Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference 2014

Bramall Music Building
Thursday 3rd (00:00) - Sunday 6th July 2014 (23:59)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

For further information about the conference please contact Andrew Kirkman ( or James Cook (

Bramall Music Building

In 2014, the 42nd Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference will be held at the University of Birmingham in the Department of Music.

The conference organisers are delighted to announce an exciting programme of events running alongside the paper sessions. One day of the conference will be taking place in Coventry (transport provided - see notes below*). The magnificent Medieval Guildhall, will provide the venue for our paper sessions, a wine reception, concert by the Binchois Consort and the conference dinner. Delegates will also have the opportunity to view many sites of particular interest to medievalists, all within a stone's throw of the Guildhall: the famous ‘Caput fragment’, manuscripts of the Coventry mystery plays and other items in the City archive; the medieval collection of the Herbert Gallery; the recently rediscovered Holy Trinity 'doom' wall painting; and the ruins and visitor centre of the Benedictine Priory and Cathedral of St Mary’s. There will be time to explore the historic centre of Coventry, aided by guided introductions by City specialists, before the paper sessions start. This promises to offer a memorable and stimulating back-drop for the conference.

Those that wish to stay up-to-date with MedRen conferences can now sign-up to the MedRen Newsletter, details of how to register for the group can be found here. Please do not hesitate to contact James Cook at for help with registering.

Keynotes Confirmed

Ardis Butterfield, professor of English at Yale University, specializes on the works of Chaucer, literatures of France and England from the 13th to 15th centuries, and on medieval music, as well as on theories and histories of language, form, and genre, city writing, and bilingualism and medieval linguistic identities. Her books include The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and the Nation in the Hundred Years War (Oxford, 2009) and Poetry and Music in Medieval France (Cambridge, 2002). In 2009 she co-founded The Medieval Song Network, a collaborative, international project to encourage new interdisciplinary research on the medieval lyric.

Anna Maria Busse Berger is professor of music history at University of California, Davis. Her work has addressed medieval music notation, music and mathematics, the art of memory, and historiography. She is the author of Mensuration and Proportion Signs: Origins and Evolution, (Oxford, 1993) and Medieval Music and the Art of Memory (University of California Press, 2005), the first detailed study of music and memory in the Middle Ages. The latter demonstrates the ways in which orality and literacy interacted throughout the period and transforms our notion of how musical texts were created. It also traces the path whereby modern perspectives on medieval music germinated in the conceptions of one of the founding fathers of musicology, the German scholar Friedrich Ludwig.

Call for Conference Assistants

The organising committee of MedRen 2014 (Birmingham, 3-6 July) offers twelve bursaries for conference assistants to help with the costs of attending the conference. They are primarily addressed to postgraduate students and recent doctors with no institutional affiliation, but other applications will be considered. Priority will be given to candidates with papers accepted.

The bursaries offer free conference registration and £80 towards accommodation or travel. We expect conference assistants to help with running the conference in different capacities, such as welcoming conference attendees and helping with the registration process, as well as providing information and technical support throughout the conference. They will have a sensible amount of free time to attend sessions.

Applicants should write a 300-word proposal explaining their academic situation, their reasons to attend the conference and any relevant experience. It should be sent to James Cook at by 1 May.

*Notes on the MedRen trip to Coventry

Transport will be provided by coach to and from Coventry, details of which will be made available nearer the time. There is no need to book this as the organisers will provide sufficient transport for all delegates in attendance on the Friday. Lunch in Coventry will not be provided, however, and delegates will have to buy their own. The Medieval Guildhall, the venue for our afternoon of paper sessions, has a restaurant which can cater for a number of delegates but most likely not all. A list of nearby alternative restaurants, pubs and coffee shops will be provided shortly. Those not wishing to attend the conference dinner or the concert but still wishing to avail themselves of the free transport back to Birmingham may want to eat at a restaurant in the evening since we will not be returning to Birmingham until relatively late. Please bear these points in mind when choosing whether to book the conference meal and the concert as you will have to find alternative entertainment in Coventry for the evening. If attendance at the conference is exceptional, as seems likely, there may not be sufficient room for every delegate to attend the dinner or concert. Tickets to both will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis.