7th EMICS Conference – Stories and Storytelling in the Medieval World – CALL FOR PAPERS

Stories and Storytelling in the Medieval World: an Interdisciplinary Conference

Institute of Archaeology, UCL; April 2015 (Dates TBC)

þo scal við saugu súpa. en ǽi ofmikit drecka sœmð.

er saugu at segia ef hæyrenðr til lyða. en tapat starfi at hafna at hæyra. 

One is to drink when stories are told, but not too much:

it is an honour to tell a story if people listen, but it is a wasted effort if nobody listens.

The Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series is pleased to invite proposals for papers on ‘Stories and Storytelling in the Medieval World’. This interdisciplinary event intends to explore how stories were used, told, and received in different Early Medieval contexts. Discussion of the stories we tell and the use of stories in teaching about the period is also welcomed. As with previous EMICS events, a selection of papers will be put forward for publication.

The shaping and sharing of narrative has always been key in the negotiation and recreation of reality for individuals and cultural groups. Some stories, indeed, seem to possess a life of their own: claiming a peculiar agency and taking on distinct voices which speak across time and space. How, for example, do objects, manuscripts and other artefacts communicate alternative or complementary narratives that transcend textual and linguistic boundaries? As well as the stories themselves, scholarship is increasingly interested in how stories were told and received, from communal dramatic recreations to records produced for private meditation.

EMICS aims to bring a range of disciplines, including manuscript and literary studies, art history, archaeology and history, together. Consideration will be given to how stories can be created, reshaped, and re-experienced; to how the experience of narratives creates meaning; and to how the meaning of stories shifts across different contexts and media.  Case studies from different disciplines will provoke a conversation between fields of study about the making and decoding of stories in Early Medieval worlds.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of storytelling, from researchers in any discipline, and considering any medieval culture. Papers from PhD students and early career researchers are particularly welcomed. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • stories re-used in different ways across a culture or period;
  • storification of cultural challenges, such as the creation of monsters or myths;
  • the construction of spaces and objects for storytelling or in response to stories;
  • how stories were told or received in particular contexts or formats;
  • how materials negotiate different modes of speaking and storytelling;
  • the use of stories and storytelling in teaching and exploring Early Medieval worlds.

Abstracts of 300-500 words are invited for submission by 30 January 2015. Please email abstracts to the conference committee at EMICSstorytelling@gmail.com.

6th EMICS Conference: Sensory Perception and the Medieval World

Sensory Perception and the Medieval World

6th EMICS Conference

12-13th April 2014

Participants will consider the ways in which we understand and interpret written, printed, and physical materials from the early medieval period. This is enhanced by the growing availability of digital resources which enhance the potential for visual perception while reducing the opportunity to use other senses for interpretation.

At the same time, scholarship is becoming more conscious of ways in which artefacts and documents were perceived and used in the period: of how the design of objects, including books and manuscripts, controlled their reception.

Papers include discussions of the role of digital editions of texts, the impact of art, perceptions of deafness, the sensory experience of manuscripts, and the presentation and exploitation of the senses in Old English, Old Norse, and Medieval Literature.


Institute of Archaeology, UCL


Click to download the Sensory Perception programme, or link to it here.


3rd EMICS Conference: Starcraft: Watching the Heavens in the Early Middle Ages

Starcraft: Watching the Heavens in the Early Middle Ages

3rd EMICS Conference

30th June – 1st July 2012

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the UCL Department of English Language and Literature.


The UCL Institute of Archaeology, University College London


Click to download the Starcraeft_Programme, or link to it online here.

2nd EMICS Conference: Beasts in the Anglo-Saxon World

2nd EMICS Conference: Beasts in the Anglo-Saxon World

Beasts in the Anglo-Saxon World

2nd EMICS Conference

11th – 12th June 2011.

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the UCL Department of English Language and Literature.


The UCL Institute of Archaeology, University College London


A review of this conference by Melissa Herman (University of York) in Papers from the Institute of Archaeology (21) can be found here.

A volume of essays based on this conference, entitled Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia, edited by Michael Bintley and Tom Williams, will be published by Boydell and Brewer Ltd. in 2015. Further information is on its way… 

1st EMICS Conference: Woodlands, Trees, and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World

Woodlands, Trees, and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World

1st EMICS conference.

13th – 15th November, 2009

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the UCL Department of English Language and Literature.


The UCL Institute of Archaeology, University College London

Keynote speakers:

  • John Blair
  • Oliver Rackham

Tour on Friday 13th November

A guided tour of the Museum of London stores and new Medieval Gallery by Dr Damian Goodburn.

Panels: 14-15 November

John Baker: Trees and Woodland in the Anglo-Saxon Landscape

Sarah Semple: Gardens of the Gods: plants, trees and groves in the pre-Christian landscape

Jane Sidell: (title tbc)

Gustav Milne, Andrew Reynolds: Wood and Timber in Anglo-Saxon Material Culture

Martin Comey: The wooden drinking vessels in the Sutton Hoo ship burial: materials, morphology and usage

Richard Darrah:From tool marks to tree rings: the archaeological evidence for timber use in Anglo-Saxon England

Damian Goodburn: Defining the key characteristics of the work of Anglo-Saxon woodworkers or ‘treewrights

Carole Morris: Anglo-Saxon lathe-turning: tools, techniques and products

Richard North: Trees and Woodland in Anglo-Saxon Religion, Art, and Literature

Mike Bintley: The south Sandbach Cross ‘Ancestors of Christ’ panel in its cultural contexts

Clive Tolley: What is a ‘World Tree, and why should we expect to find one in Anglo-Saxon England?

Eric Fernie: Timber Buildings in the Anglo-Saxon World

Mark Gardiner: Wrought by human hand: the employment and image of timber in late-Saxon buildings

Michael Shapland: The great stone divide: timber as the secular building material of Anglo-Saxon society

This running order was reconstructed with help from the following: