Anne Payne

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you want to study MA Medieval Studies?  

I’m a mature student returning to university after 10 years in teaching. I have school-age children and a lot of other commitments, so fitting my studies in has been difficult at times, but very worthwhile! After leaving teaching, I wanted to change career and my interest in studying the medieval period made this course the obvious choice, especially as I live near Leeds. The modules offered sounded very interesting, so I came to visit for an open day and applied straight away!

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

Being able to access original texts from the medieval period is amazing; I love being able to use documents in archives to find out about people’s lives. My background in languages has been very useful, as it has helped me to read and compare a wider range of original source materials. Being able to go into an archive and read a document written 800 years ago is still thrilling!

What aspects of the course are you enjoying the most?  

The core modules covering research methods and bibliography, palaeography and Latin have given me a fantastic foundation, so I feel confident using the skills I have developed to support my research. I have loved the language learning aspects of the course (I have taken the Old Norse and Medieval English modules), which are expressly designed to support students to carry out their research interests. I am also taking part in a module which involves a placement with an archive, which as been fascinating and has offered useful work experience.

What would you say about the support from staff and also the learning facilities at University of Leeds?

The learning facilities in the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS) and School of History are great and the academic staff work on a wide range of specialisms, so it is not difficult to find someone to support you in your research interests. The dedicated room for postgraduates in the IMS is a fantastic resource and a lovely space to work in. I also feel very lucky to have access to the University libraries, which are incredibly useful.

I have worked with several members of staff in the IMS during the course, all of whom have been very supportive and willing to discuss my research. Dr William Flynn is my dissertation supervisor and discussions with him have been invaluable in developing my work.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies?

The Medieval Society runs some great events, which are good ways to get to know the other students. One attraction of this course is that it offers the opportunity to attend the International Medieval Congress, which is held in Leeds every summer. That was an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to attending it again this summer.