Medieval congress interrogates history to fight current climate crisis

More than 2,000 delegates gathered online for the world’s largest medieval academic event which was scheduled to be held in Leeds.

The International Medieval Congress’ (IMC) theme for its 28th annual event was ‘Climates’. Between 4-7 July, global experts came together online to demonstrate the value and importance of looking at historical societies, cultures, and data to shed a light on the present-day climate crisis.

MEETinLEEDS and the University of Leeds helped coordinate the congress and content programme discussions, demonstrations and debates, including sessions ‘Climates of Adversity: Maritime Environments in the North Sea World’ and ‘Climate, the Environment, and the Natural World in Byzantium, II: Art, Climate, Death, and Disease’.

In total, six keynote speakers presented research into medieval climates and the importance of deepening understanding of the past in order to better deal with contemporary issues.

International Medieval Congress director Axel Müller said: “We’re delighted with the success of this year’s IMC, despite not being able to hold it as an in-person event. It’s truly a testament to the resilience and strength of colleagues across medieval studies that delegate engagement and participation remained high even two years into the current pandemic.

“Thanks to support from the MEETinLEEDS team, we were able to bring speakers together from all around the world. Whilst we’re looking forward to returning to a physical event at the University of Leeds next year, we will be offering a virtual component for those who are unable to be present in-person. This will ensure that the IMC can remain accessible to all, and further support important conversations and cutting-edge research in medieval studies.”

MEETinLEEDS sales and marketing manager Harriet Boatwright added: “We’re so pleased to have been able to support the IMC once again, in its 28th year.

“Whilst restrictions meant that we were unable to have a physical event for the second year in a row, we were able to adapt our approach across the IMC, the University of Leeds and our MEETinLEEDS team, to ensure that all requirements of both the organisers and the delegates were met. Following the success of supporting the IMC with virtual events, we’re delighted to announce that this will be an element carried forward into next year, alongside the much-anticipated return to a physical event.”

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