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International Medieval Congress, Leeds - update

Dear colleague,

Please find below the latest instalment of the Leeds International Medieval
Congress Newsletter. We hope through the newsletter to keep in touch with
IMC participants past and present, and to inform them of forthcoming IMC

You can read more on the upcoming IMC 2015 in this newsletter, as well as on
the call for papers for IMC 2016. A fully formatted version of this
newsletter is available to download and print from here

We only send out two newsletters per year – if you prefer not to receive
this newsletter in the future please let us know by return email. We always
appreciate your feedback, so please do feel free to suggest improvements to
this newsletter, and to let us know what you would like to see included in
future issues.

Kind regards,

Axel E. W. Müller
Director, International Medieval Congress


Entering its 22nd year, the International Medieval Congress is firmly
established as the interdisciplinary forum for intellectual debate in all
areas of medieval studies. The IMC is held at the University of Leeds every
July, and this year will attract more than 2000 medievalists from around the
world, some 2000 of which are actively involved in the programme. The IMC is
unique in that it welcomes papers in any major European language, and the
international nature of the Congress is central to its culture.

The IMC comprises a four-day programme of sessions, round tables, and
special lectures and is also complemented by an exciting range of
excursions, workshops, concerts, and performances, as well as receptions,
bookfairs, craft and historical society fairs, and the annual Congress

Papers and sessions for the IMC are selected by an international Programming
Committee of more than 30 leading medievalists, and proposals for papers in
all areas of medieval study are welcomed.

The IMC offers many opportunities to medievalists worldwide. Come and
experience this for yourself at the IMC 2015 !


2015 is a year of plenty with many anniversaries for medievalists with
national and international significance, including the anniversary of the
Fourth Lateran Council and the Magna Carta in 1215. This year’s special
focus on ‘Reform & Renewal’ includes several of these anniversaries and has
gone much further, investigating many aspects of reform and renewal in and
of the Middle Ages. In total, we have 220 sessions and round table
discussions on the special thematic strand, including secular and religious,
spatial and ritual reform, dissidence, cross-cultural perspectives, the
views of medieval historiographers as well as post-medieval perspectives on
reform, artistic and literary expressions of reform, and the reforming of
knowledge. This special focus, of course, is only a third of the riches the
IMC offers in 2015, with a further 433 sessions dealing with many other
aspects of Medieval Studies.

We are delighted to welcome three main keynote speakers on ‘Reform &
Renewal’. The Congress will open with a double lecture by Maureen C. Miller
(Department of History, University of California, Berkeley) and Keith Lilley
(School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, Queen’s University
Belfast), with the first part focusing on ‘Beyond National Narratives :
Culture, States, and Reframing ‘Gregorian’ Reform’ and the second on ‘Spaces
of Reform ? : Urban Renewal and the Shaping of Cities in Medieval Europe’. At
lunchtime on Monday, Frank Griffel (Council on Middle East Studies, Yale
University) will continue with ‘Reforming Islam at the Turn to the 6th/12th
Century : Al-Ghazali’s Project of Reviving Religion through Aristotelianism
and Mysticism’, focusing on reform beyond the Christian world. On Wednesday
evening a major round table discussion will focus on ‘Ways to Address
‘Reform & Renewal’ across Medievalist Disciplines’.

In addition to the special focus on Reform & Renewal we are pleased to
announce a number of special lectures and events. We are delighted to
welcome back the Early Medieval Europe lecture, with this year’s speaker,
Mayke de Jong (Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit
Utrecht) exploring ‘Carolingian Cultures of Dialogue and Debate’.

The Medieval Academy of America also returns for their annual lecture series
given by Sara Lipton (Department of History, State University of New York,
Stony Brook) on ‘The Vulgate of Experience - Preaching, Art, and the
Material World’.

New appearances this year include an exhibition held throughout the Congress
on the Parkinson Balcony and an associated lecture on the ‘Ballar el moro -
Dancing the Moor : Festive Dances of Moors and Christians in the Western

There will also be a display of research posters from the University of
Leeds, University of York, and University of Sheffield available throughout
the Congress week, with poster presentations on Tuesday between 18.00 and
20.00. During this time, IMC delegates are invited to view the posters and
will be given the opportunity to network with the presenters.


On Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime, two special sessions will give delegates
the chance to see first-hand the extensive holdings of Special Collections
at the University Library. The first of these, ‘J. R. R Tolkien at Leeds and
in the Brotherton Library Special Collections’, will be delivered by Alaric
Hall (School of English, University of Leeds). While more famously
associated with Oxford University, J. R. R. Tolkien’s first lectureship was
at Leeds. This talk will draw on literary work published during Tolkien’s
time at Leeds and held in Special Collections, along with recently acquired
correspondence between Tolkien and Ida Gordon - medievalist, ex-student, and
wife of Tolkien’s friend and collaborator E. V. Gordon. It will explore how
shaping a medieval syllabus at Leeds helped Tolkien develop his own literary

A second session held amidst the Special Collections is, ‘The Secrets of
Early Printed Books – The Leeds Incunabula Revealed’, led by Rhiannon
Lawrence-Francis (Special Collections, University of Leeds Library). Leeds
University Library has over 300 incunabula, that is, books printed in Europe
before 1501. The majority were acquired by Lord Brotherton of Wakefield, the
library’s greatest benefactor, and another 40 items are on deposit from
Ripon Cathedral Library. The project has given a greater insight into Lord
Brotherton’s collecting strategy, which aimed to build a representative
collection of high-quality items that would illustrate both the geographical
range of early European printing and the variety of subject matter with
which early printers and publishers were concerned.

Following each session there will be an opportunity to observe the
collection in more detail. The Reading Room of Special Collections is open
from 09.00-18.00 during the Congress week, and IMC delegates are welcome to
pursue their research and explore the collection.

Graham Coatman (School of Music, Humanities & Media, University of
Huddersfield) will also give a special talk about ‘Contemporary Composers
and the Renewal of Medieval Practice ? : Medieval Models in the Work of Judith
Weir’ on Thursday lunchtime. The session will consider : Is the use of
medieval models by 20th-century British composers, a means to establish
identity and authenticity, or simply a reaction against the overwhelming
harmonic and formal legacy of the 19th century ? What do contemporary
composers, and indeed, what do we, understand by medievalism today ? How
important to us, as the audience, is it to understand or know the medieval
sources so used ? How is the use of pre-existent material integrated into the
contemporary creative process ?


There will be three Professional Career Development Workshops held on Friday
10 July, one of which is ‘An Introduction to Medieval Records at The
National Archives’. The National Archives of the United Kingdom (TNA) holds
one of the world’s largest and most important collections of medieval
records. For all medievalists the ability to locate, read, and understand
archival sources is fundamental to their research. However, finding, using,
and interpreting the rich diversity of material is not always entirely
straightforward, and its potential for a wide range of research uses is
often unclear. This workshop will offer an introduction to TNA,
demonstrating how to begin exploring its collections and to access research
support. A course-pack with facsimiles of original documents will be used to
illustrate the range of disciplines and topics TNA records can inform and
illuminate. The workshop will be led by TNA specialists Nick Barratt, Sean
Cunningham, Jessica Nelson, Laura Tompkins, and Paul Dryburgh.

The second Professional Career Development Workshop is co-ordinated by
academic publishers Brill, who will offer postgraduate students and early
career scholars a valuable insight into the world of academic publishing.
The workshop will comprise of three sessions : the book proposal, writing the
journal article, and producing an edited volume of conference proceedings.
Workshop leaders Kate Hammond, Catherine Cubitt, Julian Deahl, Simon Forde,
Alaric Hall, and Jonathan Jarrett will be on hand for advice and guidance
and there will also be the opportunity for a question and answer session.

The third workshop, a ‘Medieval Arms and Armour Study Session’, will be
hosted by the Royal Armouries : the British National Collection of arms and
armour and one of Britain’s oldest museums. This day seminar is a unique
opportunity for a limited number of IMC delegates to take part in an
immersive practical session, handling original medieval arms and armour. Key
pieces will be made available for close examination in this intimate session
and there will be the opportunity for informal discussion with our
specialist curatorial staff. The workshop will be led by Karen Watts, Senior
Curator Armour and Art, Robert C. Woosnam-Savage, Curator European Edged
Weapons, Henry Yallop, Assistant Curator European Edged Weapons, and Keith
Dowen, Assistant Curator European Armour.


This year’s programme of events offers a wide range of choice including a
performance of late medieval wind music by Blondel, Joglaresa’s
anti-establishment celebration of ‘Robbers, Rebels & Royals’, and a
programme of music from the time of the Magna Carta by Trouvère. In addition
there will be workshops on appliqué, music by Hildegard of Bingen (in
co-operation with NEEMF), spinning and calligraphy, a dramatic reading of
Chaucer’s Manciple’s Prologue and Tale and the Cook’s Prologue and Tale.

