With 2,907 registered delegates, this year's IMC, with the special thematic strand of 'Memory', was a resounding success and stimulated important discussion among medievalists from around the world.
This year's International Medieval Congress (IMC) was held from 2-5 July and marked significant milestones: the 25th Congress since its beginning in 1994, the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS), and the 50th anniversary of the International Medieval Bibliography (IMB). Recognizing these milestones allowed for a consideration of what has been achieved, as well as a discussion of the challenges that lie ahead.
The IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies, and papers and session proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages were welcome.
Special Thematic Strand: 'Memory'
Every year the IMC chooses a special thematic focus; this year's choice was 'Memory'. The strand encouraged a consideration of memory from varied fields and perspectives, and recognized not only that there are many kinds of memory, but also that memory operates in diverse modes. The strand offered a unique opportunity for a fresh and vigorous treatment of the field.
By the Numbers
- This year's IMC was the largest Congress to date, and was also the biggest medieval studies conference in the world this year, with a record-breaking total of 2,907 registered delegates
- 760 sessions
- 2,100 papers
- 5 keynote lectures, in addition to special lectures
- 389 sessions listed under the special thematic strand of 'Memory'
These sessions represented the IMC's largest programme to date; the programme can be viewed here.
In addition to academic sessions, the IMC held receptions hosted by publishers and medieval societies, multiple book fairs, a Pre- and Post-Congress tour, regular excursions to nearby medieval sites during the conference, special events such as musical performances, and a medieval craft fair, among other events.
On the final day of the conference (5 July), IMC 2018 again hosted Making Leeds Medieval, a free event open to the public and delegates in and around University Square that included a birds of prey display, live music, combat displays, medieval re-enactors, hand-crafted medieval-inspired items for purchase, and more.
As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the IMB, the IMB and Brepols Publishers invited all delegates to enter the online IMB quiz, with a chance of winning various prizes. Delegates who completed all the questions correctly were eligible for the prize draw, which was held on Wednesday, 4 July at 13:00 at the Brepols stand in Parkinson Court. The top prize - a trip to Bruges, Belgium - was awarded to IMC delegate Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen. Multiple runner-ups won book vouchers of varied amounts.
Results from the Congress
So many medievalists from around the world participated in the Congress and shared their research through papers, as well as their personal and professional experiences within Medieval Studies through round-tables and workshops. Networking at the IMC allowed medievalists to meet and discuss with other prominent scholars within their fields, as well as to interact with publishers. Such an environment prompts exchanges of ideas, promotes opportunities for scholars from various backgrounds and at different points in their academic careers to thrive, and encourages interdisciplinary collaborations.
IMC 2018 is now seeking volume proposals for the International Medieval Research series. The IMS produces the series in partnership with Brepols Publishers, and seeks to showcase research shared and developed at the IMC. Anyone is eligible to propose a volume of 10-20 selected, edited papers, united around a common theme, that have been presented at the IMC.
More information about suggesting a proposal, as well as past volumes within the series, can be found here.
50 Years of Medieval Studies at Leeds
This year's Congress focused on 'Memory', and the 50 Years of Medieval Studies at Leeds website is looking beyond this Congress to the future of Medieval Studies. This focus highlights Global Medieval Studies being a prominent feature of the IMC programme for the first time this year, as well as the first annual New Voices Lecture. Simon Forde, the founding Director of the IMC, shared his memories of the IMC here. As Forde stated, 'It's amazing just to see that idea [of the first IMC]...has grown way beyond what any of us dreamed'.
This project will continue to promote a conversation around the current direction of medievalist scholarship in the UK, growing from discussions and topics explored at the Future of Medieval Studies conference at the University of Leeds and IMC 2018.
IMC 2019: 'Materialities'
The IMC 2019 Call for Papers is currently open; the Congress will be held from 1-4 July 2019. The Special Thematic Strand is 'Materialities'. Paper proposals are due by 31 August 2018, whereas session and round-table proposals are due by 30 September 2018.
For more information about IMC 2018, or for queries about IMC 2019, see the IMC website, or contact IMC staff:
- Telephone: +44 (0) 113 343 3614
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: International Medieval Congress Administration, Institute for Medieval Studies, Parkinson Building, Room 1.03, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK