IMC 2019: Materialities in Pictures

Already missing IMC 2019? You’re not alone. We’ve created a handy round up of the week, so you too can re-live some of the highlights.

Last week saw the start of the 26th International Medieval Congress, with campus once again home to medievalists from all over the world. Over 2,800 people attended from 59 countries, coming together to celebrate and share ideas.

Excitement built over the pre-IMC weekend, with the departure of the Castles Tour and Fountains Abbey excursion kick-starting a varied programme of day trips to secular and religious sites and local museums.

Many delegates began to arrive on campus and our IMC staff were on hand to give out the first of the registration packs.

On Monday, the Senior Boys and Girls Choirs of Leeds Cathedral delighted attendees with a medley of medieval sacred and secular song. Directed by Benjamin Saunders, and with solos from Jane Flynn and Anna Prosser, the concert was just one of a large programme of events throughout the week, including musical, dance and theatrical performances.

Monday also saw the beginning of the academic programme, with a keynote lecture from Katrin Kogman-Appel in which she discussed the transformation of the Haggadah and the entrance of it into the historiography of Jewish art. This was followed by a keynote by Emma Dillon, introduced by special strand coordinator Anne Lester, on the movement of song across Medieval Europe, accompanied by singer Chloë Allison. At lunchtime, Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli’s lecture considered sumptuary legislation, while Marina Rustow’s Wednesday keynote discussed the writing tools of the Fatimid caliphs.

The keynotes set the tone for the thousands of papers presented in the following week, with delegates interpreting the theme of ‘Materialities’ in new and interesting ways. One session (fittingly on Medieval Wedding Poetry) became the site of a marriage proposal, with the bride happily accepting and a ceremony taking place the following day!

There were also many hands on workshops including stone carving, Jewish calligraphy and bookbinding, where delegates were able to get to grips with popular medieval practices.

Our first #MedievalWiki also took place. Organised by Kate Cook, it aimed improve the representation of women in Late Antique, Byzantine and Medieval Studies by editing and updating Wikipedia entries.

The Leeds Libraries Special Collections were kind enough to open their doors through a series of drop in sessions, displaying delicate medieval items from their archives.

Books aplenty were available to purchase, and publishers came from around the world to exhibit at the Parkinson Court Bookfair. The Second Hand Antiquarian Bookfair in the Leeds University Union continued this theme, allowing pre-owned and antique texts to find new, loving homes.

Later in the week, the IMC Craft Fair filled Leeds Union Foyer with an abundance of handcrafted items including ceramics, clothing, jewellery and homeware. Alongside this, societies came to exhibit at the Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair, showcasing the important work done by volunteer groups to preserve medieval sites around the UK.

Making Leeds Medieval saw campus transported back in time with lively combat displays, birds of prey and two horses who proved very popular with adults and children alike!

We were especially honoured to include the Lord Mayor, Eileen Taylor, in the celebrations. Director of the Congress, Axel Müller, presented her with a handcrafted mug made by Craft Fair exhibitor John Hudson.

Eventually the last event was upon us and the Arbeau dancers drew proceedings to a close, hosting a joyous evening of medieval dance.

We’d like to thank everyone involved for making this another successful and enjoyable year. We can’t wait to get started on next year’s congress and the theme of ‘Borders’. Bring on IMC2020!

View the 2020 Call for Papers here.