International Postgraduate Community in Arthurian Studies launched by Bangor University
For the first time in its 16-year history, this year’s Medievalism Transformed conference exchanged its beloved ‘College on the Hill’ dwelling for an entirely virtual space in collaboration with the Centre for Arthurian Studies. Over the course of two days (18-19 September 2020), the Centre welcomed over 150 speakers and attendees from all over the world to exchange ideas about ‘Movement through Arthurian Legend’. The conference investigated how texts are re-invented across time, what role texts play in their historical moment and beyond, and how texts engage with moving times, cultures, and spaces. Some highlights included: a panel on ‘Material Movement’, which looked at Arthurian animals on the move as well as the role of cartography in Medieval Welsh texts; a panel on the movement of language through medieval texts; a panel dedicated to the Welsh King Arthur; and various panels on Early Modern and Modern adaptations of the Arthurian legend. The highpoint of the conference was, of course, our keynote speaker, Dr Aisling Byrne who is Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Reading, and who gave a paper entitled ‘Medieval Arthurian Texts in Motion’. Although the conference had to adjust to an online format following pandemic complications, its online presence attracted a number of scholars from around the world. Presenters from as far away as North America (Yale University, Memorial University, and Western University to name a few) and as close as Bangor University, the University of Oxford, and the University of Edinburgh (again to name but a few) were able to come together for some much enjoyed Arthurian debate. Further, the conference’s online presence welcomed an eclectic medieval audience, which included a number of highly distinguished Arthurian scholars as well as some alumni from the Centre for Arthurian studies. In the face of a global pandemic, this two-day online conference provided a positive encouragement to young medievalists as well as generated some much-needed connection in these troubling times. Further, by virtue of its online format the conference was able to play a part in breaking the barrier between academia and the broader community thereby allowing more people to access and engage with academic knowledge. Overall, this year’s Medievalism Transformed conference was a success and the organisers look forward to welcoming back presenters and attendees in 2021.
Over the next few weeks, as a follow-up to the conference, we will be inviting presenters to contribute their revised abstracts to be published on the Centre for Arthurian Studies website. This will provide a concluding summary to the ideas that developed from this two-day event for those who may have missed the event and for those who wish to re-visit some of the papers presented.
Publication date: 28 October 2020