As I recently tweeted to British Library curator Julian Harrison, before the year is out we will all have reached #PeakMagnaCarta. But that time is not yet upon us!
In this 800th anniversary year, I’ve already been (albeit briefly and unexpectedly) something of a radio celebrity, talking about thirteenth century England on ABC radio in three capital cities across Australia. Heady days, folks; heady days! But we’re only just beginning. There are any number of public events, lectures, exhibitions and conferences planned. I won’t be at all of them, but I admit I’m going to gorge on this unaccustomed appetite for my period and specialty while I can.
Here’s a curated selection of Magna Carta related activities for you to peruse:
April 15, The University of Melbourne. Paul Brand of Oxford University will deliver the first Miegunyah Fellowship lecture of 2015 on the topic of ‘The First Century of Magna Carta and the Law’. A free public event, but registration is required. Go here for details.
June 1-August 31, Palace Green Library, Durham. A major exhibition Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, will feature the only surviving copy of the 1216 issue. Durham will really know what it’s doing after its experience of putting on the successful Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition a couple of years ago, so this should be a great show. More details here.
Until September 1, British Library, London. I already have my catalogue for this exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, even though I won’t see it until June (see image!). I can hardly wait. The most wonderful collection of objects has been put together to contextualise Magna Carta in various stages of its creation and reception from the thirteenth century until now. See it, but book [link here], because it’s going to be busy!
Until September 30, Hereford Cathedral. A new exhibition, Magna Carta Treasures. This one will include the cathedral’s fine copy of the 1217 issue, as well as the only surviving copy of the royal writ associated with the distribution of the charter in 1215. Cool right? Details here.
June 17-19, Kings College London. The Magna Carta Project Conference. This is going to be A-MAZ-ING. And includes a private viewing of the blockbuster British Library exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. Details will be online at the Magna Carta Project soon. See you there.
June-September, Lincoln Castle. The Lincoln copy of the 1215 Magna Carta will go on display at the newly refurbished Lincoln Castle, as part of a festival of exhibitions across the city. Visit the amazing cathedral while you’re there.
July 6-9, International Medieval Congress, Leeds. This conference has something for everyone, but if Magna Carta is your bag, come to the Thirteenth Century England strand, running throughout the day on Wednesday 8th July. Program here.
September 7-9, Selwyn College, Cambridge. The 16th biennial Thirteenth Century England conference, on the theme of ‘Uncertainty’. The program is here.
October 30, Canberra. Public Symposium hosted by The Department of Senate and the Rule of Law Institute of Australia. I’m speaking at this one, on the topic of ‘Encountering Magna Carta from the 13th to the 21st Centuries’. Come for the whole day and squeeze in a visit to the 1297 engrossment on display at Parliament House, one of only 2 copies housed outside the UK.
Throughout the year, Salisbury Cathedral. A new display for the cathedral’s fine copy of the 1215 issue with a rather catchy title: Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words. Details here.
If you’re still up for more after that lot, browse the list of events at the Magna Carta 800th website here: http://magnacarta800th.com/events/ (And if anyone’s asking, I wouldn’t say no to one of their commemorative paperweights!)
Addendum. Try typing ‘Magna Carta’ 10 times fast without typing #MangaCarta by mistake! It can’t be done I tell you!