Thursday, 27 October 2016

Call for Papers - Spring 2017

Spring 2017 

The Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society (LAMPS) invites postgraduate students to present their research at our weekly Monday seminars.

LAMPS aims to provide an engaging and informal forum for cross‐disciplinary discussion that focuses on the Late Antique and Medieval periods. We welcome proposals on the study of these time periods, as well as topics pertaining to the reception and perception of the Late Antique and Medieval periods from later sources. Postgraduate students from all disciplines and at any stage ​of their research are​ welcome to submit papers.

For the Spring 2017 semester, LAMPS requests that submissions explore the theme of ​Transcendence.​ Submissions can explore any idea relating to going beyond the ordinary, whether literal or metaphorical.

Possible paper topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

● Philosophical and theological ideas on transcendence in the medieval period
● The combining or refiguring of genre
● Exceeding expectations
● Pushing the limits of socially or culturally accepted norms
● Existing or acting outside of traditional gender norms/stereotypes
● Multipurpose functionality of spaces
● Cross-over of ethnic or ‘national’ identities
● The ways in which texts and/or objects can transcend their original purpose and context
● Social mobility

Presentations should be around 20 minutes in length and are accompanied by 10 to 15 minutes of discussion and questions. If you are interested in applying, please send a 250 word abstract along with your details and a brief introductory statement about yourself to​​ ​by November 27th, 2016​.

Lectures will take place on Mondays at 6:15pm between January 16th and March 27th 2017. Please also let us know about any potential scheduling conflicts!

Towards the Freedom of Self-Representation in the Twelfth Century: Liutprecht – the Sculptor from the Crypt of St Corbinian at Freising Cathedral

Maria Gordusenko, PhD History of Art, University of Edinburgh

The reconstruction of Freising Cathedral after a great fire in 1159 was completed only in 1205. It was an important step in proclaiming the city of Freising as a pilgrimage destination. The new enlarged Crypt was built by 1161, in a fairly short time span because of the necessity to accommodate the Sarcophagus and altar of St Corbinian.

The Crypt has reused old columns with simple capitals, and new columns with decorated capitals. Embellished with foliage and floral motifs, they create an atmosphere of a magical forest inhabited with various creatures, fantastic birds and griffins, and anthropomorphic characters. Taking into account the semi-darkness of the hall, with its flickering candlelight, it is possible to envisage what effect such decoration might have had on the medieval pilgrims descending into the Crypt.

Figure 1. The Crypt of St Corbinian, Freising Cathedral. Photo by Klaus Rommel.

The motifs of vine and transformation demonstrate the central idea of the sculptural programme in the Crypt of St Corbinian. It is an idea of a spiritual journey to God and salvation that Christians undertake by freeing themselves from sins and vice. Some capitals have figures of men entwined with floral stems, probably symbolising the sins restricting their freedom. This metaphorical idea of spiritual rebirth is reflected in a signed capital of a column in the Eastern part of the Crypt. The floral stems in it transform from bonds to gracefully curved vines; one of the two bearded men represented at the capital holds a bunch of grapes that indicate Eucharistic connotations. Placed directly above the representation of the second bearded man, the name LIVT / PRECHT is broken into two syllables by the angle of the abacus; it completely follows the structure of the capital. This makes a firm association with the figurative representation. The man’s individualised face and thoughtful expression stand out among all the fantastic creatures found on other carved capitals and allow suggesting that it may be an image of a sculptor or a donor.

Figure 2. The Capital signed: LIVT / PRECHT (detail). Ca 1159 – 1160. Crypt of St Corbinian, Freising Cathedral. Photo: Legner 2009, p. 293. 

The column with Liutprecht’s capital is located next to the most important object in the Crypt, the Sarcophagus of St Corbinian. When facing the Sarcophagus, the viewer would see the column to their right and exactly at an angle that would permit them to observe Liutprecht’s face and read the inscription of his name. Thus, Liutprecht has purposely selected a very specific audience that would have been able to see his name. It is what a praying priest or a pilgrim would notice while standing in front of the Sarcophagus and altar of St Corbinian. This guaranteed that Liutprecht will be remembered and that his devotion to St Corbinian will be expressed permanently, securing him a place in Heaven.

Figure 3. Bishop Prof Dr Reinhard Marx praying in front of the Sarcophagus of St Corbinian. Note the column with the capital signed LIVT/PRECHT. Freising Cathedral, Crypt of St Corbinian. Source 

On the contrary, people wondering in the Crypt would instead notice fragments of his name LIVT or PRECHT, depending upon the direction from which they approached the column. This attempt to humbly conceal his name from a wider audience shows that Liutprecht was concerned with religious values rather than gaining recognition among people. All these factors reveal complex spatial thinking, artistic intelligence, and spirituality of the sculptor.

Figure 4. The Capital signed: LIVT / PRECHT (detail). Ca 1159 – 1160. Crypt of St Corbinian, Freising Cathedral. Source.

The Christian male name Liutprecht can be interpreted as the light (brightness) of people, where liut stands for people and associates with the pilgrims visiting the Crypt, and precht, in Old German, means the bright and glorious (Steub 1870, p. 66; Yonge 1884, p. 430). In the darkness of the Crypt this would have had an even more special significance, as it interconnects with the symbolism of light associated with pious life and God.

The name Liutprecht is rarely cited in medieval documents from around the time when the works in the Crypt took place and Liutprecht’s capital was carved. However, the First Necrolog of Kremsm√ľnster Abbey (beginning of the 12th century - end of the 13th century) mentions a certain Liutprecht among those commemorated and honoured by the Abbey. He is listed as a conversi or lay bother, of the Benedictine Abbey of St Lambrecht at Styria, now Austria (Altinger 1897, pp. 22, 128). The manuscript also commemorates the bishops of Freising, and clergy and lay brothers from other Benedictine monasteries in the neighbouring areas. It indicates that there existed good connections between the Benedictine abbeys in this region.

The period covered by the Necrolog coincides with the time of restoration works in the Crypt of St Corbinian. Taking into account the rarity of the name Liutprecht, its presence in the manuscript and in the Crypt suggest that it actually might refer to the same person, who was active at that particular period and in that specific area. In addition, a long-standing tradition of communication and exchange between the Benedictine abbeys around Freising makes it is feasible that Liutprecht may have become engaged in works on Freising Cathedral. Being a conversi, and not a regular monk, Liutprecht had more possibilities to travel, was likely to be involved in manual labour, such as sculpting, and would have had more freedom in manifesting his authorship with a signature (Dohme 1877, p. 51).

It was quite common for conversi to be architects, masons, carpenters and sculptors (Hélyot and Bullot 1863, p. 462 ; Johnston 2000, p. 748). The lay brothers, or conversi, in the Benedictine Order were those who renounced the world in adult life (‘Lay Brothers’, The Catholic Encyclopedia). According to the rule for conversi, they had to dedicate themselves to hard manual labour, wear simple habits, and have beards (sometimes conversi were referred to as laici barbati). They were not allowed to have a tonsure, could not enjoy the privileges of regular monks, and were required to remain illiterate (Johnston 2000, p. 748). The latter might explain the simplicity of Liutprecht’s signature: as an illiterate conversi, he may have known how to write his name, but was evidently unable to compose long inscriptions in Latin.

The image of Liutprecht at the capital shows him as a mature bearded man. These details are vital and might indicate that it is indeed a representation of a conversi, or, at least, of a layman. Just like any conversi, he must have renounced the world and entered religious life as a mature man. The overall idea of sculptural decoration in the Crypt showing the conversion from a pagan (or a sinner) to a pious Christian, who aspires to salvation, may interconnect with Liutprecht’s personal life choices. This, however, did not restrict his freedom in travelling for work and producing self-representations.

Works Cited

Altinger, A. (1897). Die zwei ältesten Nekrologien von Kremsmünster. Wien: Gerold.
Dohme, R. (1877). Kunst und Künstler des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit: Biographien und Charakteristiken. Volume 1, Part 1. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann.
Hélyot, P. and Bullot, M. (1863). Dictionnaire des ordres religieux ou, Histoire des ordres monastiques, religieux et militaires, et des congrégations séculières. Paris: Chez l'éditeur.
Johnston, W. M. (2000). Encyclopedia of Monasticism. London: Fitzroy Dearborn.
‘Lay Brothers.’ The Catholic Encyclopedia. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Legner, A. (2009). Der Artifex. Cologne: Greven Verlag.
Steub, L. (1870). Die oberdeutschen Familiennamen. München: R. Oldenbourg.
Yonge, C. M. (1884). History of Christian Names. London : Macmillian.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Autumn 2016 Schedule


6:15pm in 50 George Square. Room G.01

Our weekly seminars showcase the Work in Progress of postgraduate students working within the Late Antique and Medieval periods. Students of
all disciplines and stages of research are welcome to present. Papers are twenty minutes long, followed by ten to fifteen minutes of questions. We then head to Doctors for a pint to continue the discussion!

Monday, September 19th
Introduction to LAMPS
Join us for our first seminar of the term, where we will have a couple of short talks about LAMPS and what we do. We will head over to Doctors afterwards for a pint!

Monday, September 26th
“Masculinity Doesn’t Grow on Trees: Arboreal Imagery and Gender Identity in the Middle English Breton Lays”
Danielle Howarth, PhD Medieval Studies, University of Edinburgh
The Middle English Breton Lays are a collection of nine short Middle English romances displaying common preoccupations with love and minstrelsy, all composed between the late thirteenth and early fifteenth centuries. They exist within a corpus of medieval romance literature that rely on the settings of the forest, wilderness, and garden to backdrop a preoccupation with the chivalric ideal. This paper will foreground these settings and view chivalric masculinity through the lens of trees; I will explain the role of nature – and of trees in particular – from an eco-feminist perspective, examining the ways arboreal imagery enacts and asserts masculine dominance, but also highlights masculine frailty and vulnerability, and so opens up a potentially liberating feminine space of transgression, subversion, and freedom. Alongside this interrogation of the masculine/feminine binary, I will unpick the ostensibly hierarchical and straightforward human/non-human dichotomy within the lays to consider how reading medieval texts according to their trees can resonate with our understanding of the Anthropocene as is it exists today. 

Monday, October 3rd
"Embroidering the Truth: a Cunning Escape from Slander in Renart's Le Roman de la Rose ou de Guillaume de Dole"
Morgan Boharski, PhD French, University of Edinburgh
The heroine of Jean Renart’s version of the Le Roman de la Rose ou de Guillaume de Dole is Lienors, the sister of the eponymous knight. This paper will explore the trajectory of Lienors, from her introduction as the most beautiful woman man ever laid eyes on, whose very name makes the emperor swoon, to her downfall and social destruction and the way in which she saves the reputation of herself and of her family. In this romance, an evil seneschal, hoping to bring Guillaume de Dole to ruin out of jealousy, tricks Lienors’ mother into giving him privileged information and uses this information to spread a lascivious lie about Lienors’ loss of virtue. When this rumor becomes public, her patriarchal family disowns her, and Lienors is forced to become her own champion of truth. Through the active use of personally embroidered gifts and cunning, Lienors finds a means of regaining her freedom and identity. This paper will show the power of the female voice, to bring about both ruin and glory, and the importance of the courtly use of embroidery that is underpinned in this romance.

Monday, October 10th
“Towards the Freedom of Self-Representation in the Twelfth Century: Liutprecht – the Sculptor from the Crypt of St Corbinian at Freising Cathedral.”
Maria Gordusenko, PhD History of Art, University of Edinburgh
Twenty-five free-standing columns and twenty-one half-columns support the vaults of the Crypt of St Corbinian at Freising Cathedral. Not all the capitals and bases of these columns are decorated, but the carvings on those that are impress with their diversity, as neither of the subjects repeat each other. Among the variety of floral motifs, birds and various fantastic creatures that are found on the capitals, there are also figures of men, but only one of these images is accompanied by an inscription. It is found on the abacus of a capital of an Eastern column from the so-called Northern row. The inscription itself is carved in Roman majuscule and reads: LIVT / PRECHT, which is a European Christian male name. The fact that the inscription is placed above a representation of a bearded man on the same capital gives a strong impression that these two written and figurative elements correlate. Apparently for this reason the majority of art historians, who discuss the sculpture from the Crypt of St Corbinian interpret this inscription as nothing but a signature of a professional, who was involved in producing sculptural decoration of the Crypt.
This paper enquires into such topics as personality of the sculptor and the ways in which it is expressed in his work. Who was Liutprecht, a free sculptor or a monk? Why was he given a freedom of self-expression? And was it indeed a rare case in the twelfth century for a sculptor to make self-representations?

