A full weekend of events!

EMICS is delighted to present a full weekend of events around storytelling in the medieval world.

On Friday 10th April, Maria Rupprecht will lead a 2 hour seminar on Speaking Chaucerian.  Email EMICSstorytelling@gmail.com for more details.

On the evening of Friday 10th April, storytellers will gather in the crypt of St Etheldreda’s Church in Ely Place, Holborn.  See eventbrite for tickets or email EMICSstorytelling@gmail.com.

And on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April, there will be a range of papers on different aspects of stories and storytelling in UCL.  See eventbrite for tickets or email EMICSstorytelling@gmail.com.

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Tickets now on sale!

The Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series is pleased to present its seventh conference: Stories and Storytelling in the Medieval World, taking place on 11th and 12th April in UCL.

Participants will consider how stories were used, told, and received in a range of Medieval contexts, supplemented by discussion of the stories we tell about the Medieval and the use of stories in teaching.

The shaping and sharing of narrative has always been key in the negotiation and recreation of reality for individuals and cultural groups. Some stories, indeed, seem to possess a life of their own: claiming a peculiar agency and taking on distinct voices which speak across time and space. How, for example, do objects, manuscripts and other artefacts communicate alternative or complementary narratives that transcend textual and linguistic boundaries?

As well as the stories themselves, scholarship is increasingly interested in how stories were told and received, from communal dramatic recreations to records produced for private meditation.

Papers include discussions of retellings of medieval stories in various modern media, the role of stories in shaping different communities, the encoding of stories in different objects and other medieval media, and the role of stories in shaping wider narratives and ideas across the medieval world

Keynotes will be delivered by Professors Clare Lees (Saturday) and Richard North (Sunday).

Refreshments, including a wine reception on Saturday, and sandwich lunches on both days, are included.

Places are £15 (£12 students and concessions). Please reserve your place on eventbrite or by emailing EMICSstorytelling@gmail.com.

Saturday 11th April: 9.00 registration for 9.30 start; close by 18.30.

Sunday 13th April: 10.30-18.30.

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Prebook your place at eventbrite or by emailing Simon Thomson

Saturday 12th April

Registration  10.00-10.30

Session 1    10.30-12.00


Richard North (UCL): Out of one’s senses, or senses out of one: more on the flying modsefa

Jon Wilcox (Iowa): The sensory cost of remediation; or, sniffing in the gutter of the Blickling Homilies

Coffee           12.00-12.30

Session 2     12.30-2.00

Simon Thomson (UCL): “Whistle while you work”: some indications of scribing as hearing in Old English poetic manuscripts

Nick Baker (York): Crying in the Middle Ages: the emotional power of manuscript art

Mary Wellesley (UCL): Multi-sensory association in the N-town ‘Magnificat’

 Lunch             2.00-3.00

Session 3       3.00-4.30

Irina Metzler (Swansea): Changes in the conflation of congenital deafness and mental disability in the medieval world

Mariana López (York): The York Mystery Plays: A case study in the exploration of sound and hearing in medieval vernacular drama

Eric Lacey (Winchester): tbc

Wine reception   4.30-5.30

Sunday 13th April

Session 1         10.00-11.00

Pete Sandberg (UCL): Disembodied cognition and sensory perception in Old Norse poetry

Meg Boulton (Independent): (Re)Viewing “Iuxta Morem Romanorum”:  Considering Perception, Phenomenology and Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Architecture

Coffee                11.00-11.30

Session 2          11.30-1.00

Eoin Bentick (UCL): “Bodyly Syght”, Female Devotion and Books of Hours

Vicky Symons (UCL): Doing Things with Words in Old English Charms and Riddles

Francesca Brooks (KCL): The Partible Text and the Textual Relic: Sensory Engagements with the 13th Century Seinte Margarete

Lunch                  1.00-2.00

Session 3            2.00-3.30

Melissa Herman (York): Loops, twists, and tangles: Visual perception and Anglo-Saxon interlace

Mike Bintley (Canterbury): Expressions of suffering and sensory engagment with the early medieval world

Close and thanks

Prebook your place at eventbrite or by emailing Simon Thomson

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Exciting updates


The conference is due to take place over the weekend of 13th and 14th April.  It’s just a week before Easter Sunday, and immediately after the Institute of English Studies’ major Guthlac conference.  So what better time could there be to spend some days in London, thinking about our sensory engagement with the medieval, and medieval sensory engagements with the world?

The conference will be written up as part of the Networks and Neighboursproject, and selected papers will be included in a book proposal.

To take account of a forum discussion on Material Properties taking place on 28th February at UCL, the deadline for proposals has been moved to Friday March 7th.  Make sure yours gets in on time by sending it in!

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Call for Papers

Abstracts of no more than 300 words are invited for submission by Friday 7th March 2014. Please email abstracts to Simon Thomson at medievalsenses@gmail.com.


The Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series is pleased to invite proposals for papers on ‘Sensory Perception in the Medieval World’. This interdisciplinary event intends to consider how sight and other senses are represented and invited by early medieval productions across Europe, and how sight and other senses are used by different disciplines to construct our ideas of the medieval.

Attention is being increasingly brought to the ways in which we understand and interpret written, printed, and physical materials from the early medieval period. This is enhanced by the growing availability of digital resources which enhance the potential for visual perception while reducing the opportunity to use other senses for interpretation.

At the same time, scholarship is becoming more conscious of ways in which artefacts and documents were perceived and used in the period: of how the design of objects, including books and manuscripts, controlled their reception.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of sensory perception, and from researchers in any discipline. Papers are particularly welcome from PhD students and early career researchers.  The conference will take place over the weekend of 12th and 13th April at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

• how objects and documents invite and exploit sensory perception;
• different sensory experiences of the medieval;
• the impact of using resources, such as digital editions, on sensory experience;
• how the senses are represented and explored in early medieval sources;
• experiences of sensory loss, such as blindness and deafness in the early medieval world.

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