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Lincoln Cathedral (image: wikimedia commons)

Lincoln Cathedral (image: wikimedia commons)

I’m really looking forward to June-July. Not only am I hitting the conference boards (and the legendary dance floor) at the Leeds IMC, but also spending several weeks in Lincoln as International Visiting Fellow in Medieval History. I’ll be taking the first steps in an exciting new research project while there, looking in the county archives and university and cathedral collections for examples of anonymity in different genres of text – more on that in another post. I’ll also be giving a talk on new work at the Religious Men in the Middle Ages conference, a joint event of Lincoln and Huddersfield Universities under the auspices of the Bishop’s Eye network. Importantly, and excitingly, I’ll also be running a workshop for local postgraduates in medieval history, examining some of the methodological insights into blending cultural and political history with diplomatic that I built up over my doctoral work. It’s going to be great fun!

I’ve never been to Lincoln before, so I am really looking forward to this visit from a tourist perspective too. I can’t wait to visit the amazing cathedral.

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So! (or rather Hwæt!)[1] My dissertation has just been passed, and it’s winging its electronic way to the printer and binder as I type (hat tip: I always use White’s, whenever I do a PhD!). One day, perhaps soon, it will be a book which all of you can read (if you can be bothered… if not, I’ll forgive you. Probably.). But the book won’t be quite the same, and it certainly won’t have quite the same acknowledgements in the front. In reflecting on the journey from thesis to book, it occurred to me that since this version will ultimately be read by few people, very few people will ever see the list of thank-yous that were important enough for me to put in the acknowledgements section. So I’m sharing them with you here, just so that my thanks are on record publicly, and because lots of people out there are awesome, friendly, helpful, wonderful colleagues, and that should be celebrated!

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Magistra et Mater has suggested a bloggers’ meetup at the IMC next week. Planned details follow. The more the merrier!

Monday 1 July @ 9 pm in the Terrace Bar (Leeds University Union)

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:

IMC 2012 report 1: rules, filth and gender

IMC 2012 report 2: an early medieval sandwich

IMC 2012 report 3: Hincmar and the rest

Further reports will be linked back to this post as they appear.

Bodington Hall is for sale. Some may not be sad, others will miss it with the kind of nostalgia that only comes from having adapted to crummy conditions and found it a bonding experience...

Bodington Hall is for sale. Some may not be sad, others will miss it with the kind of nostalgia that only comes from having adapted to crummy conditions and found it to be a bonding experience… Photo by Particulations.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Some readers will know that I am a self-confessed conference junkie. I thrive on the academic and social interactions that conferences facilitate. To me, a conference is like a giant party of all my old friends (and many friends I haven’t yet made), all of whom are interested in the same stuff as me, and have deliberately gathered together to talk about it over several days and a few drinks (or, let’s be honest, many…). It gives me ideas and it gives me energy, even though it is also completely exhausting. Add in the opportunity to go crazy at the bookstalls and to galavant about the countryside in good company ogling the local medieval remains, and it’s simply so much fun and so stimulating, there’s probably a law against it somewhere.

And so – as strange as it may sound to the uninitiated – it’s especially heartbreaking not to be in Leeds this week, where the annual International Medieval Congress is taking place. I suspect it’s true that taking part in these extravaganzas matters much more when one is normally separated from the majority of one’s colleagues by several thousand kilometres of ocean, but it certainly matters to me. This is the first time I’ve missed it in four years and, as I have discovered, having a Really Good Reason doesn’t make it any more bearable.

Did I mention they also have a *really cool* poster? Click through for the 2012 program…

So by way of a rather poor substitute for being present, this is a small shout out to those of you lucky enough to be there and an injunction to dance your little hearts out on my behalf. Don’t forget, also, that next year’s call for papers is already out, and you can put it in your diaries for 1-4 July, 2013. The theme will be Pleasure, which could hardly be more apt.[1] Be there or be very, very sad.

For now, I look forward to the conference reports that will presumably begin to appear online sometime soon(ish) from various special correspondents… I’ll point at them when that happens.


[1] And apparently I am not the only person who thinks so! I refer you to this amusing site: medievalhistorianryangosling.tumblr.com [Edit: link now pinned to the relevant picture]

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I teach and research at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the School of Philosophical, Historial and International Studies, Monash University (Australia). Views expressed here are my own and not representative of the CMRS, SOPHIS or Monash.

You can also find my academic profile on Academia.edu

Twitter: @KB_Neal

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