Live at Leeds (and elsewhere)

Those who know me (or even those who have already been following me for a while) won’t be surprised to hear that I have never subscribed to the publish-or-perish-paradigm and that I firmly believe in quality over quantity. When it comes to conference presentations, for instance, I have always been convinced that squeezing too many of them into your schedule will inevitably compromise their quality. My rule-of-thumb is that two presentations per year is pretty much the perfect number: It’s just about sufficient for both your face and your research to get noticed by your peers, but it stills leaves you with enough time to take care of all the other stuff on your to-do-list (you know: research, publications, teaching, grading, administration etc.).

However, like the Pirate Code, this is more of a guideline than an actual rule, so this year I wound up with no fewer than five conference presentations on my plate (and I’m actually considering applying for another one). The first of them already took place in January in Switzerland, and I will return to that same country for the final one in autumn (more on that in due time). Right now, though, I have three upcoming appearances at conferences in fair England, so I thought I’d give my UK readers a heads-up in case you’re interested to hear one (or more) of my talks. So, here are the dates for my, er, upcoming UK tour (should I make t-shirts?):

  • Next week, I will be speaking at the Third Postgraduate Monasticism Conference: Monastic Myths – Origins, Identities, Legacies at the University of Leeds, 16-17 May 2014. I’m on Saturday afternoon, right after lunch, and will present hopefully interesting thoughts on Word and Image in Cistercian Foundation Narratives from Fourteenth-Century Austria. (For the complete conference programme see here.)
  • Then, on July 5-6, you’ll find me in London at a conference dedicated to Gothic Ivories: Content and Context, which is jointly organised by The Courtauld Institute of Art and the British Museum. The title of my paper is Buying, Gifting, Storing: Ivory Madonnas in Documentary Sources from Late Medieval Central Europe, and according to the provisional programme it is scheduled for Saturday morning (please note the word ‘provisional’, though – the final programme will be made available in the near future on the website of the Gothic Ivories Project).
  • Right after that, it’s back to Leeds again for the International Medieval Congress, taking place July 7-10, where I’m speaking about Works of Art in Monastic Chronicles from Early Fourteenth-Century Austria. I’m in session 1718 which, I’m afraid, is on Thursday afternoon, a time slot at which many congress delegates are usually already on their way home and attendance rates are accordingly low. Last year, for example, I was in a session with no more than seven people in the room, and that’s including the speakers, the moderator and myself. So let’s see how that goes… (For more details on the session see the conference programme).

One of the sources that will appear in at least two, perhaps even in all three of the above conference papers: the Liber Fundatorum Zwetlensis, c. 1310, Zwettl Abbey – the image shows a detail from fol. 64v, Leutold and Agnes of Kuenring as Donors of Zwettl Abbey (Image in public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

From the titles of my papers you may already have gathered that they all deal with roughly the same time period and area (Central Europe, especially but not exclusively Austria, from c. 1250-1400) and that they even have something like a recurrent theme, i.e. a preoccupation with written sources. So, if you’re interested in these kinds of things and happen to be in London or Leeds on one of the dates indicated above, it’d be great to see you there! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a conference paper to write…

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