CPF: Old Norse Poetry in Performance

Old Norse Poetry in Performance: Inheritance and Innovation Following its covid-induced hiatus, the third iteration of the triennial Old Norse Poetry in Performance conference will take place at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, on the 21st and 22nd of June 2023. Building on the successes of the conferences in 2016 and 2019 – which resulted in the recent publication of Old Norse Poetry in Performance (2022), a collection of essays edited by the previous organisers Brian McMahon and Annemari Ferreira – the intention of this conference remains, as before, to platform and develop the network of scholars and practitioners mutually interested in the poetic performance traditions of medieval Scandinavia.

With the theme ‘Inheritance and Innovation’, the 2023 programme aims to reflect even more completely the diversity in the performance traditions of the Old Norse source material, the scholarly traditions within the field, and the new, interdisciplinary perspectives being developed today. To this end, this conference will maintain the format of its previous iterations, showcasing academic research, practical performances, and the possibilities offered by combining the two.

The organisers invite proposals for 20-minute papers and/or performances, which might cover, but need not be limited to, the following:

• Comparative approaches to eddic, skaldic, and rímur performances

• Legacies of performance traditions

• The ‘beyond-the-page’ approach to source texts

• The effects of translation on performance

• Legacies of scholarly traditions

• Interdisciplinary adaptations of Old Norse poems

Proposals should be no more than 300 words and should be sent to oldnorsepoetryinperformance@gmail.com, accompanied by a brief biographical note, by midnight on 17th February 2023.

For more information, please visit the conference website , or contact the organisers, Inés García López, Clare Mulley, Richard Munro, and Ben Chennells, at the email address given above.

Workshop: Staging & Enacting Medieval Mystery Plays

Friday 3 February 2023 (Week 3), 5–6.30pm, at St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall

Join this workshop for tips and guidance on how to adapt medieval mystery plays for modern performance, a workshop for directors and actors alike. Whether you have already signed up to this year’s Medieval Mystery Cycle on 22 April 2023 or are interested but still unsure how to put together a play or how to act, all are welcome! The focus of the workshop will be on how to cut a medieval play script down to an accessible version (of up to 20 minutes), but there will also be an opportunity to match actors and directors and to discuss any other practical questions you might have on site at St Edmund Hall – and to enjoy tea and cake!

The workshop will be led by David Wiles, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and a veteran director of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor.

Meanwhile, we’re still looking for groups to join the Medieval Mystery Cycle: have a look at the original blog post with the sign-up link!

TEAMS Middle English Texts Series Digital Redesign User Survey

Over its thirty-two years of publishing, METS has published and provided free online access to hundreds of digital editions of medieval texts, many of which would otherwise be rare, prohibitively expensive, or nonexistent as traditional print editions. These open-access editions have made it possible for instructors, students, and researchers alike to teach, learn, and advance scholarship on medieval British literature wherever they are in the world. An open-access digital collection, however, is only as accessible and useful as its website and user interface allow it to be – and over the past few years, it has become clear that both the METS website and its approach to digital editions need an update. Feedback from users like you will be pivotal in reimagining both with the needs of our diverse user base in mind. 

This user survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. At the end, you will have the option to indicate if you would be open to (1) sharing further thoughts on the digital redesign in a follow-up conversation and/or (2) helping with usability testing for the redesigned website in the future. 

Finally, please note that this survey will stop collecting responses on January 9, 2023, at 11:59 pm Eastern Time (UTC-5:00), so we ask that you please complete the survey before this deadline.

On behalf of METS, thank you for considering this request. We look forward to hearing from you.

