Workshops give you the opportunity to try a new skill – and often to take home a handmade memento of your time in Leeds. This year’s programme includes a variety of medieval and medieval-inspired techniques, as well as new ways to communicate medieval research.

Each workshop can only accommodate a limited number of participants, so early booking is recommended. If you will not be able to attend a workshop you have booked, please let us know as soon as possible so we can offer your place to another delegate.

‘Of making many books there is no end’: Bookbinding

Directed by Linette Withers

Sunday 30 June
Leeds University Union: Room 6, 13.00-17.00
Price: £41.50

Throughout the Middle Ages, creating a finished book required far more than a quill, parchment, and ink. Once a text left a scriptorium, the individual quires would be sewn together using horizontal bands, or cords, set into the spine. Medieval books were often boarded with wooden covers, which served to protect the parchment. These wooden boards might then be covered with leather, fabric, or even metalwork and precious gems.

Thus the making of a medieval book covers a variety of craft skills, from leather work, to sewing, wood work, and metal work.

While a text could take a week if not longer to bind once it left the scriptorium, this class will take participants on a whistle stop tour of some common features of wood-boarded bindings on cords. Some of the steps will be pre-prepared to take into account the short length of the class, however, participants will get the chance to sew on a sewing frame, lace on boards, make hand sewn head bands, cover their book (options include uncovered, half, or full binding with leather or with velvet) and if there is time, consider decorating it and adding clasps. There will be handouts to take home that will detail any further work to be done in the event that we run out of time.

Basic materials are included and participants are not required to bring tools as these will be provided. Extra materials, such as additional book furniture, can be purchased from the tutor. If covering with velvet or if you choose to leave your book uncovered, the materials and tools will be vegan friendly. While some craft skill will be helpful this class is aimed at the confident beginner.

Linette Withers completed an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds before joining the IMC team as Senior Congress Officer. She has been binding books since 2005 and since 2012 has worked as a professional book binder, producing codices that are inspired by historical books. Recently one of her works was shortlisted for display at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford as part of their ‘Redesigning the Medieval Book’ competition and exhibition. She also regularly volunteers for library conservation projects and teaches binding techniques in her studio in Leeds.

‘Draw thy sword in right’: Combat

Directed by Dean Davidson and Stuart Ivinson, Kunst des Fechtens (KDF) International

Sunday 30 June
Refectory, 13.30-16.00
Price: £15.00

Have you ever had a desire to learn how to fight like our historical forbears or study the highly effective fighting style that was taught throughout the medieval period? Back by popular demand, Kunst des Fechtens (KDF) International bring a workshop in the use of medieval longswords to the congress participants.

KDF workshops bring a dynamic approach to training, with a martial application of this historical art, through practical drills combined with interpretations from historical treatises. Our professional and experienced instructors will be on hand to provide tuition in this noble fighting style.

KDF International is an association of like-minded clubs, from across Europe, whose aim is to promote the study, development and practice of the martial arts tradition of medieval and renaissance Germany, in particular those of the Master Johannes Liechtenauer. These martial arts have been preserved in numerous treatises and have been unearthed, transcribed, translated, and interpreted into a modern understanding of a subtle, dynamic and effective martial arts system that looks at the use of a number of weapons and unarmed combat of the time. Founded in 2006, KDF was born from a desire to focus attention on Liechtenauer’s works as well as bringing a dynamic approach to training, adding the use of protection as well as free play exercises and bouts to drill and practice as a part of trying to triangulate a truth within their interpretations.

Dean has over 20 years’ experience in martial arts and training in historical weapons. He is the KDF International Senior Instructor and European Historical Combat Guild Chapter Master at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. He is an active member of the Society for Combat Archaeology, an international organisation committed to the promulgation of systematic knowledge related to combat and warfare in the past. Dean is passionate about sharing knowledge on this subject and regularly presents at renowned international conferences and seminars, providing a unique insight into the arms and armour used throughout medieval warfare. He is also a founding member of the Towton Battlefield Frei Compagnie and 3 Swords, a prestigious medieval historical and armed combat interpretation group. Dean holds a Masters in Health Informatics from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Leeds and is a member of the Leeds University Medieval Society.

