‘Medieval Glastonbury’ to focus on climates: IMC 2021


The International Medieval Congress (IMC), one of the biggest academic conferences taking place online in the world this year, is to take climates as its theme.

The IMC programme is now available and registration opens on Monday 1 March at 1000 Greenwich Mean time (GMT).

The annual conference – dubbed the "Medieval Glastonbury Festival" by delegates – runs from 5-9 July and is organised by the University's Institute for Medieval Studies. It will be the second virtual, coronavirus-friendly version.

This year, the 28th congress will bring together more than 1,650 speakers from 57 countries, and there is additional reason to celebrate because its director, Dr Axel Muller, has received a prestigious award for outstanding service to medieval studies.

Explaining this year's choice of theme Dr Muller said: "The medieval climate is of interest to modern scientists as an indicator of how societies experience and adapt to rapid change in response to floods, storm surges, volcanic eruptions and drought.

"In the 1200 years of the Middle Ages, climates fluctuated considerably. For example, during the 14th century, temperatures in Europe became much cooler and wetter than previously which meant that medieval people had to amend their ways of life as a result of food shortages, animal and human disease, higher rainfall, and natural disasters.

"Like last year, there will be plenty of interactive opportunities for delegates, and I look forward to being a part of this wonderfully vibrant community once again."

A sign of our strength is that we continue to make the IMC possible – whatever the restrictions worldwide.

Dr Axel Muller, IMC Director

Dr Müller – director of the IMC for 25 years – has been awarded the 2021 Medieval Academy of America Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) Award, given for leadership in developing, organising, and promoting medieval studies.

This is the first time in the 20-year history of the prize that it has been awarded outside North America.  

Dr Müller said: "I am very honoured to receive this award, and I accept it on behalf of everybody who has made the IMC the success that it is. 

"A sign of our strength is that we continue to make the IMC possible – whatever the restrictions worldwide. That is a credit to the fantastic team I have around me, and I want to thank them for their continued dedication and hard work." 

Rich programme of events

The virtual programme – including all academic sessions, bookfairs, exhibitions, performances and more – will be accessible on a dedicated platform. 

The events programme will include a wide variety of activities, from a "hands-on" Cyrillic calligraphy workshop to film screenings. Delegates will be able to propose their own fringe events to make new connections with researchers around the world. 

Since its inception the IMC has brought thousands of researchers together from different countries, backgrounds, and disciplines, providing professional development and networking opportunities in an open and inclusive environment. 

Further information 

Further information can be found at the IMC website