Our programme of excursions includes visits to Lincoln Cathedral and
Bishops’ Palace, and a trip to the historical hub of York to visit
Micklegate and Monk Bar, located in the city walls. Other excursions include
trips to sites across Yorkshire, such as Mount Grace Priory and Jervaulx
Abbey, Conisbrough Castle, Kirkstall Abbey and the renowned Royal Armouries
Museum. Additionally, there will be a walking tour of Leeds, tracing the
history of the city from medieval settlement to one of the most important
business centres in the United Kingdom. For more information about IMC
events and excursions please visit here

The Leeds University Union Medieval Society has enlivened the Congress with
an assortment of medieval games and activities this year. Whether you seek
an intense round of Gluckhaus in the Old Bar, to immerse yourself in our
first International Medieval Film Festival, or to unwind and listen to a
variety of readings in the Medieval Poetry Corner, the society offers a wide
range of fun and informal medieval (inspired) activities to participate in.

For more information about their programme of events, please view their

For more information about Leeds University Union Medieval Society


As the IMC 2015 draws to a close, ‘Making Leeds Medieval’ will once again
transform the University Square into a bustling scene inspired by the past.
The end of Congress celebration will include a colourful array of
performances, demonstrations, food, and fairs for all to revel in and unwind
as the sessions conclude.

The Medieval Craft Fair will once again take place during the ‘Making Leeds
Medieval’ celebrations, offering a broad range of items from hand-made books
to historically-inspired jewellery. Learn, whilst you peruse, about the
techniques involved in making these exquisite items from the artisan
responsible for their production.

The Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair will also return, alongside
the craft stalls and purveyors of fine local produce. The fair will feature
organisations involved in preserving local and national history in the UK,
giving delegates the chance to discover and discuss the safeguarding of
tangible historical culture.

Equally enticing, the Farmers Market will provide a range of quality, local
produce from the Yorkshire Region and feature the not so medieval, but
undeniably delicious, hog roast !

Demonstrations and Displays
Following their IMC début in 2014, the performers of the European Historical
Combat Guild will return to the University Square arena. Spurred by last
year’s successes, the Guild will once again employ replica weapons and
armours in a programme of demonstrations, handling sessions, and enthralling
live combat displays inspired by conflicts of the past.

Back by popular demand, the falcons and hawks will also return to the
University Precinct. Birds of prey featured in previous years have included
falcons, kestrels, merlins, hawks, and owls. In response to the positive
reception our avian guests have received in previous years, the display will
be extended in both scale and variety, giving delegates and members of the
public a greater opportunity to view and hold these majestic creatures.

Delegates will also be treated to rolling demonstrations of medieval
culinary practice and etiquette, incorporating historic cooking techniques
and the opportunity to taste dishes prepared according to medieval recipes.
Described as a purveyor of ‘fine historic foods’ : Dr Nick Trustram Eve from
The Copper Pot will present a number of dishes to evoke the past through the
sense of taste.

Further demonstrations will include paper-marbling by Bade Kadafar, and
skep-making by Malcolm Fisher of Sweetness and Light, along with displays by
Mulberry Dyers and Tanya Bentham. Live music will feature once again, as the
Leeds Waits return to amplify the festivities with their display of musical

New to the IMC, the King Edward’s Living History Group will join us with
hands-on activities, demonstrations, and displays.

‘Rys up and lat us daunce !’
Bringing the IMC to a joyful close, a rousing evening of medieval music and
dance will be led by the Arbeau Dancers, featuring live music from Peter
Bull. Instruction and demonstrations will be provided, ranging from stately
Basse Dances of the Burgundian court to the more lively dances of the
Italian Renaissance to name but a few.

No prior experience is required and audience participation is encouraged, so
please come to kick up your heels, revel in the festivities, or simply cheer
on the dancers.

More information about ‘Making Leeds Medieval’ is available on the IMC


Following the success of previous years, the IMC 2015 will once again be
held on the main campus of the University of Leeds, one of the UK’s largest
universities. The University campus is situated just 1km (2/3 mile) north
of the city centre and features modern lecture facilities, award-winning
accommodation, and pleasant outdoor spaces with impressive architectural

- Session Rooms : All sessions will be held in rooms located across the
northern part of the campus and are situated within easy walking distance of
each other. This is the oldest part of the University and is characterised
by late 19th-and early 20th-century architecture.

- Accommodation and Meals : A variety of accommodation to suit all budgets
and requirements can be booked when registering for the IMC 2015.
Accommodation is available both on and off campus ; however, with an
estimated increase in delegate numbers, we recommend booking early to ensure
your preferred option.

Breakfast is included in all accommodation booked through the IMC and a
range of meal options are available for lunch and dinner in the Refectory
and café bars around campus. Meal tickets can be booked online via IMC
registration or bought on-site from the Refectory Foyer.

- Bookfair : The beloved IMC bookfair will take place in the Parkinson Court,
on the ground floor of the Parkinson building, at the very centre of the
congress. All are invited to come and enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate its
launch on Monday 6 July from 18.00 to 19.00.

The Second-Hand and Antiquarian Bookfair will take place on both Sunday 5
and Monday 6 July in the Leeds University Union Foyer and Terrace Bar.

- Tea & Coffee : Complementary tea & coffee will be served all throughout the
Congress in the Marquee on University Square and at key break times in the
Parkinson Court, the Michael Sadler Building, and University House.

- Social Space : There is an abundance of networking areas and social space
available on campus, where delegates will be able to meet friends and
network with colleagues. Some of these venues include The Marquee, Old Bar,
and Parkinson Court, which we hope will be made the most of throughout the

As we move closer to July, please check the IMC website where any additions, changes,
or updates to this programme will be displayed.


Congress delegates will be able to access the Online Registration option via
the University of Leeds Online Store which provides a fast and secure method
of payment. The Online Store registration is for payment by credit/debit
card only. A non-online registration option will be available but will incur
a non-online fee of £25.00 to cover the additional costs of processing the

For more information go here


- IMC 2015 : Registration Deadline : 14 May 2015
- IMC 2015 : Special Thematic Strand, ‘Reform & Renewal’ : 6-9 July 2015
- IMC 2016 : Paper Proposals Deadline : 31 August 2015
- IMC 2016 : Session Proposals Deadline : 30 September 2015
- IMC 2016 : Special Thematic Strand, ‘Food, Feast & Famine’ : 4-7 July 2016


The twenty-third International Medieval Congress will take place in Leeds,
from 4-7 July 2016.
The IMC seeks to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of
all aspects of Medieval Studies. Paper and session proposals on any topic
related to the European Middle Ages are welcome. However, every year, the
IMC chooses a special thematic strand which - for 2016 - is ’Food, Feast &
Famine’. The theme has been chosen for the crucial importance of both
phenomena in social and intellectual discourse, both medieval and modern, as
well as their impact on many aspects of the human experience.

Food is both a necessity and a marker of economic and social privilege. Who
cooks food, who consumes it in the Middle Ages ? How and what did people from
different social levels or religious commitments eat ? How did eating change ?
How were these issues contested and represented ? What does food reveal about
differing aspects of medieval society and culture ?

The aim is to cover the entire spectrum of famine to feast through
multi-disciplinary approaches. Study of the medieval economy raises issues
about standards of living and nutritional health. Both archaeological as
well as textual evidence have been used to explore crop yields, agricultural
methods, transport problems, dearth, and famine. Geographical and social
variations in diet are important for understanding medieval taste and the
era’s definitions of sufficiency and luxury. Food is an expression of
international relations and trade, as shown in the intercultural influences
between Christian Europe and Islamic Spain, North Africa, the Eastern
Mediterranean, and India.

Across medieval Europe the acquisition, preservation, and storage of food
was a struggle for much of the population, but food consumption was also a
means for a clerical and noble elite to display taste and ostentation. In
popular culture, feasting is perceived as one of the major activities of the
medieval elite. The religious significance of food and fasting in the Middle
Ages was part of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish practice. Fasting and food
had wide-ranging interconnections with piety and charity, and could involve
renunciation of an exceptional intensity. Spiritual and physical nourishment
and its absence can be explored in many disciplines from the theological,
legal, and literary to the art historical and linguistic.

