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Meet the IMC Team

An IMC team member wearing sunglasses touching a red dragon head who is breathing out smoke.Member sof the IMC team smiling while stood in front of a christmas tree which is in the back ground.

Whether attending for the first, or the twentieth time, IMC participants are always met by the energetic buzz of over 2,500 delegates taking in the transformed University of Leeds campus, chatting to colleagues, and attending the many academic sessions and exciting events the IMC has to offer.

But behind the careful coordination of all that you see is a small and dedicated team who organise and plan the IMC to be the success that it is year on year. It is due to the combination of their teamwork, communication, and individual strengths that the IMC flourishes each year. You may catch sight of them running across campus, hear them over the airwaves before sessions, or spend some time chatting with them at the Information & Payments desk. We thought you might like to learn more about the people who bring the IMC to life.

Axel - IMC Director 

Axel is the Director of the IMC and has shaped it into the annual focus for medievalists worldwide since the first congress in 1994.   

Axel has overall responsibility for the IMC and works very closely with the entire IMC team, with the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Cultures, Facilities Directorate, and IT to bring the conference to life. Axel also works with a highly experienced international Programming Committee and local Standing Committee, to develop the IMC’s long-term academic strategy and research themes. Axel is the first to admit that an event like the IMC cannot be a solo venture. While he keeps the plates spinning, he is very proud of the IMC team. With their invaluable hard work, the IMC has been turned into a safe and universal space for a community of medievalists – from seasoned academics to new postgraduate students, local and national historical groups, and the public.

Axel is most looking forward to having all the brilliant medieval minds return once again to the University of Leeds. He is an early adopter of hybrid conferencing, believing that in an ideal world hybrid should be the norm wherever possible. Nevertheless, there is a vital part of in-person conferences that goes beyond what any virtual systems can provide. For example, those incidental encounters in the corridor, at the coffee queue, or the tingling feeling going through a room when everyone hears an exciting idea in a paper. 

Marta - Senior Congress Officer 

Marta Cobb is the Senior Congress Officer at the IMC (senior because, aside from Axel, she’s been around the longest!). She coordinates the IMC programme of events and excursions as well as looking after the academic programme, especially changes to papers and sessions. She did her BA at Brown University in Providence, Rhodes Island, before coming to Leeds to study for an MA and PhD in Middle English Literature. In addition to working at the IMC, she is also a teaching fellow in the School of History, teaching modules about medieval female mystics (Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich are her particular favourites) and how the medieval is represented in modern media. A veteran of many IMCs, first as a casual staff member and then as a member of the year-round IMC team, her favourite part of the IMC is seeing medievalists from around the world coming together. 

Fiona - Congress Manager 

Fiona joined the IMC team in January 2018 as Congress Officer before becoming Congress Manager in August 2018. Fiona is responsible for all logistics and practical arrangements for IMC, exhibitions, health and safety, overall project management, as well as overseeing staffing and the general smooth running of the Congress.  

Fiona has experience in event management both in the UK and abroad, ranging from conferences, workshops, and exhibitions to fundraising galas, awards dinners, and weddings. Since graduating from the University of Leeds, she has worked as in events and communications roles at the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, the National Day Nurseries Association, San Diego Natural History Museum and the Cardinal Hume Centre.  

During IMC you will find her zooming around congress ensuring everything is running as it should, everything is in the right place at the right time, staff are happy and effective, and generally solving issues before they turn into problems.

“I love seeing the year’s preparations come together during IMC week. My favourite thing is seeing colleagues from all over the world come together, sharing their love and passion for their subject as a community, and enjoying IMC. It’s really satisfying to know that our work is enabling this to happen”. 

Sharna - Congress Officer 

Sharna Connolly became a Congress Officer for the IMC in October 2023, 8 months after she first joined the team in the role of Conference and Events Administrator. Alongside creating the printed programme, newsletters, and registration site, Sharna is responsible for managing the day-to-day administrative processes for registration and proposals, including emails, phone calls, and social media. 

As a Leeds alumna in English Language and Literature, Sharna is particularly passionate about the value IMC brings to the academic community in offering an opportunity for creativity, communication, and collaboration amongst scholars all over the world. Her favourite part of the role is seeing this come to fruition during IMC, where delegates across a variety of disciplines get together to forge and strengthen their connections.

During IMC, Sharna can usually be found at the Information and Payments Desk meeting and chatting with delegates, answering queries, giving directions, and solving as many problems as she can. Outside of IMC, Sharna likes sitting in a café with a good book. 

Adam - Congress Officer 

Adam joined the IMC team in September 2022. His main responsibility is coordinating session rooms and session room staff during the Congress, as well as managing equipment requests and room signage. During the Congress Adam leads the team of session room staff you will see him in and around your rooms at the start and of sessions. He first attended the Congress during the online IMC in 2020 and returned in 2021, before finally making it to Leeds in-person to speak at the 2022 Congress. He completed his BA and MRes at the University of Hull in 2014 and 2017 respectively.  Adam is interested in medieval frontiers and identity, particularly in the British Isles, and recently submitted his PhD, also at Hull. Outside of the IMC, Adam is a committee member of the Ridings of Yorkshire Society, dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of Yorkshire’s past, which he co-founded with PhD colleagues in late 2021. 

Rose - Virtual Conference and Events Administrator 

Rose first worked in the IMC office as an intern while doing her MA in the Institute for Medieval Studies. During her PhD, also in the IMS, as President of the LUU Medieval Society, she organised the Leeds International Medieval Film Festival and launched the now annual IMC Pub Quiz. She has now returned to the IMC team as our Virtual Conference and Events Administrator. During the IMC Rose leads a team of Virtual Session Room Organisers from our Virtual Cluster, so while you won’t see her, you might hear her over the airwaves helping session moderators resolve technical difficulties. When not grappling with Zoom, her research focuses on medieval childhood, particularly discourses of care, health, and development, with a supernatural twist. Her first monograph, The Medieval Changeling: Health, Childcare, and the Family Unit, was published by Boydell and Brewer in 2023.

Alice - Conference and Events Administrator 

Alice is the newest member of the IMC team, who joined as the Conference and Events Administrator in November 2023. She helps to answer all the emails, processes paper proposals and registrations, edits the website, organises the IMC receptions, and has a huge involvement with the IMC’s social media platforms. Alice has a BA in History from York St John University and an MA in medieval studies from the University of York. Alice’s research focus is the Wars of the Roses, late medieval dynastic politics, heraldry, and legitimacy.  She has recently been published in the Centenary Richard III Society Bulletin for her article 'Revisiting the Lincoln Roll', a genealogy relating to members of Richard III’s family, the De la Poles. If you want to discuss genealogies and heraldry, then Alice is the person for you! 

Alice has had a variety of customer service jobs. Having firstly spent two and a half years as a Visitor Experience Team Member and Wedding & Events Host with York Museums Trust, Alice also spent five years at York Racecourse as a waitress. This means that she is no stranger to carrying chairs and tables!

Alice is looking forward to the Congress week and seeing all the delegates come together to appreciate and enjoy all the hard work that was put in behind the scenes. During the IMC you will find Alice smiling at the Information and Payments Desk near the Refectory ready to help in any way she can.