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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 events.

You can read more in this newsletter on the IMC 2016 earlier this year, as well as on the call for papers for IMC 2017. A fully formatted version of this newsletter is available to download 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

August 2016 Newsletter

More than 2,200 delegates descended on the University of Leeds for the 23rd annual International Medieval Congress from 4-7 July 2016. With delegates from over 49 countries from Sweden to South Korea, we are proud that the IMC continues to be a truly international affair that allows postgrads and professors alike to debate, discuss, and explore diverse issues in the European Middle Ages.

We experienced new challenges this year, as ongoing building work in Leeds University Union meant that space for the popular Second-Hand and Antiquarian Bookfair and Medieval Craft Fair was more limited than usual. Familiar spaces such as the Old Bar could not be open during the Congress.

However, the popular marquee on University Square and Terrace Bar were still open, and the addition of the Hidden Café meant that there were still plenty of opportunities for delegates to network and get to know each other in informal surroundings.

New developments included an open mic night on Sunday 3 July, meaning delegates could get involved in even more social events from the moment they arrived in Leeds. The traditional music session, previously held on Sunday, moved to Wednesday to provide an alternative to the IMC Dance. Public events also kicked off early, as visitors took part in a wide range of craft activities inspired by the Middle Ages at our Medieval Day at the Museum on Sunday.

STS ‘Food, Feast and Famine’
This year’s programme included over 550 sessions and round tables on topics as varied as slavery in the medieval Islamic world, swimming in Anglo-Saxon England, and representations of mothers and breastfeeding in the High Middle Ages.

Among these sessions, over 180 were devoted to our special thematic strand for 2016, ‘Food, Feast and Famine’. Co-ordinated by Paul Freedman (Department of History, Yale University), the strand was brought together through our four keynote lectures.

Christopher Woolgar (Department of History, University of Southampton) opened the IMC on Monday with his keynote lecture ‘The colour shall be green’ : Food and Chromaticism in the Later Middle Ages’, followed by Pere Benito i Monclús (Departament d’Història, Universitat de Lleida) and ‘The Shifting Paradigm of Medieval Food Crises : Researching Dearth and Famine’.

Massimo Montanari’s (Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civitá, Universitá di Bologna) keynote lecture was entitled ‘The Taste of Food’ and Melitta Weiss Adamson (Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, University of Western Ontario) gave a keynote lecture entitled ‘Cookbooks, Health Books, Drug Manuals : Culinary Recipes in Search of a Genre’.

As in previous years, further keynotes built on our academic programme. The Annual Early Medieval Europe lecture, delivered by Paul E. Dutton (Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia), was ‘Who are you ? - Identifying Individuals in the Early Middle Ages’. Elaine Treharne (Department of English, Stanford University) also came to Leeds to give the Annual Medieval Academy of America lecture, ‘Manuscript Edges, Marginal Time : Why Medieval Matters’.

We at the IMC would like to say huge thanks to Paul Freedman for his work throughout the year on ‘Food, Feast and Famine’, which attracted a variety of papers and sessions on topics from representations of fasting in medieval art to anthropological aspects of cannibalism in the Middle Ages. We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the IMC and found sessions productive and engaging.

Professional development workshops
The Friday after the Congress has taken on an increasingly important role in recent years, as delegates have been able to benefit from specialist professional development workshops to help them build their knowledge and skills.

Two workshops were available. One was sponsored by The National Archives, Kew, who provided a useful introduction to conducting research in their vast collections. The other was run by Medievalists.net, one of the major digital resources in medieval studies, offering insight and practical advice for medievalists on how to use digital and online media to increase audiences and even generate income from their research.

Both sessions were well-attended, and we hope that everyone who participated found them useful and thought-provoking.
Public events at the IMC
Making Leeds Medieval, which takes place annually on the Thursday of the IMC, is always a big hit among delegates. As well as a wide range of arts and crafts and food stalls, visitors to campus were treated to combat displays, wandering musicians, and the return of the ever-popular birds of prey courtesy of SMJ Falconry. The school-based King Edward’s Living History Group also returned by popular demand with hands-on activities and demonstrations. This year the IMC decided to extend these interactive public events throughout the week.

Food demonstrations
In keeping with ‘Food, Feast & Famine’, food demonstrators prepared and presented medieval foods in University Square. On Monday, The Copper Pot demonstrated the use of spices in the Middle Ages, providing samples of mulled wine, gingerbread, sauces, and an array of spices to taste. Tuesday and Wednesday we were joined by 4and20 Blackbirds, who demonstrated churning butter and baking bread in a clay oven on one day and made a variety of sweets and treats on the other.