Monday, October 17th
Julianne McGraw, Dig It! Communications and Administration Officer
Join us for this special Monday night seminar where will hear from Julianne McGraw about her work in the heritage sector. Julianne not only works with DigIt!, but is also involved in the Scottish Heritage Social Media Group. She will talk about this, as well as her career, and will be available to answer questions about entering the heritage sector.

Monday, October 24th: Roundtable and General Meeting
“The Medieval on Film”
This week we will shake up our usual Monday night seminars with something a bit different. This roundtable style discussion will give everyone the chance to discuss the topic of “The Medieval on Film”, allowing us to enter into debate about medievalism. Come along and contribute your views!
October 24th will also be our Autumn General Meeting. Events Secretary, Seminar Secretary, and two General Member positions will be up for election. Details about the election and positions will be circulated prior to the seminar. If you have any questions about the process prior to this, please email us at

Monday, November 7th
"'The prisoner wishes to say a word’: Braveheart (1995) as an adaptation of Blind Hary’s The Wallace"
Callum Watson, University of Edinburgh alumnus 
Braveheart is a 1995 historical epic directed by and starring Mel Gibson, purporting to retell the dramatic story of William Wallace – hero of the First War of Independence. Although critically-acclaimed – being nominated for ten Academy Awards and winning five, including Best Picture and Best Director – and credited with having a hugely significant impact on tourism and interest in Scotland’s medieval heritage, with regard to its historical accuracy the film employs considerable creative freedom. The screenwriter – Randall Wallace – claims to have been inspired by The Wallace, a fifteenth-century poem produced by the otherwise obscure writer known only as Blind Hary. Hary himself takes gross liberties with the facts in recounting Wallace’s career, but Braveheart demonstrates marked deviation from this source material as well. This paper will consider these deviations and attempt where possible to explain them. These changes have been made not simply for dramatic effect. In The Wallace, the hero is knighted in a dream by St Andrew and the Virgin Mary, converts a lady to the Scottish cause by taking her to bed, and goes adventuring in France when he cannot find any more Englishmen to fight in Scotland, fighting pirates and even a lion on his way. All of these incidents are undoubtedly dramatic, but they are absent from Braveheart. Rather, I wish to argue that these changes reflect a concern on the part of both writer and director with modern conceptions of nationalism – and its associations with freedom – that tend to obscure the themes emphasised by Hary.

Monday, November 14th
“Pope Leo IX ( 1049-1054) : Dialogues and Decisions”
Andrew Smith, PhD History, University of Glasgow
This paper will analyse, for the first time, three of Pope Leo’s letters which contain accounts of dialogues that took place between Leo and his archbishops and bishops in 1049 and 1050. These dialogues are, on the face of it, about dispute resolution and the affirmation of the consecration of a saint. However, although the dialogues are located within an ecclesiastical framework they can also be seen as political discourses and negotiations of power/decisions straddling political structures, social constructs and church power and tradition. This paper will dissect these dialogues and put forward a new analysis of their meaning and importance. This analysis will throw new light on the pontificate of Pope Leo IX and will introduce perspectives to challenge the prevailing historiography.

