Welcome to the IMC 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to present the programme for the International Medieval Congress 2013. This programme combines the academic programme and all of the practical information about the new setting of the IMC. For the first time, the Congress will be held exclusively on one site, the University of Leeds main campus. The academic programme features a total of 472 sessions and round table discussions, with 1550 actively involved participants.

This year, our special thematic strand 'Pleasure' has produced a great number of stimulating contributions totalling over 440 speakers in 150 sessions. These sessions are structured around thirteen sub-strands, thus presenting a wide range of academic material as coherently as possible. The special thematic strand will open with two keynote lectures by William M. Reddy (Department of History / Department of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University) on 'Is Pleasure an Emotion?: Historicism and Anachronism in the History of Emotions' followed by Esther Cohen (Department of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) on 'What's Wrong with Pleasure?'.

In addition to its focus on 'Pleasure' the IMC again acts as the showcase for a wide variety of interdisciplinary work in other areas of medieval studies. Looking at the wealth of material on offer, I am sure that this programme presents plenty of choice of papers and sessions for anybody working in the medieval field.

New this year will be a partnership with the journal Early Medieval Europe starting what is hoped to be an annual evening lecture series. The series opens with a lecture by Rosamond McKitterick (Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge) on 'The Pleasures of the Past: History and Identity in the Early Middle Ages'. Following the lecture there will be a drinks reception sponsored by Early Medieval Europe and Wiley-Blackwell.

One of the aims of the IMC is to promote interdisciplinarity and bridge the gap between Medieval Studies and other academic fields. With this intention in mind, I would like to draw your attention to a number of lunchtime talks. On Monday 1 July, Eileen White (Leeds Symposium on Food History) will be giving an introduction to the Leeds University Library cookery book collection, with a talk entitled 'Medieval Feasting: Legacy through the Centuries'. The Library and Special Collections would like to remind everybody that they are keen to welcome visitors to explore their collection throughout the Congress. On Wednesday 3 July, Nigel Tringham (Department of History, Keele University), will speak about 'The British Association for Local History and the Medievalist'. Also on Wednesday there will be an extra event related to an excavation of a skeleton on the site of the former Greyfriars Church - which is receiving a lot of media attention at the moment. Jo Appleby (School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester), Richard Buckley (University of Leicester Archaeological Services), and Robert C. Woosnam-Savage (Royal Armouries, Leeds) will all be speaking.

As usual, the IMC has organised a wide range of events and excursions for all delegates. Three concerts of medieval music, one featuring the harp, one a programme on sin and subversion, and another dedicated to the Virgin Mary, plus a modern drama performance about St Francis (written and directed by Nobel Prize Winner Dario Fo), all add to the rich tapestry of events in 2013. Furthermore, we will have - once again - the traditional music session on Sunday, the IMC Dance on Wednesday, and - new for 2013 - a medieval dance session on Thursday. Excursions in 2013 will lead you to Fountains and Kirkstall Abbeys, Markenfield Hall, Sheriff Hutton and Helmsley Castles, and also to Durham Cathedral (including viewing the Lindisfarne Gospels) and York Minster (including a visit to the Bedern Glaziers Studio). New for this year, will be a series of walking tours around campus and beyond, including a historical city centre tour, a visit to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, and two campus tours focussing on the University’s history and art collection. This year’s hands-on workshops include fingerloop braiding, sugar crafting, and spinning.

On Thursday afternoon, we aim to 'Make Leeds Medieval' - to mark the move to the main campus. We will host a range of medieval activities, including historical craft demonstrations, offering the opportunity to observe and discuss aspects of medieval life and culture with a variety of historically inspired artisans. These activities will be centred around University Square, the Marquee, and Terrace Bar.

Our specially brewed Congress Ale will also be available once again. This excellent ale is produced by the local Daleside brewery and is based on late medieval recipes, and it will be on sale in the Leeds University Union bars.