The final demonstration was by Caroline Yeldham, with the assistance of her husband Kevin, who made a series of pottages and other dishes. Throughout the week the stall was regularly surrounded by interested delegates who very much enjoyed the demonstrations and tastings.

Later-Day Saints
An art exhibition, ‘Later-Day Saints’, was also displayed in the stage@leeds foyer. Alan Birch, an artist from nearby Lancashire, has adapted the iconography of the saints for a modern audience, creating depictions such as ‘Saint Selfie’ or ‘Saint Tweetus’. Alan’s paintings and prints were available to view all week, and he also attended the craft fair for those delegates who wanted to purchase a smaller print or a Saint Selfie pilgrim badge. Alan himself noted that delegates seemed to really enjoy the humour in his work.

Public lectures
The newly-opened Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery sponsored three lunchtime lectures which featured collections from the Yorkshire Archaeological Society archive and Brotherton Library Special Collections. Attendees were given the opportunity not only to hear about the texts, but to see and (carefully) handle the books.

Sylvia Thomas from the Yorkshire Archaeological Society began the series, speaking about the organisation’s extensive archive collections, especially the 15th-century stock-book from Fountains Abbey and a set of surviving court rolls from the manor of Wakefield, dating back to 1274.

Leeds University Library’s own Rhiannon M. Lawrence-Francis also gave a talk entitled ‘Exploring Medieval Texts in the Modern Age’, which introduced some of the valuable holdings of Special Collections and the exciting digital resources being developed to explore them in greater depth.

On Wednesday, the special lectures concluded with Eileen White (Leeds Symposium and Food History and Traditions) discussing the foods eaten by shepherds in the medieval biblical plays from Chester and Wakefield (Towneley).

On Wednesday evening we were joined by University of Toronto theatre troupe, Poculi Ludique Societas, who performed the 15th-century morality play Mankind. Almost 100 visitors came to Beech Grove Plaza to watch the play from beginning to end, while even more drifted in and out to get a taste of the raucous comedy (with a helping of moral instruction).

Workshops and concerts
The IMC also sponsored many other ticketed public events and workshops including a pottery workshop, which showed attendees how to make an Anglo-Saxon funerary urn, the opportunity to participate in 14th-century chanting, a tasting of local artisan cheeses, a foraging tour around the campus and a spinning workshop – all of which were thoroughly enjoyed.

Particular highlights included a special performance from the Bayreuth Medieval Drama Group, who performed Hartmann von Aue’s Middle High German romance Iwein against a stunning backdrop of medieval frescoes based on the text. Vocal duo Vox Silentii also gave a rare UK performance of chants for the feast days of St Thomas Aquinas, taken from 14th-century manuscripts, building on their research into the music of medieval convents.

‘Switch a feeste and revel make’ : A Medieval Feast
In line with this year’s theme, IMC 2016 offered delegates the chance to take part in a modern interpretation of the medieval feast. Taking inspiration from 14th-century recipes, Great Food at Leeds Executive Chef Mark Mottershead devised an exciting three-course menu which delighted guests. They dined on pottage, roasted meats, and strawberry compote served with gingerbread among other dishes.

The meal was accompanied by music and dance from costumed medieval ensemble Daughters of Elvin, with instruments including recorders, bagpipes, the hurdy gurdy and the gothic harp.

IMC Fairs
Publishers from companies around the world came to show their wares at the IMC Bookfair, which took over Parkinson Court. Delegates were able to benefit from special conference discounts on the latest titles in medieval studies, and the Bookfair also provided an informal space for authors and publishers to network.

Elsewhere around campus, the Second-Hand and Antiquarian Bookfair attracted delegates after being extended to three days for 2016. It was replaced in Leeds University Union foyer by the Medieval Craft Fair on Wednesday and Thursday, where stallholders offered a rich variety of wares including handmade jewellery, leatherwork, pottery, and early musical instruments.

All fairs offered plenty of opportunities for delegates to pick up souvenirs and mementos for friends and loved ones before heading home.

During Making Leeds Medieval on the Thursday, we also held the ever-popular Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair, allowing local and national groups to showcase their ongoing work.

