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International Medieval Congress, Leeds

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 events.

You can read more on the upcoming IMC 2016 in this newsletter, as well as on the call for papers for IMC 2017. A fully formatted version of this newsletter is available to download and print from there
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 23rd 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 1800 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, book fairs, craft and historical society fairs, and the annual Congress dance.

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 2016 !s


The main focus of this year’s Congress is ‘Food, Feast & Famine’. An astonishing amount of session and paper proposals meant that we were able to accept over 180 sessions with relation to the Special Thematic Strand, and a further 405 sessions covering the full spectrum of medieval studies. Many thanks to Paul Freedman (Department of History, Yale University) who expertly co-ordinated the academic programme for the special thematic strand and made it into a coherent and fascinating quilt of ideas. In 2016, we will have four keynote lectures relating to our special focus. Starting on Monday morning, Christopher Woolgar (Department of History, University of Southampton) will commence Congress proceedings with ‘‘The colour shall be green’ : Food and Chromaticism in the Later Middle Ages’, directly followed by Pere Benito i Monclús (Departament d’Història, Universitat de Lleida) on ‘The Shifting Paradigm of Medieval Food Crises : Researching Dearth and Famine’. On Monday lunchtime, Massimo Montanari (Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna) will speak on ‘The Taste of Food’, while on Tuesday lunchtime Melitta Weiss Adamson (Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, University of Western Ontario) will focus on ‘Cookbooks, Health Books, Drug Manuals : Culinary Recipes in Search of a Genre’. In addition to these keynote lectures there will be a range of associated events linked to the special focus, from daily changing food stalls in University Square (‘A Feast for all Senses’), numerous additional street food options, a talk related to the University library’s collections, and a cheese tasting, through to a fully-fledged medieval feast, brought to us by the University’s Great Food at Leeds team.

Furthermore, we are delighted to see the return of other regular IMC features. The Early Medieval Europe lecture on Monday evening this year will be given by Paul E. Dutton (Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia) on ‘Who are You ? : Identifying Individuals in the Early Middle Ages’.

The Annual Medieval Academy of America lecture this year will be delivered by Elaine Treharne (Department of English, Stanford University) on Tuesday evening entitled ‘Manuscript Edges, Marginal Time : Why Medieval Matters’.


The ‘Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery’, based in the Parkinson Building, is the new face of the world-renowned Special Collections held at the University of Leeds. The permanent display contains many highlights including Shakespeare’s First Folio, original material written by the Brontës, stunning illuminated medieval manuscripts, and rare books from across the globe. The ‘Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery’ will be host to a number of lunchtime talks, bringing to life some aspects of the University of Leeds’s diverse holdings. On Monday, Sylvia Thomas (Yorkshire Archaeological Society) will speak about ‘Riches Revealed : Medieval Archives in the Collections of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’. On Tuesday, Rhiannon M. Lawrence-Francis (Special Collections, Leeds University Library) will present ‘Exploring Medieval Texts in the Modern Age’, looking at online learning resources being developed by Special Collections. On Wednesday Eileen White (Leeds Symposium on Food History & Traditions) will speak about ‘While Shepherds Ate’, which will look at the food described in the Chester and Towneley Shepherd pageants.


There will be two Professional Development Workshops on Friday, 08 July :‘Digital Media and Medieval Studies : How to Create a Professional and Financially Sustainable Future for Your Research Online’, co-ordinated by Sandra Alvarez and Peter Konieczny (both Medievalists.net), and ‘Government, Law, Land, and Ceremony : Medieval Records at The National Archives’, co-ordinated by Paul R. Dryburgh (The National Archives, Kew).


This year’s programme of events offers a wide range of choice, including a concert of liturgical chants from the feast days of St Thomas Aquinas and a multimedia performance of the opening scenes of Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein. Delegates will also have the chance to participate in practical workshops, learning to chant, spin, and even create their own Anglo-Saxon funerary urn.
This year’s special thematic strand, ‘Food, Feast & Famine’ will also be represented : our events programme will include historic food displays Monday through Thursday, a cheese tasting, and a feast recreating recipes from The Forme of Cury, bringing food from the luxurious court of Richard II to life, albeit with a modern twist. In addition to offering food and drink, the feast will feature music and dancing, as well as Great Food at Leeds’s take on the ‘subtlety’, a dish designed to be a visual spectacle to surprise and delight those taking part.