Monday, November 21st
“Writing religion right: the bounds of creativity in late medieval meditations on the Passion of Christ”
Katherine Dixon, MPhil Medieval Literature, University of Cambridge
Meditations on the Passion of Christ were among the most popular works of the late medieval period. These texts were designed to induce a strong affective response through their creative rendering of Christ’s crucifixion, allowing those who turned to them to imagine the events and emotions of Christ’s death in acute, visceral detail.
It was common for such works to depart from the Biblical story they sought to convey. Richard Rolle’s two short meditations on the Passion, for example, call for the reader to imagine Christ as a net, dovecot, meadow, honeycomb and book; these figurative conceptualisations of Christ serving as pedagogic aids for the lay consumer. In other instances, however, the line blurs between the use of such creative methods to harmlessly and successfully augment the affectivity of the crucifixion story and simply using one’s creative license.
The latter is the case in the Meditacio passionis (a partial translation in English of the Pseudo-Bonaventurian Latin work the Meditaciones vitae Christi) when it describes Mary crying tears of blood as she gazes upon her dying son on the cross. This image is not present in its Latin source text nor the Bible and exemplifies the very issue my presentation will consider: where were the bounds of authorial liberty in meditative literature? Where did writing designed to make the word of the Lord clearer perhaps teeter on detracting from or indeed sensationalising the meaning it intended to convey? It will do so with the Meditacio passionis as its lens, considering the nature of affective piety and discussion of what we know of the consumers of such literature to determine firstly the limits of authorial freedom within the genre and, secondly, the contemporary understanding of what now seem to be examples of ‘taking creative liberties’.

Monday, November 28th
“The Veil of Veronica: the Imago Cristi, Femininity, and Religious Artistry in Medieval Literary Depictions of St. Veronica”
Anna McKay, PhD English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Abstract TBA


Saturday, September 17th: Welcome Pub Night
7pm at Doctors Pub
Join LAMPS as we start off the new academic year with a pint at Doctors pub! Our first event of the year, this pub night provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know LAMPS as an organization as well as get first-hand accounts of the exciting events that we put on each semester for our members. Whether you are studying the Middle Ages or just love castles, LAMPS is a wonderful way to get to know Scotland and its magnificent history! This is also a perfect time for returning members to get better acquainted with our autumn schedule of events and catch up with each other!

Saturday, September 24th: Hide and Seek at Craigmillar Castle
11am outside Teviot Row House
£3.20 return bus fare, entry to the castle FREE with LAMPS
Located within easy reach on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Craigmillar Castle is a beautiful ruin with views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth. Join us for our annual pilgrimage to this site! Participation in a game of Hide and Seek among the ruins is encouraged but optional.

Saturday, October 8th: Autumn Castle Crawl 
9am at Crichton Street
£25 for transport, entry to the castles and abbey FREE with LAMPS
Join us on a “castle crawl” through Dumfries and Galloway with stops at Caerlaverock Castle, Morton Castle, and the ever-charming Sweetheart Abbey! (We may crawl to the pub at the end of the day as well!)

Saturday, October 22nd: National Museum of Scotland

1pm on the steps outside the NMS
Join us as we spend the afternoon exploring the National Museum of Scotland together. This beautiful building is a must-see in Edinburgh, and we will get a chance to have a good look around the new galleries, which were opened over the summer. 

Monday, October 31st: Halloween Pub Night and Ghost Tour

7pm at Doctors
Cost TBA 
Celebrate Halloween with LAMPS! We will begin with our traditional Halloween pub visit to steel our nerves before starting a private ghost tour through Edinburgh’s scariest places. We will give prizes for the best costumes, so make sure you look scary enough to ward away all the spirits we will encounter! 

Saturday, November 12th: Linlithgow Palace

11am at Waverley Train Station 
£8.10 return train fare, entry to the palace FREE with LAMPS
Join us for our last heritage site trip of the term! We will visit beautiful Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, which is situated on the leafy banks of Linlithgow Loch. Just a short train ride away from Edinburgh, this impressive medieval site is not to be missed!

Monday, December 5th: Christmas Markets 
7pm outside the National Gallery of Scotland
To celebrate the end of term, come along to our annual trip to Edinburgh’s famous Christmas Markets. We will get into the Christmas spirit with mulled wine and fairy lights as we have a wander around the transformed Princes Street Gardens.