IMC Dance
After the success of their performance at the 2015 dance, local band Tom Rocks and the Replicants were welcomed back to Leeds University Union’s Stylus nightclub on Wednesday 6 July for this year’s event. Playing party favourites by James Brown, Queen, Kings of Leon and more, they were met with a huge ovation by hundreds of revellers.

As always, the IMC offered a variety of excursions so that delegates could experience the rich history and scenery of Yorkshire and Northern England. Trips to local sites such as Kirkstall Abbey, the great halls of York and Pontefract Castle continued to be popular, while delegates also enjoyed locations further afield such as Durham.

Pre-Congress tour
The biggest excursion of the year moved ahead of the IMC this year as the post-Congress tour became the pre-Congress tour. Delegates visited some of the best-known and most interesting castles of East Anglia from 30 June - 3 July, focusing on the English counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk - from Norwich Castle, built by William I soon after the Norman Conquest, to the Roman coastal fort at Burgh Castle.

Led by Kelly DeVries, Honorary Historical Consultant to the Royal Armouries and Robert C. Woosnam-Savage, Curator of European Edged Weapons, Royal Armouries, Leeds, delegates felt that their visits to the castles were enjoyable and engaging. Bob’s notes, which he compiled himself and handed out at the start of the tour, were a real highlight for delegates who wanted to explore the region’s rich history. In fact, some said they didn’t really need the guidebooks provided !

Social media
The IMC’s social media presence during the week of the Congress continues to develop. This year the #IMC2016 hashtag was once again popular on Twitter with many academics live-tweeting papers and sessions, which will surely be appreciated by medievalists who could not attend in person. Using a separate hashtag for each session, e.g. #s9999, has made it easier to follow tweets throughout each session and engage with discussion.

In response to previous feedback and to encourage live-tweeting, this year our letters to moderators asked them to contact everyone who was giving a paper in their session to ask them if they were happy for their paper to be live-tweeted and to make this clear to delegates at the start of the session. We plan to continue to do so for IMC 2017.

Remember to search for #IMC2017 for updates on next year’s Congress and the latest news.
We are always grateful to those of you who take the time to provide feedback, either through the paper questionnaire in your registration packs or online after the Congress. Although we are still going through many of your individual comments, we are pleased to say that overall feedback has been very positive.

Given this year’s thematic strand we are particularly happy that feedback on meal provision has improved, with positive scores on aspects such as the quality, variety, and availability of food.

Over 75% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that food served at the IMC was of a good quality. The proportion of delegates who agreed or strongly agreed they would eat in IMC dining spaces again shot up by nearly ten percentage points. A particularly welcome innovation for this year was the street food, serving warm meals such as paella and curry close to Leeds University Union and the Marquee.

In general delegates coped well with the building work in Leeds University Union. Networking and social spaces for delegates and exhibitors remain a priority for the IMC, and we are pleased that other spaces such as the Marquee on University Square, Hidden Café, and Terrace Bar were largely well received. Construction work on Leeds University Union is expected to finish later this year ; we look forward to welcoming you onto a campus with improved Union facilities next year.

The new Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery in Parkinson Court was also a hit, showcasing some of the fascinating items housed in the University’s Special Collections.

The heart of the IMC remains its academic content. More than eight out of ten respondents said that this aspect of the Congress represented good or excellent value for money. Significantly, the frequency of session clashes has also improved : for the first time since we introduced the online survey, more than half of respondents said they had not experienced a clash between sessions in which they were interested.

Code of conduct
As an annual event, the IMC is always a work in progress. In recent years more and more conferences have developed codes of conduct that set out the behaviour expected of all delegates, exhibitors and staff so that everyone has a safe, accessible, and enjoyable experience. To this end, we will be working to develop a code of conduct ahead of IMC 2017. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the IMC team.

Currently, all visitors to the University of Leeds campus are expected to adhere to its policy on dignity and mutual respect - please see for more information.

Call for Papers - IMC 2017
Special thematic strand : ‘Otherness’
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’, and 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, musics, liturgical practices, or forms of worship
• 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).
The IMC online proposal form is now available.
Proposals should be submitted online
Paper proposals must be submitted by 31 August 2016.
Session proposals must be submitted by 30 September 2016.
The IMC welcomes session and paper proposals submitted in all major European languages.

About the Institute for Medieval Studies
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 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
The IMS supervises doctoral research on interdisciplinary medieval topics, across a wide range of subjects. Research degrees in the IMS are structured so that, as well as embarking on their doctoral project, in the first year of study students take the following taught modules in foundational skills for research :

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 music.