Participants will also have the chance to create their own entertainment, with the return of the traditional music session – now moved to the Wednesday evening (6 July) – and our first-ever open mic night on the evening of Sunday 3 July. Other events include a medieval day at Leeds City Museum and a performance by the acclaimed theatre company Poculi Ludique Societas, affiliated with the University of Toronto. The company will present a site-specific professional production of the raucous 15th-century morality play Mankind. A cast of six women will playfully reframe the anti-feminist themes in the text, accompanying their antics with authentic medieval music and Second City – trained improvisation.

Our programme of excursions features visits to Durham Cathedral and several of York’s finest examples of medieval civic and domestic architecture – the guildhalls of the Merchant Taylors and Merchant Adventurers, as well as Barley Hall, a town house formerly owned by Nostell Priory. Other excursion destinations include the castles at Skipton and Pontefract, Fountains and Kirkstall Abbey, as well as Markenfield Hall, a fortified manor house set within its own moat. Relating to the special thematic strand for IMC 2016, many of these excursions will have a focus on food and hospitality. Our excursions programme this year will also feature an innovative campus tour focussing on learning to forage for food. For more information about IMC events and excursions, please visit :

The Leeds University Union Medieval Society will again bring a programme of events and activities to enliven the congress programme. The second International Medieval Film Festival will offer screenings of Macbeth, Muhammed : The Messengerof God, Marketa Lazarová, and Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen. All screenings are free of charge to all IMC delegates. As part of the film festival, Medieval Society is also sponsoring a round table about ‘Consultation and “Public Medievalism”’. The now infamous medieval-themed pub quiz will also return, featuring quiz topics such as Name the Century, Latin Translation, and Match the Illuminations.
For more information about Leeds University Union Medieval Society please visit here

6. PRE-CONGRESS TOUR 30 June – 3 July

Flint, Carrstone, Clunch, and Brick : Medieval Castles of East Anglia This year the IMC Post-Congress tour will be a ‘Pre-Congress’ Tour, venturing east to East Anglia, concentrating on the coastal counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Although not large in number, the fortifications seen here reflect its long history as a border between sea and land, with castles a conspicuous feature of the predominantly flat landscape. Although comparatively heavily populated and close to the medieval capital of London and the south, these counties were to a degree ‘off the beaten track’ and, even today, are notorious for their lack of major transport links ; in the medieval period, it was the ports and the sea which often provided the easiest links to cities like London.

The sites to be visited range from Roman shore forts of the 3rd century to the splendid fortified residences of the later Middle Ages. The majority of East Anglian castles have their roots in the campaigns in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest as the Normans extended their control of the British Isles. Some lie on the routes and roads taken by warring bands fighting to gain control over this land or passing through on the way to further conquest. Other castles lie on the coast facing enemies that might use the North Sea for invasion. The castles of East Anglia saw a number of military actions, ranging from local sieges, such as Bungay in 1174 to the besieging of Norwich castle by Louis, Dauphin of France, in 1217.

Many of the castles in this part of England are noted for their formidable earthworks and their surviving stonework, often of the ubiquitous local flint. Following their Norman establishment no more than about 30 earth and timber castles were later rebuilt in stone. Often knapped flint and free stone were used together to produce various patterns – ‘flushwork’ – and this became the signature stonework for many of the medieval buildings in the area. Most of the stone built castles are built around a central tower, such as Norwich, Castle Rising, Castle Acre, Bungay, and Orford, but a
castle like Framlingham points to different developments. The use of brick, allegedly introduced by Flemish workers (although just as likely the result of a lack of stone and timber, for framing), will also be found. Some castles, such as Tattershall, included Flemish ‘brickies’ amongst its builders between 1432-38, who created what has been described as ‘the finest piece of medieval brick-work in England’.

Some of the castles are noble or royal, such as Norwich and Orford. Some nobles appear to have copied royal styles, such as William d’Albini, whose castle at Castle Rising bears a very similar plan to the royal castle at Norwich. In the process they also built to strengthen their own baronial powers and in fact Orford was built by Henry II in response to Hugh Bigod who rebelled against Henry in 1156, but was crushed by royalist forces.
After paying Henry a huge fine the Bigods strongholds, such as Bungay, Thetford, and Framlingham, were restored to Hugh, only for him to rebel again in 1173-4. Unsurprisingly Hugh never regained the king’s favour !