Saturday, December 10th: Christmas Dinner
Location and price TBA
Look out for details of our festive celebration! We will celebrate the holiday season with food and good company!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Call for Papers - Autumn 2016


Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society
Call for Papers: Autumn 2016 “Freedom”

The Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society (LAMPS) invites postgraduate students to present their research at our weekly Monday seminars.
LAMPS aims to provide an engaging forum for cross-disciplinary discussion that focuses on the Late Antique and Medieval periods. We welcome proposals on the study of these time periods as well as topics pertaining to the reception and perception of the Late Antique and Medieval periods from later sources. Postgraduate students from all disciplines and at any stage of their research are welcome to submit papers.
For the Autumn 2016 semester, LAMPS requests that submissions explore the theme of ​Freedom​.
Possible paper topics include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • Aristocratic freedoms vs common freedoms
  • Freedom (or restriction) of movement or speech
  • Creativity
  • Ideas of sovereignty
  • Bondage/captivity
  • How gender influenced one’s freedom
  • Serfdom/slavery
  • Liminal spaces
  • Modern conceptions of how freedom was understood in the medieval period
Presentations should be around 20 minutes in length and are accompanied by 10 to 15 minutes of discussion and questions. If you are interested in applying, please send a 250 word abstract along with your details and a brief introductory statement about yourself to lampsedinburgh@gmail.comby ​14th August 2016​.
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Lectures will take place on Mondays at 6:15pm between 26th September and 28th November 2016. Please also let us know about any potential scheduling conflicts!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Summer Schedule 2016

All events open to everyone!

Saturday, May 21st:  Castlelaw Hill Fort
12:30pm, Edinburgh Bus Station (St. Andrews Square entry), £2.40 bus fare
Includes a short hike through the beautiful Pentlands to explore this Iron Age Fort!
Friday, June 3rd:  Pub Night
7pm, Doctors Pub
Join us at our regular pub for some chat and a pint!
Saturday, June 18th:  Bothwell Castle
10am, Waverley Station, £10.60 return train fare
Come explore this amazing castle, which is dramatically located beside the River Clyde.
Thursday, July 7th:  Summer Castle Crawl
9am, Crichton Street, £25
Join us on a castle crawl through Dumfries and Galloway with stops at Caerlaverock Castle, Morton Castle, and the ever-charming Sweetheart Abbey!
Saturday, July 23rd:  National Portrait Gallery
12pm, National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, free
The National Portrait Gallery features both medieval art and medievalism galore!
Wednesday, August 10th:  Warkworth Castle Medieval Courtly Combat
9:30am, Waverley Station, train and entry price dependent on group size, approx. £30
This event features fabulous medieval re-enactment set against the backdrop of this beautiful castle!
Tuesday, August 23rd:  Glasgow Museums Weapons Store
11am, Waverley Station, £12.60 return train fare
This is an exciting opportunity to see behind the scenes of Glasgow Museums, with Ralph Moffat, Curator of Arms and Armour.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Is There a Life Beyond Academics?

Stephenie McGucken - PhD History of Art 

When you are knee deep in academic life with tutorials, researching, writing, and the myriad of other things that go along with life as a postgraduate, life beyond academia can seem intimidating. But does it have to be that way? Can anything be done now, in the midst of the postgraduate hustle and bustle, to help prepare us for a life beyond?

Some LAMPS members feeling the angst of postgraduate study at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Jeff Sanders (DigIt! Project Manager) and Devon McHugh (Relationships and Partnerships Development Manager for Museums Galleries Scotland) answered these questions, and more, at a recent Monday night seminar. In their joint talk, Jeff and Devon shed light on what it is to live beyond academia. The assumption for most of us at the talk – and likely most PhD Candidates – is that we would stay in academia after graduation. But we quickly realised that may not, and does not, have to be the case. A lot of the skills we are developing are equally applicable to the heritage and museum sectors.

Jeff started the evening talking about the difference between the academic world and heritage work. He noted that in academia, we are rewarded for a depth of knowledge, whereas outside of academia, it is breadth that is often needed. This was not to say that depth is necessarily a bad thing, but that we also have to show a familiarity with subjects outside our immediate research area. In addition to that, he highlighted a range of things that heritage work might include: networking, research, outreach, tourism, artistic endeavours. And with each of these – as well as with our own research – Jeff reminded us we have to be able to articulate a social impact. Why is it important to a broad audience?