Stuart Ivinson Has been involved with historical combat for 16 years, joining the European Historical Combat Guild in 2000 and KDF upon its inception in 2006. He is currently an Assistant Instructor at the Leeds Chapter of both organisations. Stuart is also a member of the Society for Combat Archaeology and a founder member of both the Towton Battlefield Society Frei Compagnie and 3 Swords. He has made presentations regarding the display arms and armour for organisations such as the National Archives at Kew, English Heritage, and numerous British museums. Stuart has an MA in Librarianship, an MA in Medieval History and a P.Dip in Heritage Management. When he is not being Dean’s sidekick he is the Librarian at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

All weapons are provided by KDF and attendees are asked to arrive wearing indoor training shoes and appropriate and comfortable gym training gear that will allow freedom of movement (i.e. t-shirt and track suit bottoms). Please make the instructors aware of any prior medical conditions.

Storytelling for Medievalists

Directed by Daisy Black

Monday 1 July
Clothworkers Building South: Room G.14, 19.00-21.00
Price: £8.50

‘I prey yow, in desdeyn;
This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye
In this viage, shal telle tales tweye’.

(Prologue to The Canterbury Tales)

Telling stories is one of the oldest art forms and makes up the heart of our medieval canon. Throughout the world, stories are shared to entertain, to educate, to make political points, and to preserve old tales.

This workshop will provide an introduction to the principles of oral storytelling. We will look at how to break stories down into their ‘bones’; adding memorable details; adapting medieval tales for modern audiences; and how to use storytelling skills in teaching and research.

Workshop participants are encouraged to attend the IMC open mic night on Tuesday to share their new found skills!

Daisy Black is a medievalist, theatre director, and storyteller. She works as a lecturer in English at the University of Wolverhampton and is one of the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers. Her storytelling weaves medieval narratives together with English folk song. Often moving, occasionally political, frequently feminist, just a little queer and regularly funny, Daisy’s stories underline the relevance and vibrancy of medieval narratives for today’s world.

‘Judge your book by its cover’: Embellished Book Covering

Directed by Linette Withers

Monday 1 July
Clothworkers Building South: Room G.11A, 19.00-21.00
Price: £28.50

Every book needs a cover to protect its pages. Medieval book covers typically consisted of a board, often made of wood, which was then covered, most frequently in leather, but sometimes with fabric, or even metalwork and precious stones. Leather covers could be embellished using a range of techniques, such as dyeing, hand tooling, or even incorporating materials such as gold or lapis.

Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to experiment with different decorative techniques using undyed leather before embellishing a pre-covered leather panel.

All materials are included and participants are not required to bring tools as these will be provided. Participants will have the option to complete a vegan panel if preferred. While some craft skill will be helpful this class is aimed at the confident beginner.

Linette Withers completed an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds before joining the IMC team as Senior Congress Officer. She has been binding books since 2005 and since 2012 has worked as a professional book binder, producing codices that are inspired by historical books. Recently one of her works was shortlisted for display at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford as part of their ‘Redesigning the Medieval Book’ competition and exhibition. She also regularly volunteers for library conservation projects and teaches binding techniques in her studio in Leeds.

Please notify the organisers in advance if vegan options are required.

#medievalwiki: Editing Women in Wikipedia

Directed by Kate Cook

Tuesday 2 July
Parkinson Building: Cohen Cluster, 14.00-16.00
This event is free of charge

This editathon aims to improve the representation of women in Late Antique, Byzantine, and Medieval Studies, broadly conceived, on English-language Wikipedia. The initiative brings together volunteers of all genders to create or improve Wikipedia pages on medieval women or women in medieval studies. Examples of such pages include Elizabeth Jeffreys, Monica H. Green, and Elizabeth A. Clark. Our scope is wide and includes Art History, Archaeology, Digital Humanities, Modern Theories, Religious Studies, and Theology as well as History.

With more than five million articles in English, 30 million registered users, and 800 articles added every day, Wikipedia is the largest and most influential source of knowledge in the world. And yet it suffers from systemic gender bias. Only a small proportion (less than 15%) of those who edit Wikipedia are women, and only one in six of its 1.5 million biographies feature women.

In collaboration with the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) and the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, this editathon addresses the significant gender imbalance in Medieval Studies and contiguous fields. It features a brief training session for those who have never edited Wikipedia, followed by a communal editing session.

No experience of editing Wikipedia or particular familiarity with online tools is required.

People of all genders are warmly welcome and encouraged to attend.

This workshop is organised by Victoria Leonard (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Sukanya Rai-Sharma (University of Oxford).

