At the Annual
International Congress on Medieval Studies
1993‒1995, 1997, and 2004‒
[First published on our first website on 7 July 2006, with updates there and here]
Often the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence participates in the International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) held annually at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Usually we sponsor and co-sponsor Sessions with Papers, Responses, or a Panel Discussion. Sometimes the Session includes a Display of original manuscript and related materials. Occasionally we have provided a Photographic Exhibition of manuscript images and commentary. Some years call for special celebrations, with a Party or Reception. Our practice also includes Trustees’ Meetings or Business Meetings, as appropriate; since 2015, our Open Business Meetings are listed in the Congress Schedule, with an assigned room and provided refreshments.
The “Prequel” in 1992 and Before
Earlier visits to the Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies (1984–1987 and 1989–1992) prepared the way for the participation there of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, once the organization had become established as an entity based at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College in the University of Cambridge, and as an entity of its own. These visits were undertaken by Mildred Budny, who regularly (apart from one year’s absence in 1988, despite the plan to attend and to present a paper) presented papers on various subjects, once the Congress began to feature sessions focused on Anglo-Saxon Studies — successively while she was based at University College London, next at Downing College, Cambridge, and then (from 1989) at the Parker Library.
“The Illustrated Royal Bible from St. Augustine’s Abbey” and
“Additions and Corrections to the Index to Iconographic Contents” (1984)
“The Image of the Ascension in Anglo-Saxon Art” (1985)
” ‘Reading’ and ‘Writing’ Interlace” and
“Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Origins of Opus Anglicanum” (1986)
“The Color Purple in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Late-Antique Legacy” (1987)
“Keeping Up At (or With) the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge” (1989)
“Assembling the Vivian Bible, or, The Guided Tours” (1991)
“New Light on Old English Texts at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge” (1992)
The Abstracts for most of those papers were published in the annual Spring issues of the Old English Newsletter, now online.
By the 1992 Congress, those visits to the Congress included consultations with the Director and Staff of the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, host of the conference, “regarding joint publications and related matters,” as reported in the Third Annual Report to the Leverhulme Trust (1991–1992) for the 5-year Research Project on “The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts”. (See our Publications.) By 1993, the first of those joint publications had appeared, in the form of Matthew Parker and His Books.
I. Sessions Sponsored & Co-Sponsored
In 1993‒1995 and annually since 2003, the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence sponsors Sessions at the Congress.
In the next few years after the 1995 Congress, in the move of its principal base to the United States, the Research Group concentrated its energies on other work, notably:
- the series of its annual Symposia on “The Transmission of the Bible” (1995–2000) held at various centers
- the design, typesetting, indexing, final layout, and camera-ready printing of its
Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art: An Illustrated Catalogue co-published with Medieval Institute Publications in 1997
- the preparation and consolidation of its formation as a Nonprofit Educational Corporation
based in New Jersey (1999–), and
- the commencement of its “New Series” of Seminars, Workshops, Colloquia & Symposia (2001–).
Additional activities can be followed among our Events.
We resumed our Sponsored Sessions at the Congress in 2003, with regular appearances from then onwards. Soon our practice extended also to include Co-Sponsored Sessions (2006–), in collaboration with several organizations, starting with the Societas Magica. Over time, we added the traditions of Business Meetings, Poster Displays (starting with the 2011 Congress), and co-sponsored Receptions (starting with our 2014 Anniversary Reception).
Our Archive of Congress Activities records these proceedings.
Starting in 2006, our first website (no longer online) announced the stages for the preparations and accomplishment of each Congress on a single Page, with updates as the work progressed. Thus that Page reflected only the current, or most recent, stage, while the earlier stages ‘disappeared’ behind the scenes.
Then, the transition to our second, updated website — a transition begun in 2014 and completed in 2015 (You Are Here) — made it possible to issue the announcements for a given Congress in a series of blogposts, rather than overwriting its statements, which had left only the final state in view. Thus, for 2014, the first year of the new approach, there appeared successively, and still online as those distinct, but interrelated and overlapping, entities:
Thus, with our redesigned website (2014–), we can record the different stages of preparation for, and accomplishment of, a given Congress through a series of blogposts. Reflecting the progress through the year, starting with 2015, they may advance in stages, for example:
- the Proposed Events and
- the Call for Papers, through
- the Program Schedule, with
- Programs Announced
- Updates plus Abstracts of Papers, to
- the Congress Report, and
- the 2015 Reception.