Jeff also talked about how collaboration is gaining importance in academia, but has always been important outside of it. This had several members of LAMPS excited as we thought about our current and developing collaborations with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Friends of Granton Castle Garden, and the Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project in association with Edinburgh College of Art.

Before handing over to Devon, Jeff gave his One Thing for life beyond academia: Networking. Making connections throughout an academic career both in academia and outside of it is key. Maintaining those connections is even more important. He also flagged blogs such as as a valuable source for tips about life in and outside of academia, stressing the need for everyone to think about their future paths and consider different parts of each possible one.

Devon echoed some of what Jeff said, but from a museums perspective. Curation, events, retail, and administration are just a part of the museum world. Curation can be a more diverse position than one might think: it all depends on the organisation.

After discussing her own experience in the museum world, and how she got there, Devon gave us some CV tips. She stressed the need to create a balance between academic and professional experience as part of tailoring your CV for each job you apply for. Each employer is going to want different things from a CV, and so it is key to re-frame your experience just a bit to show how you would suit their needs. Devon also stressed the importance of showing familiarity – if not always success – with funding applications. She talked about the difference in wording of applied for funding and successfully applied for funding. While success is always great, sometimes the experience of the process is just as important.

This was just a bit of what Jeff and Devon talked about. Hearing two Edinburgh alumni talk about their lives after PhD was helpful to everyone there, and provided a measure of relief, that, while it might not be as straightforward as we might think it is, there is life beyond academia. (And your life in academia will help you with it!)

A couple of other thoughts on the evening:

'This was a really fantastic informal opportunity to get some tips about finding non-academic jobs. I took away some ways to market myself and my PhD on my CV and beyond.'
- Danielle, LAMPS Secretary

‘It can be difficult to get a straight answer from professionals about how to find a job and market yourself. Both Jeff and Devon were so helpful and straightforward. Their ability to look back to our current positions in study and life made them incredibly relatable, and I feel much more confident now about how to cater my CVs and public outreach!’
-  Morgan, LAMPS Seminar Secretary & former Events Secretary

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

LAMPS Spring Schedule 2016

LAMPS Spring Schedule 2016


Monday, January 11th:  Welcome to LAMPS Pub Night


6:15 PM at Doctors Pub


 Join LAMPS as we start off 2016 and the new semester with a pint at Doctors pub! Our first event of the year, this pub night provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know LAMPS as an organization as well as get first hand accounts of the exciting events that we put on each semester for our members. Whether you are studying the Middle Ages or just love castles, LAMPS is a wonderful way to get to know Scotland and its magnificent history! This is also a perfect time for returning members to get better acquainted with our 2016 schedule of events and catch up with each other!

Monday, January 18th: Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

 “The Stryx, the Changeling, and the Midnight Witch: Opposition in Transformed Women of Medieval Folklore”
Bianca Maggs, MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures, University of Edinburgh
The transformed body is an intrinsic feature of mythological and folkloric texts, yet it is the source of tremendous literary tension. This tension is particularly felt in the works of medieval writers, who adopted the metamorphosis framework with caution. They advised that, although a great source of creative inspiration, the transformed body remains one to be largely avoided and feared, yet these same writers manipulate such bodies for their own purposes, producing cautionary works which condemn belief in bodily transformation whilst simultaneously promoting it. From early medieval folklore to the works of Liberalis and Apuleius, a common thread appears; the part-feminine, part-avian bodies of the midnight women. With her origins in Classical mythology, this woman transcends generation and genre, embodying the clash of nature and the supernatural, and subsequently becoming a focal point for many discussions of female misdemeanour.  This paper will explore the transition of this body in motion, addressing the antithesis of her very being; suspended from categorisation, and of the way her body is both shunned and elevated by Christian texts. From temptress to wife; child-killer to mother, the feathered woman takes flight to evade the constrictions of traditional female archetypes.