Areas of discussion could include :
Agricultural systems
Almsgiving – food as charity
Changing tastes
Cookbooks and cooking practice
Dearth and famine
Drink – wine, ale, and water
Environmental contexts
Food and social class
Food in monastic and other religious communities
Food production
Food supply and population
Food supply and transport
Fresh and saltwater fish
Medical ideas of food, digestion, and humoral pathology
Medieval haute cuisine
Religious and spiritual feasting and fasting
Spices and other edible luxury trade items
Standards of living
Symbolic/Figurative food
Trading food

The Online Proposal Form will be available from 31 May 2015.
The Special Thematic Strand ’Food, Feast & Famine’ will be co-ordinated by
Paul Freedman (Department of History, Yale University).


The number of proposals received by the IMC has been steadily increasing
year on year. In response to this growth we have amended our timetable as
well as increased the numbers of parallel sessions during the IMC. Yet this
level of growth is not sustainable indefinitely.

In order to control the size of the IMC, as well as to best preserve the
interdisciplinary scope and balance of the academic programme, we have
introduced a more rigorous procedure for the acceptance of paper and session
proposals. For IMC 2016, proposals will be assessed according to the
following criteria :

Originality of content
Clarity of content and expression
Provision of complete and accurate information on the proposal form
Contribution to overall coherence and diversity of the programme

Further criteria will apply to proposals for sessions :
Overall coherence and demonstration of a clear academic rationale
Overall number of sessions submitted by the organiser/sponsor
Diversity of session participants, e.g. in terms of institution and

We hope that publishing official criteria for acceptance will make the
process of programming more fair and transparent to everyone as well as
ensuring the overall quality of the academic programme.


Medieval Research and Teaching at Leeds - A Unique Environment
Leeds combines exceptional interdisciplinary teaching and research with
access to some of the best aspects of the British Isles in the medieval

The Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS) is the home of the International
Medieval Congress, as well as the International Medieval Bibliography, the
world’s foremost interdisciplinary bibliography of the Middle Ages.
Together, they provide opportunities for students to combine paid work
experience with academic practice. Formed in 1967, the IMS today is one of
the largest communities of medievalists in the UK, with over 50 members of
staff and associated specialists.

The University’s world-class library has the best medieval resources in the
north of England and, with the addition of the archive of the Yorkshire
Archaeological Society, houses important collections of medieval manuscripts
and rare books. Many of the medieval manuscripts of the Library can now be
viewed online

The libraries of the Royal Armouries and the British Library Lending
Division are close at hand. Cooperation with the Royal Armouries and Leeds
City Museum enriches teaching, research, and career development

MA in Medieval Studies : Full-time (12 months) and part-time (24 months)
The MA in Medieval Studies programme is made up of a core of language and
skills modules, which give the student an excellent grounding for
postgraduate study, plus a range of interdisciplinary, team-taught and
single-discipline option modules, and an extended piece of supervised
independent research.

Our teaching and supervision expertise spans 1300 years and enables the
student to study either a closely interrelated set of subjects or to spread
their interests across an outstanding range of disciplinary and
interdisciplinary fields. There are also specialised modules offering
language teaching for beginners in Old and Middle English, Old French, Old
Norse, and Middle High German. The MA Medieval Studies programme provides an
excellent basis for further work at doctoral level, either full-time or
part-time, including key skills for research on medieval topics. An MA in
Medieval History is also available at Leeds.

PhD Research in Medieval Studies
- Research Methods and Bibliography
- Medieval Latin
- A modern foreign language for reading scholarship on the research topic
It is the usual practice in the IMS for research students to have two
co-supervisors, from different relevant disciplines. They work with the
students to shape the project and give bibliographical and methodological
guidance, and will continue to read and advise throughout their research.
Each student presents an annual paper on his or her work in progress at a
research seminar in the IMS. Research students are also encouraged to give
papers at national and international conferences.

International Medieval Bibliography : Call for Contributors
The editorial team is looking for individuals or organisations to become
contributors to join its existing range of partners throughout the world.
Contributors take responsibility for identifying and cataloguing
publications relating to specific subjects or geographical areas, and are
rewarded with free subscriptions to IMB (online or print), other free
publications and additional benefits. Contributors are sought for national,
regional, and local history in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Portugal, Serbia, Israel,
Lithuania, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Korea, and the
Arab world. Thematic contributors (who may be based anywhere) are
particularly sought for art history, humanism, Italian literature, French
literature, German literature, Jewish Studies, linguistics, numismatics, and

IMB Reception at IMC 2015
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a contributor to
IMB, there will be a reception and information session at 17.00-18.00 on
Thursday 09 July in the Parkinson Building : Room B:08.