Get involved on Twitter – search for #WCCWiki, #MedievalWiki and #IMC2019, and follow @tigerlilyrocks (Victoria Leonard), @Anya_Raisharma (Sukanya Rai-Sharma), @SocietyMedFem (Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship), and @womeninclassics (Women in Classics UK).

‘The Key to Paradise Is Prayer’: The Islamic Astrolabe

Directed by Kristine Larsen

Tuesday 2 July
Clothworkers Court: Lecture Theatre G.12, 19.00-20.30
This event is free of charge

Astronomy is central to the Islamic faith in terms of defining the timing of its calendar and religious observances. It has one of the truly lunar calendars (solely based on the phases of the moon), with the month beginning with the sighting of the barely born waxing crescent moon just after sunset. The five prayer times of each day are also related to astronomical phenomenon, such as twilight, local noon, and sunset. It is also important that prayers be done while facing the direction of the holy Kaaba in Mecca (called the qibla). Astrolabes were used in medieval times to compute all of these important parameters.

This hands-on workshop is an introduction to the basic moving parts of an Eastern or Islamic astrolabe, as well as the computations of the five prayer times and the qibla. No prior knowledge is necessary, and all materials will be provided. Attendees will receive an instruction guide and cardboard astrolabe to take home. This workshop is limited to 70 participants; places will be allocated on a first-come, first served basis.

The workshop is presented by Central Connecticut State University astronomy professor Dr. Kristine Larsen, who has made similar presentations at the International Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University for several years, as well as numerous other universities and educational centres.

Hands on History: Arms and Armour Replica Handling Session

Presented by The Society for Combat Archaeology

Tuesday 2 July
Clothworkers Building South: Room G.11A, 20.00-21.30
Price: £7.50

Ever wonder what it would be like to take a museum object out of its case for a closer look? As that is not always possible you could try the next best thing and get up close to facsimiles of museum artefacts.

This workshop will consist of both a presentation of arms and armour throughout the medieval period, focusing on the materiality of the pieces, followed by the hands on ‘handling session’ of replica objects.

All the arms and armour presented are researched and referenced against archaeological finds, museum artefacts, or items based on manuscript reproductions (with a detailed breakdown of information related to each piece). Photography is actively encouraged!

The Society for Combat Archaeology (SoCA) is an international organization committed to the advancement of knowledge about the nature of combat and conflict in the past in all of their varieties. Its mission is to research, interpret, and convey material and issues on the subject of combat and to encourage interdisciplinary interaction between researchers in a variety of fields. To this end, SoCA cooperates extensively with an international network of expertise consisting of persons with academic and practical backgrounds in subjects related to combat, most notably from archaeology and martial arts. SoCA thus draws upon a vast array of sources and critical assessments, which ensure a high level of consideration in the presented material and the maintenance of academic integrity in all its mediums of knowledge.

Art of the Sofer: Traditional Jewish Scribal Practices

Directed by Mark Farnadi-Jerusálmi

Wednesday 3 July
Clothworkers Building South: Room G.11A, 19.00-21.00
Price: £17.50

This workshop gives participants a hands-on experience of the ancient craft of the Jewish scribe, or sofer. The workshop will begin with an interactive demonstration of the preparation of iron gall ink. Afterwards, participants will learn to create the shapes of the Hebrew letters in the way it has been done by scribes for centuries, on parchment with a handmade feather quill. The scribe will guide them in writing their names in Hebrew.

All materials will be provided, and participants will be able to keep their quills and parchment with their own scribal art.

View a short video of a similar workshop at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Mark Farnadi-Jerusálmi was born and raised in Hungary and moved to Israel when he was 18. He studied printing and computer graphics at Hadassah College in Jerusalem. Studying to become a scribe allowed him to combine his interests in Judaism, art, and linguistics. He has worked in the field of Hebrew scribal art for more than a decade, receiving his certification as a scribe in 2005 and his scroll supervisor certificate in 2008 from Vaad Mishmeres STaM, the centre for international activities to preserve and promote the integrity of the scribal arts. For the past several years, he has worked in scribal writing and digital examination and repair of Hebrew scrolls. Among other projects, he participated in the examination and repair of two 15th-century Torah scrolls at the National Library of Israel.

He received his MA in History of Jewish Culture in 2016 from the Jewish Theological Seminary at the University of Jewish Studies, Budapest. Currently, he is a doctoral student jointly at EPHE/PSL Research University, Paris and at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Budapest.