Survey Link: https://tinyurl.com/mets-redesign 

CfP: Postgraduate Conference 2023 (University of Bristol): Identities, Communities and ‘Imagined Communities’

When: 14-15 April 2023

Abstracts and enquiries: cms-conference-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk
Deadline: 10 February 2023

After the success of the 2022 ‘Transitions’ Conference, we invite you to the next instalment of the longest-standing medievalist PGR conference series. This year’s theme of Identities, Communities, and ‘Imagined Communities’ marks the 40-year anniversary of the publication of Benedict Anderson’s book on national identity. Observing all the uses medievalists have made of his theories in subsequent years, the conference celebrates the interdisciplinary currents that have benefitted academia in recent decades – Anderson, after all, did not initially believe his theories were suitable for the medieval world. We welcome respondents and delegates to reflect on how we use concepts of identity and community more broadly across medieval history. Society’s interest in its identities is arguably more topical today than it was in 1983 when Imagined Communities was first published. How did medieval communities see and perform their identities, how did this change over time, and why? What role did identities play – be they political, linguistic, or religious – in the consolidation of some communities and the subjugation of others?

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
• National Identities
• Religious Identities
• Sexuality and Gender Identities
• Ethnoreligious Communities
• Marcher Identities
• Urban Communities
• County Communities
• Frontiers, Conquest, and Expansion
• Law and Custom
• Migration and Xenophobia
• Ethnic Origins and Contemporary Myths
• Art and Architecture
• Seals and Heraldry
• Patronage and Memory
• Sovereignty
• Local Autonomy
• Archaeology
• Nationalism
• Concepts in History-writing

We welcome abstracts from postgraduates and early-career researchers, exploring all the aspects and
approaches to concepts of identity and communities, in all relevant disciplines pertaining to the medieval
period, broadly construed c.500-c.1500. Abstracts are 300 words for 20-minute papers. This year’s
conference will be a hybrid event online and on the campus of the University of Bristol.

The 2023 Medium Ævum Essay Prize and Grants

The Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature is delighted to share details of the 2023 Medium Ævum Essay Prize and available grants:

2023 Medium Ævum Essay Prize

Race your Word-Wyvern to glory! Postgraduates and those recently graduated with a higher degree are invited to submit an essay on a topic that falls within the range of the interests of Medium Ævum in the medieval period (up to c. 1500).

The winner of the Essay Prize will receive a cash prize of £500, together with £250 for any books available from Bennett & Kerr Booksellers (including any from the Society’s own catalogue) & £250 of funding towards conference attendance. The winning article will also be considered for publication in Medium Ævum, subject to the usual editorial procedures of the journal. Entries must be submitted by Thursday, 2 December 2022 and further details on entry criteria and how to submit are available on our website: https://aevum.space/EssayPrize

Conference Funding and Research Travel Bursaries

Planning an event or research trip? Apply for the Society’s available conference funding and travel bursaries! We are now open for physical and online conference funding applications, and are particularly interested in providing sponsorship which facilitates wide conference access and participation for unwaged graduate and early-career medievalists. Conference grant applications are generally open to Society members and should be made at least three months ahead of the planned conference date, please find the Society’s guidelines for applicants on our website: https://aevum.space/conferences/funding

The Society’s Research Travel Bursaries are to support relevant research by scholars, at any stage in their career, who are not in receipt of the requisite funding from other sources. The value of all grants is between £300 and £1000. There are two application rounds each year, with the deadlines falling on 1st September and 1st March; applicants will be informed of the Society’s decision within three weeks of the deadline. We also welcome applications for financial support to obtain images of manuscripts from libraries or archives to which the applicant is unable to travel. Details on how to apply may be viewed on our website: https://aevum.space/bursaries

Two men giving out money from a chest, from Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D. 4. 17

Society Membership

Not yet a member of the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature? Consider subscribing for the low cost of £20 a year, or £10 a year for graduate students. Membership benefits include receipt of the Medium Ævum journal in print and digital formats, and a range of discounts on the Society’s monograph series and events. Take a look and register online our website: https://aevum.space/user/register

The Medieval Mystery Cycle is back!

The next performance of the Medieval Mystery Plays is held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall, 12noon-3:30pm. All welcome! The full programme is available here.