It is also possible to exhibit the Posters for a given Congress (which we have produced since 2011) not only within the online Report for that Congress, but also in our Gallery of Posters on Display — which now includes Posters for our other Events as well.
Since 2006 the Research Group has also co-sponsored Sessions with other organizations. This tradition began with the Societas Magica (2006–), with which co-sponsorship continues regularly.
Co-sponsorships also include
- MEARCSTAPA (2009)
- King Alfred’s Notebook LLC (2012–2013)
- Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Florida (2014–).
Publications of Abstracts, Program Booklets, and Papers
Since 2007 we publish on our website the Abstracts of some Papers and Responses presented in the Sessions. The electronic form allows for updates and revisions as their authors wish. The upgraded version of our website (since 2014) allows for images and other media in the Abstracts, as the authors wish.
In 2013 and 2014 we also published the Abstracts of several Papers which were not presented in a co-sponsored Session, as their Speakers were unable to travel to the Congress. Clearly labeled as such, those anticipatory Abstracts record the intentions for the Papers (albeit unpresented) as part of our Sessions, and honor the scholarship of their authors.
The published Abstracts are accessible through our Posts for the individual Congresses and also through the Lists of Abstracts both
Since 2011 we publish Posters for our Sessions — in that first year only for one of the Sessions, and now for all of them in a given year. Laid out in our copyright font Bembino, like this new form of our website (2014–), the Posters include images of manuscripts or other media donated generously for reproduction.
II. Photographic Exhibitions
At the 1993 and 1994 Congresses, the Research Group provided Photographic Exhibitions on “The Integrated Approach to Manuscript Studies” (with variants in the selection of images from one year to the next).
III. “Cast & Crew” Party for the Illustrated Catalogue
At the 1997 Congress, the Research Group held a Party to celebrate the recently completed co-publication of the 2-volume Illustrated Catalogue, years in preparation. The event celebrated our thanks to the staff of Medieval Institute Publications and the Medieval Institute for the achievement of the plan, which first took shape at an earlier Congress.
The Party also gave the opportunity to thank Associates of the Research Group gathered at this Congress for their suggestions, corrections, and improvements during the course of the work. Book-signings were a feature at the Congress, as various Associates and others collected their copies of the publication.
[Update: With the transfer of the distribution from Medieval Institute Publications to the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, it became possible to arrange a special Promotional Offer for the Illustrated Catalogue in time for the 2016 Congress, where, similarly, Associates and others collected their copies, and saved on the costs of shipping.]
At the 2014 Congress, the Societas Magica and the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence held an Anniversary Reception, to celebrate the landmark anniversaries of both organizations (20 years for the Societas and 25/15 years for the Research Group) as well as our collaboration at the Congress through the years.
At the 2015 Congress, we co-sponsored another Reception, this time, with both the Societas Magica and the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University — one of our steadfast sponsors for Events outside the Congress, both in Princeton and elsewhere.
At the 2016 Congress, our Reception was co-sponsored by the Index of Christian Art.
We plan another co-sponsored Reception for the 2017 Congress.
V. Business Meetings
In some years, the Research Group holds a Business Meeting and/or a Board of Trustees’ Meeting at the Congress.
At the 2015 Congress, for the first time, the Business Meeting was listed in the Congress Schedule (formerly online as “www.wmich.edu/medieval/files/schedule-2015.pdf”), now archived as 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies), with an assigned room and time, open to all, including newcomers.
We plan another Open Business Meeting for the 2017 Congress.
Information about the International Congress on Medieval Studies appears on its website, with an online Archive of its printed Program for each year, plus (in more recent years) lists of Corrigenda for the Program insofar as known between the time of printing of the Program and the commencement of the Congress.
We invite you to watch our site and theirs for preparations for future events. As they take shape, we report the Call for Papers and then the Program and Abstracts for coming Sessions and Co-Sponsored Sessions and our other Activities at the Congress.