International Medieval Congress, Leeds 2010

The International Medieval Congress in Leeds is the largest annual UK conference that Ashgate attends, and the 2010 conference was bigger (and better!) than ever. For more information on the congress visit the IMC web pages.

This is a guest post from Axel E. W. Müller, Director of the IMC, about this year’s congress. It was originally circulated by email to IMC participants.

International Medieval Congress 2010

Academic Programme

Last month, from 12-15 July the seventeenth annual International Medieval Congress took place at the University of Leeds in the UK. 1673 medievalists attended, from no fewer than 43 different countries, making this the largest IMC to date.

The Congress continues to draw in international participants with more than half of participants coming from outside of the UK, 19% coming from outside Europe. This year attracted delegates from as far a field as New Zealand, Taiwan ROC, and South Africa. Some 400 sessions and roundtable discussions explored all aspects of the European Middle Ages, with papers on subjects as diverse as ”Hraþe seoþðan wæs æfter mundgripe’: Anglo-Saxon Punishment and Middle English Torture’, ”Them Friars dash about’: Mendicant terminatione in Medieval Scandinavia’, ‘Le strade della guarigione: vie di comunicazione, monasteri, ospedali e santuari (Italia centro-nord, XIII-XV secolo)’, ‘Oboedientia und arbitrium proprium im Leben des heiligen Gallus’, and ‘Instructiones pro iter agentibus: Los tratados médicos del ámbito universitario de la Escuela de Montpellier dedicados a los viajeros medievales.’

The Congress was host to a truly diverse audience, ranging from the seasoned professional to the postgraduate giving their first paper. This year not only saw some fields of familiar research explored anew but also highlighted some of the more recent and spectacular finds and discoveries.

We received plenty of feedback and are already looking at ways to improve the Congress for next year. Amongst many positive comments about the Congress, participants said that IMC 2010 ‘was great, even with all the rain!’ (admittedly it rained more in 2010 than in previous years) and that they were ‘Looking forward to IMC 2011!’

This year’s special thematic strand, Travel and Exploration, generated both interest and enthusiasm, with more than 175 sessions presented under the auspices of the strand, including keynote addresses by Patrick Gautier Dalché (Section des Sciences Historiques et Philologiques, Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, Paris ), Dionisius A. Agius (Institute for Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter), Michael McCormick (Department of History, Harvard University), and Felipe Fernández-Armesto (Department of History, University of Notre Dame).

The Travel and Exploration strand was co-ordinated by Felicitas Schmeider and we would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all the hard work and input over the past year.

Events and Excursions

As in previous years, IMC 2010 offered a varied programme of events and excursions, as well as practical workshops as an accompaniment to the academic programme.

Sunday, 11 July, opened with an excursion to Middleham and Richmond Castles, as well as a trip to York, with the opportunity to watch the Corpus Christi Mystery Plays performed on wagons around the city. Sunday events included the opening of our annual two-day Antiquarian and Second-hand Book Fair, a workshop for singers and musicians examining the performance of medieval music in the 21st century directed by Belinda Sykes jointly sponsored by the IMC and the North East Early Music Forum), and a hands-on opportunity to try tablet weaving, as well as riveting tales of the Otherworld performed by storyteller Heather Sharpe.

Other event highlights included workshops on sugar crafting and medieval spices, medieval cooking, and the art of calligraphy, as well as a concert of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian songs of the Crusades by Joglaresa, and a performance of Christian music from Medieval Toledo by Emma Hornby and Schola Cantorum.

The IMC concert series concluded with a performance of music exploring the imagery of the Rose and Nightingale in Medieval Spain and beyond by Alva. All concerts took place within the beautiful Norman Church of St John the Baptist in Adel. Returning for the third time this year were the Craft Fair and Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair, both of which continue to generate positive interest and showcase the diversity of creative and historical activities associated with the Middle Ages.

Other excursions included trips to Mount Grace Priory, a close-up look of the restoration of the York Minster stained glass, Byland Abbey, Helmsley Castle, Durham Cathedral, as well as a walking tour of Leeds exploring the ever changing architectural landscape of the city.

Looking Ahead

Santander Universities Congress Scholarship Scheme

Once again, Santander Universities is contributing to the International Medieval Congress (IMC) at the University of Leeds, UK in 2011 by providing up to £10,000 worth of bursaries. These bursaries are designed to enable participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain, and Portugal to attend the Congress in 2011.

This scheme operates in addition to the existing, on-going IMC Bursary scheme. The on-going IMC Bursary scheme is still in operation and is open to delegates from all geographical areas, especially students, independent scholars, pensioners, and delegates from Central and Eastern Europe. Bursaries will range in value from £50 to £400 and may cover all or parts of the Registration and Programming Fee, accommodation, and meals.

Applicants are requested to apply via the IMC Bursary application form for both bursary options. If you are applying for the Santander Universities Congress Scholarship Scheme, please state this at the start of the supporting statement.

The IMC bursary application form closes on 16 October 2010, so all applications should be submitted by midnight (GMT) on 15 October 2010.

The Bursary Committee will reach a decision during November and all applicants will be notified of the results by the end of November.

Further information can be found on our website

IMC 2011: 11-14 July 2011

Paper proposals must be submitted by 31 August 2010, session and roundtable proposals by 30 September 2010.

Plans for next year’s Congress are well underway. As in previous years, papers and sessions on all aspects of the study of the European Middle Ages are most welcome, in any major European language.

One of the focuses for 2011 will be the special thematic strand ‘Poor … Rich’. As the global economy attempts to recover from the recent staggering economic downturn, it seems only natural to turn our scholarly gaze to issues of wealth and poverty in the Middle Ages. The full call for papers is available on our website.

The IMC Core Strands are:

  • Anglo-Saxon Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Art and Architecture
  • Byzantine Studies
  • Celtic Studies
  • Central and Eastern European Studies
  • Church History and Canon Law
  • Crusades and Latin East
  • Culture and Society
  • Daily Life
  • Drama
  • Gender Studies/Women’s Studies
  • Geography and Settlement Studies
  • Government and Institutions
  • Hagiography and Religious Writing
  • Historiography (Medieval and Modern)
  • Jewish Studies
  • Language and Literature – Comparative
  • Language and Literature – Germanic
  • Language and Literature – Middle English
  • Language and Literature – Romance Vernacular
  • Late Antique and Early Medieval Studies
  • Latin Writing
  • Literacy and Communication
  • Material Culture
  • Medievalism and Reception of the Middle Ages
  • Mediterranean and Islamic Studies
  • Monasticism and Religious Life
  • Music and Liturgy
  • Philosophy and Political Thought
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Science, Technology and Military History
  • Social and Economic History
  • Sources and Resources
  • Theology and Bible Studies

We prefer proposals to be completed online – a quick, easy, and secure method. Links to the online proposal forms are available at the top of the IMC 2011 Call for Papers website.

Future IMC Dates

  • IMC 2011 Paper Proposals Deadline: 31 August 2010
  • IMC 2011 Session Proposals Deadline: 30 September 2010
  • IMC 2011: Special Thematic Strand: ‘Poor…Rich’, 11-14 July 2011
  • IMC 2012: 9-12 July 2012
  • IMC 2013: 8-11 July 2013
  • IMC 2014: 7-10 July 2014


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