12.00: Extracts from Piers Plowman (Swonken ful harde) Middle English
12.30: The Nativity and Salutation (English Faculty) Middle English
13.00: The Innocents (Les perles innocentes) 16th-century French
—13.30 BREAK—
14.00: The Passion (Sorores Sanctae Hildae) Latin and German
14.30: The Harrowing of Hell (Medieval Germanists) Middle High German
15.00: The Last Judgement (Past and Present Teddy Students) Modern English

Welcome to the third incarnation of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle! As in 2019 and 2022, this highlight of the Oxford medieval calendar offers a variety of plays in different medieval and modern languages, staged at several stations in the beautiful grounds of St Edmund Hall. Cycles of plays retelling stories from the Bible were a popular form of entertainment in the Middle Ages, which we are only too happy to revive for modern audiences. Admission is free and you are welcome to turn up at any time.

Read the original call for participation: Sign-up is now open for the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle! Just follow this link to propose a play and to join one of the highlights of the Oxford Medieval Studies calendar, which will be held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall.

Following a hugely popular medieval tradition, we are looking for groups to perform a series of short plays retelling stories from the Bible. We are keen to cover a wide variety of (medieval) languages, but you don’t have to be a theatre professional or even a medievalist – all you need is lots of enthusiasm for what is above all a fun and unique experience. In the last years, plays have included:

  • The Creation and Fall
  • The Killing of Abel
  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • The Annunciation and Visitation
  • Shepherds
  • Wise Men
  • Herod the Great
  • John the Baptist
  • Lazarus
  • The Crucifixion
  • The Harrowing of Hell
  • The Resurrection
  • The Last Judgement

Feel free to propose other plays, or even to write your own – as long as the topic is not already taken, so don’t wait too long! You can see which plays have already been proposed here.

We have previously had plays in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, but offers for plays in other languages, including Welsh, Dutch, Latin, or Hebrew are also very welcome! Some mystery plays are easily accessible online: this includes plays in Middle English (the York, Towneley, and N-Town plays), Old French (the Seinte Resurreccion), Middle High German (the Innsbrucker Osterspiel), or Old Spanish (the Auto de los Reyes Magos). And don’t worry if you don’t have enough actors or haven’t found a group yet: we can help you put out a call for actors and link you up with other people interested in participating. All you have to do is get in touch.

For inspiration, have a look at the mystery cycles of the last few years! You can even watch recordings of the cycles in 2019 and 2022 on YouTube. (Or, alternatively, you can watch the much more professional recordings of the 1985 National Theatre Mysteries.) A small budget is available for props and costumes.

Watch the 2022 medieval English master’s students rising from the tomb as multiple Lazari!

Timeline:

  • Sign up now by following this link or emailing Michael Angerer, the Medieval Mystery Cycle convenor!
  • We will hold a workshop on how to cut longer plays on Friday of Week 1 in Hilary Term at 3–5pm (20 January 2023) on site at St Edmund Hall. This is open both to fully fledged groups and aspiring directors. [Edit: This workshop has been postponed to Friday of Week 3 at 5–6.30pm (3 February 2023)]
  • We will hold a workshop on voice projection at the end of Hilary Term.
  • You will have the opportunity to rehearse on location at St Edmund Hall during Week 0 of Trinity Term.
  • Dress rehearsals will take place on the morning of Saturday of Week 0 of Trinity Term (22 April 2023).
  • The Mystery Cycle will be performed from 12–5pm on Saturday 22 April 2023, with two half-hour breaks for tea, coffee, and cake.

Cake sale: we are also looking for people to bake cake and help run a charity cake stall on the day – if you’re interested, please get in touch!

Workshop with Prof. Ardis Butterfield: Song and Lyric

Thursday 3 November, 3-5pm, in New College, Lecture Room 4

We are looking for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers who are working on a medieval song or lyric text that they would like to discuss in the workshop with Professor Butterfield.

All that is required is to provide an edition of the text of the song or lyric, ideally with a translation and edition of the music (if there is any). The workshop will be an informal opportunity to workshop songs/lyric texts together and benefit from Professor Butterfield’s expertise.

If you would like to contribute a song/lyric, please send your suggestion to joseph.mason@new.ox.ac.uk by Friday 14th October.

