of Viking age remains at Coppergate in York.

John became the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre in York in 1981. Following the opening of Jorvik in 1984, he, along with other key members of the original JVC team, founded Heritage Projects, York, of which he was the Creative Director. In 1988 he went freelance once again.

Between1984 to 2008 he went on to design and build 25 commercially successful, award-winning ground-breaking international museums and cultural heritage centres many of which are still in operation. In the early 90s the media dubbed him 'the Godfather of the Heritage Industry'.

During the same period he completed over 150 international consultancy projects, several of which became full-blown developments. He also produced and directed documentaries associated with his exhibitions.

John married Kathy Kirkpatrick in 2006 in New York City. In 2004 and thereafter he became involved with her businesses, Life Café in New York City and Bushwick, Brooklyn (Life Café was featured in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Broadway hit RENT). During that time he painted and wrote a collection of short stories and began outlines for several fictional titles and psychic and historic thrillers inspired by his project developments as well as his American and New York City experiences.

John and Kathy retired from the Cafe business in 2012. Currently, they live in the foothills of the Sierra Bernia on the Costa Blanca of Spain where he has begun publishing his writings. In between the words he loves to paint and watch over the banana plants.

On My Way to Jorvik

How a boy with a vision became the project designer of Britain's ground-breaking museum, the original Jorvik Viking Centre

Authored by John Sunderland
Edition: 1st edition

'Why can't museums be more like films?' thought eleven-year-old John Sunderland whilst truanting from double maths incognito in his school gabardine and cap in a Yorkshire city museum.

That idea simmered for 23 years throughout his multi-media design career during which he created the legendary iconic cartoon character 'Dusty Bin' of 3*2*1, the Yorkshire Television quiz game show, and made films with Kenny Everett. Then, unexpectedly, his path led to the Vikings of York.

There, against all odds, he became Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre. His bold interpretation of York Archaeological Trust's original concept based on their incredible finds from the Coppergate dig transported visitors 1,000 years back in time immersing them in a captured moment one afternoon in the busy streets of the great Viking city, Jorvik. This revolutionary approach to the interpretation of York's Viking history had an immediate and lasting impact on the way Britain's cultural heritage would be presented from then on.

In this humorous heart-warming memoir, the author takes us on the up and down journey of how, without any previous museum design experience, he and a uniquely talented hand-picked team came to design and build the first ever populist archaeological exhibition in Britain.

This is a story loaded with Yorkshire wit that reveals how the author used intuitive creative thinking to put visitors inside the story instead of on the outside looking in. Finally, a museum more like a film, and a lot more fun.

'I couldn't put it down.' Francis Pryor, archaeologist, author and Time Team presenter

'The opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre was a watershed moment in the history not only of archaeological heritage management but also of archaeology itself. The buzz among the global community of archaeologists was immediate.' - Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D., RPA, Co-President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)

'A witty, honest account... hugely entertaining and informative... fascinating behind-the-scenes insight' - John Oxley, FSA, City Archaeologist, City of York Council

'(A)n amusing... thoroughly readable revealing story of the ride of [John's] life, including the bumpy bits.' - Colin C. Pyrah OBE

Publication Date:
1495364410 / 9781495364419
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Travel / Museums, Tours, Points of Interest

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