I’ve held off noting these reports beginning to emerge, because I wanted to put them all together in one post, but it seems like they’re going to trickle in over a relatively longish period, and I’m impatient. Here, I therefore point you, dear reader, in the direction of the admirable Magistra et Mater, who has begun compiling reports on sessions from the 2012 Leeds IMC:
Further reports will be linked back to this post as they appear.
And this segues nicely into a glimpse forward to the IMC this year, which will be the first at the much vaunted new ‘on-campus’ locale. (For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the IMC previously took place at the University of Leeds’ residential halls, which are (or rather, were – they’re apparently being demolished, and some may say ‘good riddance’…) about 25 mins north of the city by bus, set among some charming sports grounds and not-quite-so-charming urban ring-road roundabouts. I will admit that the first time I went to the meeting I failed to note this and booked a ‘handy’ B&B directly opposite the campus proper, which meant I missed out on lots of the late evening shin-digs as I schlepped back to my digs on the last bus home…) I’m not sure yet how I feel about the move. No – actually I am sure: I feel ambivalent. The facilities may indeed be newer, nicer, shinier and better provided with air conditioning, but the fact that we will all be much closer to town, and therefore much closer to lots of alternative options for spending ‘non-conference’ time lurks as a significant potential drawback. There is nothing like the camaraderie built among a couple of thousand people who share the same interests and are thrown together of an evening in one pub and a student bar that my younger siblings would almost certainly call ‘old school’. Plus one could always be guaranteed of finding (a) old friends or (b) new ones if one camped in a strategic spot at one or other of these dispensers of traditional ‘academic apparatus’. Even at Kalamazoo the same level of communal suffering/good will never quite develops because so many of the locals come equipped with wheels and there are tempting places nearby like Bilbo’s Pizza to flee to. I hope to be proven incorrect in fearing that – with the bright lights of Leeds to lure them – half the delegates will nick off to more salubrious watering holes around town rather than staying where I can find them. After all, hanging out (or as we in the professional world call it, networking) is half the fun.
However, that’s a side issue. Really I just wanted to mention that the session I have organised with my friends and colleagues of King’s College London, Christopher Tilley and Richard Cassidy, and the support of Sean Cunningham from TNA, has been accepted and is currently scheduled for the Monday morning (1st July), immediately after the plenary. Here’s the session abstract to whet your appetite (NB. the conference theme this year is Pleasure). We hope to see you there:
The Pleasure of Archives: Uncovering England in the 13th Century
Session 111, Monday 1 July, 11:15-12:45
Among the great pleasures of medieval history is working with original documents. This session draws heavily on unpublished archival materials from The National Archives, Kew, examining elements of royal and lordly administrative culture in 13th-century England. Chris Tilley reassesses the longevity of the political and social power of the Honour of Wallingford; Richard Cassidy elucidates the profits, politics, and practicalities of the recoinage financed by Henry III’s brother, Richard of Cornwall; and Kathleen Neal discusses what considerations influenced the wording of an ideologically-significant letter from Edward I to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.
[Edit: The full program is now online here.]