The IMC 2013 will be the 20th IMC and we are looking into special ways of commemorating this anniversary. Whilst we have a range of options already under consideration, suggestions and contributions from fellow medievalists of ways to mark this special occasion are most welcome. As ever, email, phone, or let us know in person.

As mentioned above, this Congress will be housed for the first time in its new venue. This offers a large number of opportunities, some challenges, and also a lot of change. Over the last few years, we have gathered comments and suggestions from Congress delegates past and present; the cumulative result is the plans presented to you in this programme. The main parameters will be as follows:

    a) Session rooms: All day-time sessions will take place in four main University buildings (Parkinson Building, Emmanuel Centre, Baines Wing, Michael Sadler Building); and evening roundtable discussions will take place at Leeds University Union Meeting Rooms 1-6 and Michael Sadler Building.

    b) Accommodation and meals: There are plenty of accommodation options available for all budgets and requirements. We also have a range of pre-booked meal options available - from packed lunches to carvery meals in award-winning on-campus venues.

    c) Bookfair: The main bookfair will take place in the Parkinson Court - all in one place and in the heart of the Congress. The Second-Hand and Antiquarian Bookfair, the Crafts Fair, and the Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair will take place in the Leeds University Union Building.

    d) Tea & Coffee: Complimentary tea and coffee will be served hroughout the day in the Parkinson Court and in the Marquee on University Square.

    e) Social space: The two venues exclusive to IMC Delegates during the day time are the Marquee and the Centenary Gallery in the Parkinson Building. During the evening (and all day on Sunday) we recommend the Leeds University Terrace Bar and the Marquee - which will be for the exclusive use for IMC delegates.

    f) Evening events will take place in various venues across campus. We now have the advantage of utilizing key performance areas most suitable for each event.

To help you find your way around the new IMC venues, we have added in the programme coloured bars to each session listing. These colours reflect the colours of the building used on the maps, plans, and the IMC signage around campus.

All these details will be explained in the subsequent pages. We recommend that you read them carefully before you arrive. We have tried to emulate the structure of the previous Congresses and spent a lot of timing planning the new configuration. My sincere thanks to everybody involved in the long and protracted process - I believe we have found a good solution for many points, but there will be inevitable changes (as well as teething problems). It would be immensely helpful if you could provide us with further constructive feedback about what works, what doesn’t, and what you would like to see happening at the Congress in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us by email, phone, or in person if we left anything unclear, or if you would like further explanation.

One thing we cannot change is that the Congress will now take place in the midst of an operating University. It will become even more important for all IMC delegates to wear their name badges at all times, as access to some venues may be restricted to IMC name badge holders.

A considerable advantage of the new setup is that we have the opportunity and space to have a large number of varying activities. The aim is to colour the Campus medieval, with activities taking place before, during, and after the Congress, and we hope to demonstrate the excitement, diversity, and fun of Medieval Studies.

As we move closer to July, we would like to remind you to check the IMC’s webpages on www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2013.html where any additions, changes, or updates to this programme will be displayed.

The 'Call for Sessions and Papers' for IMC 2014 (7-10 July 2014) with its special thematic strand 'Empire' can be found here.

Before closing, a warm welcome to our new committee members: Julia S. Barrow and Ros Brown-Grant for the IMC Standing Committee, Keith Busby for the IMC Programming Committee. I would also like to thank a number of key people who, for various reasons, have moved on from particular aspects of the IMC organisation over the last twelve months. Brian Richardson and Ian Wood gave up their seats on the IMC Standing Committee, and Esperanza Alfonso and Loris Sturlese on the IMC Programming Committee. Not to forget Linette Withers and Joanna Phillips who have moved on from the IMC administration. We are grateful for all their input over the years; our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for the future.

We hope that you find something for you in this year’s programme and look forward to welcoming you to Leeds in July.

Axel E. W. Müller
Director, International Medieval Congress