These castles include a range of different medieval military engineering and architectural styles set in a variety of land and coastal seascapes. And, as ever, the tour provides an opportunity for you to explore and compare some of these evocative castles in one trip. The tour will be based in Norwich itself, allowing participants the chance to discover the riverside walks, pubs, old cobbled lanes and streets of the city, and, of course, Norwich Cathedral, one of the finest cathedrals in England.


Our now regular Thursday ‘Making Leeds Medieval’ activities will of course return when we will bring a number of medieval-inspired activities to the main campus, with displays of crafts and local produce as well as live entertainment including music, combat displays, re-enactment demonstrations.
Once again, the falcons and hawks will also return to the University Square. Birds of prey featured in previous years have included falcons, kestrels, merlins, and owls.

Spurred by last year’s successes, the European Historical Combat Guild will return to the University Square arena, adding to the excitement in their display of skills at arms. Employing replica weapons and armours in a programme inspired by conflicts of the past, the Guild will give observers the opportunity to view an array of replica weaponry and enthralling live combat displays.

Returning by popular demand in 2016 is the King Edward’s Living History Group, a school-based re-enactment society presenting aspects of military life in the years around 1392, will add to the schedule of events, offering hands-on activities, demonstrations, and displays.

Live music will continue to be a feature of ‘Making Leeds Medieval’, as the Leeds Waits return to contribute to the festive feel of the event with their display of musical versatility.

To bring IMC 2016 to a festive close, the Assumption Ceilidh Band will be performing in the Refectory. The Assumption Ceilidh Band play a mixture of traditional instrumental Irish music, folk songs, old time waltzes, and Irish set dances such as the ‘Bridge of Athlon’ and the ‘Walls of Limerick’.
No prior experience is required as all dances will be taught beforehand, so please come to kick up your heels !

For more details about these events see


Following the success of previous years, the IMC 2016 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 surroundings.

- 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 2016. Accommodation is available both on and off campus ; however, with the large number of delegates attending, 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 popular IMC bookfair will take place in the Parkinson Court, on the ground floor of the Parkinson building, at the very centre of the congress. The IMC 2016 Bookfair will be launched with a wine reception in the Parkinson Court on Monday 04 July from 18.00 to 19.00.

- The Second-Hand and Antiquarian Bookfair will take place in the Leeds University Union Foyer and Terrace Bar on Sunday 03 July, 16.00-21.00, Monday 04 July, 08.00-19.00, and Tuesday 05 July, 08.00-17.00.

- 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 in a number of venues, some of which are open exclusively to them, including the Marquee.


We have a few two-paper sessions which still require a third paper. Please see our website for the list of sessions and instructions how to propose a paper for the sessions.


To register for the Congress, please go to there and follow the instructions for online registration. If you are unable to register online, please contact the IMC administration. We look forward to welcoming you to Leeds in July !


The IMC recognises the importance of social media and encourages live tweeting at Congress events and activities (#IMC2016) so long as this is done in respectful and considerate manner. We request, however, that you respect the rights of others and only tweet during papers and presentations if the speaker has given permission prior to that paper or presentation. We would also like to remind all participants at the IMC (whether physically or virtually present) that they are expected to adhere to the ‘Policy on dignity and mutual respect’ at the University of Leeds, which requires that
everyone ‘contribute proactively to the creation of a culture of mutual respect and an environment in which everyone is treated with dignity’. For further information, please visit


The IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Paper and session proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages are welcome. However, every year, the IMC chooses a special thematic strand which – for 2017 – is OTHERNESS. This focus has been chosen for its wide application across all centuries and regions and its impact on all disciplines devoted to this epoch.

‘Others’ can be found everywhere : outside one’s own community (from foreigners to non-human monsters) and inside it (for example, religious and social minorities, or individual newcomers in towns, villages, or at court).
One could encounter the ‘Others’ while travelling, in writing, reading and thinking about them, by assessing and judging them, by ‘feelings’ ranging from curiosity to contempt, and behaviour towards them which, in turn, can lead to integration or exclusion, friendship or hostility, and support or persecution.