RedeZINEing Knowledge: Creative Publication as Pathway to Impact

Directed by Jonah Coman and Patrick Murphy

Thursday 4 July
Parkinson Building: Room B.22, 16.00-18.30

Within the past few years medieval studies has encountered the challenge of radical groups co-opting mythological medievalisms to justify their prejudices. At the same time, non-academic impact has become one of the important metrics that quantify a researcher’s contribution to the society. Thus, reaching out to diverse audiences has now become an imperative for social-minded academics.

This workshop provides an opportunity to transform your research into a tangible artefact that could help you reach wider audiences, with guidance from experts in comics and zine-making.

A zine (short for magazine or fanzine) is a self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images which can be produced in a variety of formats. The term was first coined to refer to magazines created by science fiction aficionados, but now zines are produced by a wide range of makers on a variety of topics. Producing a zine offers a non-commercial means for the maker to connect with an audience as well as a way to communicate about issues not often represented by popular or professional media channels.

Jonah Coman is a PhD student at the Glasgow School of Arts as well as a creative producer and DIY (do-it-yourself) maker. His co-created zine project Pocket Miscellanies was the recipient of the British Library Labs award for Teaching and Learning 2018.

Patrick Murphy is a Professor of English Literature at Miami University, teaching history of the English Language and graphic novels. His current book project is a work of graphic nonfiction: A Comics History of the English Language.

Craft materials (paper, glue, scissors etc) will be supplied, but the participants might want to bring along their computers and/or printed images and slides regarding their research.

Medieval Records and the National Archive: A Workshop

Sponsored by The National Archives
Directed by Sean Cunningham, Paul R. Dryburgh, and Euan Roger

Friday 5 July
Social Sciences Building: Room 10.07, 09.30-13.30

For all medievalists the ability to locate, read, and understand archival sources is fundamental to their research whatever their discipline and stage in their career. The National Archives of the United Kingdom (TNA) holds one of the world’s largest and most important collections of medieval records. The vast archive of English royal government informs almost every aspect of medieval life from the royal court to the peasantry, land ownership and tenure, the law, warfare and diplomacy, trade and manufacture, transport, credit and debt, death and memory, material culture, literature, art, and music. However, finding, using, and interpreting the rich diversity of material is not always entirely straightforward, and its potential for a wide range of research uses is often unclear.

This workshop will offer an introduction to TNA, showing you how to begin your research into its collections and access research support. A course-pack with facsimiles of original documents will be used to illustrate the range of disciplines and topics TNA records can inform and illuminate. Short, themed sessions will also introduce attendees to the Mechanics of Medieval Government, Law and Justice, and Church, State, and Commemoration.

This workshop is aimed at all medievalists, from masters students through to experienced academics in any discipline, who wish to discover more about the rich archive collections at TNA and how they might use them in their research. There are no pre-requisites for attending the workshop, although a basic knowledge of Latin is recommended.

Sean Cunningham is Head of Medieval & Early Modern and specialises in 15th- and 16th-century records of English royal government. Euan Roger is a Medieval Records Specialist whose research has focused on church, government, and law in the late Middle Ages. Paul Dryburgh is a Principal Medieval Records Specialist with interests in government, politics, and warfare in the British Isles in the 13th and 14th centuries.


'With silken thread': An Opus Anglicanum Embroidery Workshop

Directed by Tanya Bentham

Friday 5 July
Social Sciences Building: Room 10.06, 10.30-16.30

The term ‘Opus Anglicanum’ (or English work) refers to the fine needlework produced in England in the later Middle Ages. This luxurious embroidery was often used for clothing, hangings, or other textiles, both secular and ecclesiastical, often using gold and silver threads on rich velvet or linen grounds. Opus Anglicanum was in great demand across the continent, particularly from the late 12th to mid-14th centuries. The recent exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London ‘Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of Medieval English Embroidery’ featured surviving examples of exquisite craftsmanship gathered from across Europe.

This workshop provides an exclusive opportunity for an in-depth look at the way the human form was interpreted in late medieval church textiles. The workshop will begin with a short introductory talk, discussing both technique and surviving examples, followed by a practical demonstration of the split stitch. Working with silk thread on linen, participants will then create either a male or a female face in the style of the Opus Anglicanum.

The workshop fee includes all materials.

Tanya Bentham has been a re-enactor for years, working the last 20 as a professional living historian. Her main focus has always been on textiles, especially embroidery, but also making detours into costume, natural dyeing, weaving, millinery, and silversmithing. She has delivered workshops for numerous museums, schools, and community organisations throughout Yorkshire.