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CfP: Leeds 2020.

Leeds. If you’re a medievalist, you automatically think of the International Medieval Congress (which is the European equivalent to Kalamazoo). It’s a fantastic congress – I’m tempted to write “event” instead. I’ve only been there once, but eventually, I’ll make it back again. There’s always a huge programme, split into sessions with specific topics, and the sessions are organised by conference participants, who then look for papers fitting the topic.

One of my colleagues from the textile fraction is co-organising a session in Leeds next year, which will run on July 6-9. It’s called

The Art of Borders: Examining the meaning and function of borders, edges and thresholds in early medieval art.

This session explores how medieval art incorporated, established or broke down borders in both real and metaphorical forms as understood through material objects. Drawing on physical, visual and conceptual engagement with borders and edges, the material forms of painting, manuscript illumination, stained glass, metalwork, sculpture, textiles and embroidery are all understood to use physical and imaginary borders to provide meaning and impart messages for those who came into contact with them. These encounters ranged from the moment of their creation, through their continued use and reuse, to their deposition or preservation and use today in the settings of contemporary scholarship and public display. We are seeking papers which explore the use of visual, metaphorical and conceptual borders in medieval art, exploring how these were understood and used both by early medieval society, and from a current scholarly perspective. Paper proposals are encouraged that focus on practical and sensory engagement with art, as well as those speaking from theoretical standpoints.

Paper topics might include but are not limited to:

  • How physical borders and edges create and craft meaning.
  • How the development of Visual Physiology has been used to help us explore the use and meaning of art in earlier societies.
  • What it means to draw attention to the edges of things in early medieval art.
  • The transformative and/or transgressional nature of borders and edges
  • The symbolic or material significance of borders on visual objects

Original proposals are sought for twenty-minute papers. Please submit a working title and a 250-word abstract by 1st September 2019 to Dr Alexandra Makin at and Dr Meg Boulton at

For information relating to the Congress, including information about fees and bursaries, please see

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