The demarcation of the ‘Self’ from ‘Others’ applies to all areas of life, to concepts of thinking and mentalité as well as to social ‘reality’, social intercourse, and transmission of knowledge and opinions. Forms and concepts of the ‘Other’, as well as attitudes towards ‘Others’, imply and reveal concepts of ‘Self’, self-awareness, and identity, whether expressed explicitly or implicitly. There is no ‘Other’ without ‘Self’. A classification as ‘Others’ results from a comparison with oneself and one’s own identity groups. Thus, attitudes towards ‘Others’ oscillate between admiring and detesting, and invite questioning into when the ‘Other’ becomes the ‘Strange’.

The aim of the IMC is to cover the entire spectrum of ‘Otherness’ through multi-disciplinary approaches, on a geographical, ethnic, political, social, legal, intellectual and even personal level, to analyse sources from all genres, areas, and regions.

Possible entities to research for OTHERNESS could include (but are not
limited to) :
• Peoples, kingdoms, languages, towns, villages, migrants, refugees,
bishoprics, trades, guilds, or seigneurial systems

• Faiths and religions, religious groups (including deviation from the
‘true’ faith) and religious orders
• Different social classes, minorities, or marginal groups
• The spectrum from ‘Strange’ to ‘Familiar’.
• Individuals or ‘strangers’ of any kind, newcomers as well as people
exhibiting strange behaviour
• Otherness related to art, music, liturgical practices, or forms of
• Any further specific determinations of ‘alterity’

Methodologies and Approaches to OTHERNESS (not necessarily distinct, but
overlapping) could include :
• Definitions, concepts, and constructions of ‘Otherness’
• Indicators of, criteria, and reasons for demarcation
• Relation(s) between ‘Otherness’ and concepts of ‘Self’
• Communication, encounters, and social intercourse with ‘Others’ (in
embassies, travels, writings, quarrels, conflicts, and persecution)

• Knowledge, perception, and assessment of the ‘Others’
• Attitudes and behaviour towards ‘Others’
• Deviation from any ‘norms’ of life and thought (from the superficial
to the fundamental)
• Gender and transgender perspectives
• Co-existence and segregation
• Methodological problems when inquiring into ‘Otherness’
• The Middle Ages as the ‘Other’ compared with contemporary times
(‘Othering’ the Middle Ages).

Proposals should be submitted online. The online proposal form will be available from 31 May 2016. Paper proposals must be submitted by 31 August 2016 ; session proposals must be submitted by 30 September 2016.


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. Starting with IMC 2016, proposals will now 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 (no
more than four, not including roundtables)
• 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.


The IMC Bursary Fund was established in 1994 as part of our commitment to widening participation at the IMC. The IMC Bursary deadline is mid-October every year and applications are made online via the IMC website. The Bursary Fund is available to delegates from Central and Eastern Europe, students, independent scholars, retired, and unwaged scholars. The bursaries awarded range in value and may cover all or part of the Registration and Programming Fee, accommodation, and meals.

The Institute for Medieval Studies received a substantial bequest from a fellow medievalist which enabled us to establish the Leeds Medieval Studies Endowment Fund in 2008. This fund contributes to the IMC Bursary Fund and in addition it provides scholarships for MA and PhD students in the Institute for Medieval Studies, internship opportunities, and support for other activities in the Medieval Studies community.

If you would like to support either the IMC Bursary Fund or the Leeds Medieval Studies Endowment Fund, please use the relevant section when making your booking for the Congress. Even small contributions make a great impact providing multiple benefits that can be larger than the original size of the donation.

We would like to thank the Templar Heritage Trust (THT) for offering three bursaries of £200 each to IMC delegates. THT operates as part of the Charities Aid Foundation and makes a number of grants each year in support of academic research and conservation of historic buildings. The THT takes a particular interest in the literary, architectural, and cultural legacy of the medieval Knights Templars and their period in history.


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 period.

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 opportunities.

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

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.

IMB – 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 the IMB (online or print), as well as other free publications and 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 music.

IMC 2016 Reception and Meeting

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a contributor to the IMB, there will be a reception and information session at 17.00-18.00 on Thursday 07 July in the Parkinson Building : Room B.08. Alternatively, contact the Editorial Director, Alan V. Murray