You are very welcome to attend the workshop without bringing along a text to discuss. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to joseph.mason@new.ox.ac.uk by Friday 28th October for catering purposes.

Header image: Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 848
Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse) fol. 124r

CFP: German Historical Institute Medieval History Seminar

The German Historical Institutes in London and Washington, D.C., are excited to
announce the thirteenth Medieval History Seminar, to be held in London from 5 to 7
October 2023. The seminar will bring together Ph.D. candidates and recent Ph.D.
recipients (2022/2023) in medieval history from American, Canadian, British, Irish, and
German universities for three days of scholarly discussion and collaboration. Participants
will have the opportunity to present their work to their peers and distinguished scholars
from both sides of the Atlantic.

Conveners for the 2023 seminar will be Fiona Griffiths
(Stanford University), Michael Grünbart (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster),
Jamie Kreiner (University of Georgia), Simon MacLean (University of St Andrews), Len
Scales (Durham University), and Dorothea Weltecke (Humboldt-Universität Berlin).


The Medieval History Seminar invites proposals from all areas and periods of medieval
history and is not limited to historians working on German history or German-speaking
regions of Europe. All methodological approaches are welcome. Applications from
neighbouring disciplines are welcome if the projects have a distinct historical focus.
The seminar is bi-lingual and papers and discussions will be conducted both in German
and English. Participants must have a good reading and listening comprehension of both
languages. Successful applicants must be prepared to submit a paper of approximately 5,000
words by August 15, 2023. They are also expected to prepare and present a commentary on
the papers of another session.


Travel and accommodation expenses of the participants will be covered.
Applications may be submitted in German or English and should include:

  • § a CV (including institutional affiliation, postal address, and e-mail)
  • § a description of the proposed paper (4–5 pages, double-spaced)
  • § one letter of recommendation


Please e-mail a single PDF-file with all application documents to: events@ghil.ac.uk
The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2023.


For further information, please contact Stephan Bruhn: s.bruhn@ghil.ac.uk
German Historical Institute 17 Bloomsbury Square
Tel. +44–(0)20–7309 2050 London WC1A 2NJ (UK)

Graduate Students: OMS is hiring!

OMS is one of the largest forums in the world for interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages, bringing together over 200 academics and a large body of graduate students. If you would like to be involved behind the scenes, we have three exciting (paid) opportunities to get involved! Though these are advertised as three separate posts, we welcome applications from students who would like to combine two or even all three posts:

1) OMS Social Media Officer: The Social Media Officer is in charge of connecting all of Oxford’s medievalists via the OMS Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and also occasionally posting on here, the OMS blog. You will be responsible for posting across these platforms to advertise OMS events, opportunities and news. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications Officer (Dr Luisa Ostacchini) and the Events Coordinator. Familiarity with social media advertising is beneficial but not essential: this is an ideal way to gain technical know-how about social media, advertising and marketing that can be used in your academic career and beyond. The post usually comprises an hour or two a week. To read more about the post from the out-going postholder, Llewelyn Hopwood, including tips and tricks for social media success, see his blog post here.

2) OMS Events Coordinator: The Events Coordinator ensures that all of our in-person and online OMS events run smoothly. You will organise the google calendar, oversee the OMS Teams and YouTube Channels, respond to email queries about events, set up Zoom streaming events, assist in the real-time running of events (mostly hybrid and online, but also in-person), and serve as a point of liaison point between events organisers and the rest of the OMS Team. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications Officer (Dr Luisa Ostacchini) and the Social Media Officer. Some familiarity with Teams and Zoom is necessary, but you by no means need to be an expert in these software packages as you can learn on the job. The post usually comprises an hour or two a week. To read more about the post from the out-going postholder, Tom Revell, including insight into the exciting range of events he helped to facilitate, see his blog post here.

3) Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023: the graduate convenor will take the mantle of the operation from Dr Eleanor Baker by organising the Medieval Mystery Cycle, which takes place on 22 April 2023. You will liase with the various Mystery Players and directors, help to coordinate workshops, and ensure that the plays run smoothly on the day. Experience in events organisation and a love of theatre are beneficial, but not essential. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications team, and Mystery Players from across the university and beyond. To get a sense for the scope of the project, and to see the plays performed in previous years, see seh.ox.ac.uk/mystery-cycle.
Payment for all of these roles is at the standard rate for graduate students, and is billed by timesheet — up to a maximum of six hours per week per role, although actual hours will usually comprise one or two hours per week per role.

Please send expressions of interest to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith by 30 September 2022, 12noon, at medieval@torch.ox.ac.uk, including a one-page CV and a cover email explaining why you are interested in the job(s) and what experience you bring to it.

Header image: Matthew Paris Elephant from Parker MS 016II fol 152v (See the manuscript online via Parker Library on the Web)

Outgoing OMS Events Coordinator: Tom Revell

The primary reason I threw my hat into the ring two years ago (as a first-year DPhil student) to help OMS run their events was because I was passionate about trying to help increase the access to and reach of the great variety of outstanding events that OMS was hosting. Especially in the deep-pandemic, when everyone (including myself) was learning how to make the best of things being done entirely online or in a hybrid format, it felt well worth giving a shot to help keep the medievalist community, in Oxford and abroad, in contact with one another in such a way. With this wish, a very modest amount of experience in running Zoom events and editing video, and having attended OMS events in the past, I was granted the opportunity to coordinate events for OMS. However, after two wonderful years, it is time for another person to take the reins.

The role requires overseeing the OMS Teams and YouTube Channels, being responsive by email to any queries about events, setting up Zoom streaming events, coordinating with individuals and institutions (such as TORCH, or the Bodleian Conservators or Centre for the Study of the Book) in both the preparation for and the real-time running of events (mostly hybrid and online, but also in-person), and maintaining open channels of communication before, during, and after events with the organisers and the rest of the OMS Team. For example, for an event such as the Murbach Hymns hybrid webinar (organised by Luise Morawetz), I was involved from the planning stage, helped to gather equipment and test rooms, monitored audio and visual in real-time for virtual presenters and attendees, and facilitated, recorded, edited, and uploaded the evening’s bilingual Singing from the Manuscript session (https://youtu.be/p4zImJl8ppY).

The Events Coordinator really comes down to two things: being organised, and being adaptable. Things will go wrong, but communicating with everyone involved and putting things in place ahead of time can save you when the Wi-Fi fails, when batteries run out, when someone is sick, or when the weather turns. Having an interest in much of the material is a bonus, but any medievalist should have this; and a little knowledge of any medieval or modern languages wouldn’t do any harm either, although this is not at all essential.

I had the privilege of facilitating a wide range of events: conferences, lectures, colloquia, plays, memorials, complines, and launches, all down to the variety of interests of medievalists at Oxford and around the world. One of my personal favourites was Alyssa Steiner’s Ship of Fools multi-manuscript event (https://youtu.be/8g3z6k4CSUg), showcasing surviving versions of the texts in different languages and editions that survive in Oxford, London, and Bamberg. Among the other events I was involved in, it was a real privilege to host Professor William Chester Jordan’s OMS Lecture (https://youtu.be/PWRVIX4B3hE), a memorial for Peter Ganz (https://youtu.be/2rhXw0YQOWk), and another OMS Lecture delivered by the inimitable Dr Jim Harris (https://youtu.be/vKs5wKg2Eh4). I would be remiss not to mention the other huge perk of the job: working with all the wonderful people whose research inspires these events, and alongside the amazing OMS Team (including Nikki from TORCH) who are each as delightful as the last.

I would encourage anyone with a spare couple of hours per week (though often less is required), any knowledge of Zoom and Teams, and a desire to help contribute to the continuing evolution of Oxford Medieval Studies, to throw their hat into the ring.

Tom Revell is a DPhil student in Old English poetry at Balliol College, and a College Lecturer at Keble College. He is also a Research Assistant on the CLASP Project.

Main image credit: Frontispiece of Bible Moralisee, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:God_the_Geometer.jpg