IMS Medieval Group Events at the University of Leeds

This year the IMS Medieval Group hosted seven well-attended and varied events, from a research afternoon to a candle workshop to visiting nearby medieval sites.

IMS Medieval Group 
The Medieval Group is the oldest medieval studies-related association at the University, dating back to the 1950s, and is run by a committee of volunteers from among the staff, PhD and MA students. Every year in October the Group hosts a 'Medieval Research Afternoon', which showcases the range of current research in medieval studies at the University of Leeds and includes presentations from others about research opportunities, volunteering, and internships in the Leeds area. Throughout the year the Group organises a seminar series with a broad range of speakers, as well as excursions and events.

For queries about the IMS Medieval Group, please contact Melanie Brunner: 

Events 2017-18 
This year the IMS Medieval Group hosted seven events. All lectures were held in Le Patrouel Room (Parkinson 4.06) and began at 17:30, with tea and biscuits available from 17:00. 

  • 24th Annual Medieval Group Research Afternoon, 21/10/17. This event ran from 14:00-17:00, and included presentations about collaborations and research projects happening at the University of Leeds (such as the 'Leeds Animal Studies Network', 'Medieval Bodies Ignored: Politics, Culture, and Flesh', and 'Rethinking Reform 900-1150: Conceptualising Change in Medieval Religious Institutions'), and resources and opportunities related to medieval studies in the Leeds area (such as volunteering opportunities at Pontefract Castle or Stank Hall Barn). The event concluded with a meeting of the Medieval Group Steering Committee.
  • William of Norwich's Four Candles, 27/11/17. Claire Trenery (Teaching Fellow in Medieval Studies, IMS), led a workshop exploring the practical and symbolic significance of wax offerings in the Middle Ages, with particular reference to the shrine of William of Norwich, a twelfth century martyr. After this discussion, participants made their own medieval candles. 
  • Exemplifying the Odd? Dread, Diversion and Doctrine in Strange Tales from East and West, 29/01/18. Kaan Gorman (PG Researcher, IMS) and Geoffrey Humble (recently completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham) examined ghostly tales from medieval Western Europe and Mongol-era East Asia (13th-14th centuries), interrogating the ways in which boundaries and their crossings portrayed in these texts map out shared and contrasting visions of mental and physical space. 
  • Slavery in the Middle Ages, 19/03/18. Erin Dailey (Visiting Research Fellow, IMS), and Katherine Miller (IMB) discussed slavery in medieval Europe from two different perspectives, looking at unfree concubines and the depiction of slavery in Icelandic sagas. Dailey's paper was titled, 'Unfree Concubinage in the Households of Medieval Europe', and Miller's paper was titled 'Slavery in the fornaldarsogur'. 
  • Stank Hall Excursion, 21/04/18. This day trip to Stank Old Hall, New Hall, and Barn in south Leeds offered a tour of the buildings; Stank Hall Barn is particularly noteworthy, as it was built in the 15th-century and is one of the oldest secular buildings in Leeds. Participants sifted through some of the waste earth moved from the Old Hall, assessed carved pieces, helped with visual recording work (part of a larger project by the Friends of Stank Hall to reassemble a visual of the site as it would have been in the rebuild of 1280), and more. 
  • A Day in the Life of...Heritage Professionals, 14/05/18. A panel of three speakers explored what a typical day looks like for someone working as a heritage professional, and included a long Q&A following the short presentations. The panelists were Katherine Baxter (Curator of Archaeology, Leeds City Museums and Galleries), Chris Tuckley (Head of Interpretation, York Archaeological Trust), and Eleanor Wilkinson-Keys (Volunteer and Events Coordinator for Museums and Galleries, Wakefield Council, and IMS PG Researcher). 
  • Excursion to Selby Abbey and Abbot's Staith, 26/05/18. This day trip included a tour of the famous Norman Abbey, and the remains of the 14th-century Abbot Staith monastic warehouse. Participants could explore Selby at their leisure following a tour of these buildings. 

More information about these events can be found here. 

These well-attended events attracted a mixture of MA and PhD students, as well as faculty and members of the public. The 'Medieval Group Research Afternoon' introduced the new MA students to some major collaborations at the University of Leeds, and also highlighted some upcoming Medieval Group events. Discussions following lectures were lively and engaged, with students as well as faculty asking questions and commenting. 

Ella Muir, IMS MA student and IMS Communication Intern, attended the 'A Day in the Life' and found the panel provided 'a really nice balance' of perspectives. Muir especially appreciated 'the different ways each speaker had entered the heritage sector, and how they had progressed from there'. 

Victoria Yuskaitis, IMS PG Researcher and IMS Website Intern, attended multiple events, and overall found them to be 'stimulating' and 'interesting'. Yuskaitis recalled how the 'Slavery in the Middle Ages' lecture connected with 'themes about modern slavery', resulting in a 'really thought-provoking consideration of how the medieval interacts with the modern'. 

A new Medieval Group events calendar for the academic year 2018-19 will be available at the end of the summer.