Monday, January 25th: Seminar
6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05 
“The Woman and The Wolf: Allegories of Adam and Eve in Medieval Werewolf Literature"
Kirsten Lopez, MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures, University of Edinburgh
There is no doubt as to the central role Christianity played in the Western Middle Ages. And while the use of biblical allegories and metaphor in medieval literature is by no means a new concept, it has only been addressed briefly in the context of romance literature and the connection between the archetypes of Adam and Eve and werewolf stories has often been approached but not directly explored.  This structure is seen very clearly in the tales of Arthur and Gorlagon, Bisclavret, and Le Roman de Renart. The werewolf archetype, or in the case of Renart of anthropomorphized wolves, provides the perfect medium with which to demonstrate the spiritual effect of sin on Adam and Eve in a clear and tangible way. Different though the three stories may seem, there exists a tenable link with the standard characters of werewolf literature acting as allegorical representations of Adam, Eve, and God. In all three stories there is an evil woman, usually the main protagonist’s wife, who is responsible for her husband’s downfall. In each, only a noble king can solve the husband’s situation, meting out justice. As will be shown, the evil wife represents that most guilty woman of all, Eve, while the husband stands in for Adam and the goodly king takes on a Christ-like role. Each of the three texts provides a variation on the allegory that nevertheless contains the key figures of the biblical story.


Saturday, January 30th:  Glasgow Museums


Meet at 9:30 AM at Waverley

£12.10 return to Glasgow Queen Street / £6.60 Roundabout ticket for travel within Glasgow / Free entry to all sites

 Come along with LAMPS as we take on Glasgow’s numerous museums! First stop will be the amazing Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which boasts 22 galleries with over 8000 objects. Highlights include the Museum’s extensive Scottish history and archaeology material, including the oldest remains ever found in Scotland, of an early medieval satchel, and its impressive collections of arms and armour. We will then head over to the beautiful Pollock Country Park, which is home to the Burrell Collection. This collection, gifted to Glasgow by Sir William Burrell in 1944, is one of the greatest collections ever created by one person, and focusses on late medieval and early Renaissance Europe. These museums are a must-see and can be visited time and again, so join us for a day of fun and discovery!


Monday, February 1st:  Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Lecture


6 PM in the Auditorium of the National Museum of Scotland (Lothian Street doors entrance)

Free (Online booking reservation required

 As we continue our relationship with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, we hope you will join us in attending this wonderful lecture and discussion.

 “6,000 Years of Architecture, Innovation and Design”

 A journey through Scottish architecture from the earliest buildings to today’s tower blocks.  Our three speakers have each been given a period of Scotland’s past and presented the challenge to choose their three examples of architectural innovation and design that changed the face of Scotland.  Come and hear their choices and contribute your own!

Chair: Prof. Karen Forbes (Edinburgh College of Art)

Prehistory (earliest people to 600 AD): Dr Tanja Romankiewicz (Edinburgh University)

Medieval (600 AD to Union of the Crowns): Prof. Richard Oram (Stirling University)

Modern (Union of the Crowns to today): John Lowrey (ECA)


Sunday, February 7th:  “Meet the Executioner”


Meet at 12 PM at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

 Join LAMPS as we step back in time at Edinburgh Castle. Come learn about the preferred methods of execution in the Middle Ages in Scotland and what the job entailed from the executioner himself. We will spend the afternoon exploring the castle before being regaled with gory tales of crime and punishment.  A bloody good time is guaranteed for all, just make sure you don’t lose your head!


Monday, February 8th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

Parysatis : The Agency of the King's Mother in the Achaemenid Court.
Samantha Walker, University of Edinburgh alumna
The mother of the Achaemenid King, Artaxerxes II (c.405-359 BCE) is recorded as a woman with a formidable and seemingly wicked personality. She gained particular notoriety amongst ancient authors for poisoning her son's beloved wife, Queen Stateira. Parysatis' reputation as a murderess has since been moulded into shape by centuries of Orientalist views built on the misogynistic premise that royal women within the court societies of the ancient Near East had an excess of power which led to debauchery and the eventual demise of Empire.  It is not my intention, however, to clear Parysatis' name of all the charges held against her, but rather to present the events of her life in a more realistic fashion. I aim to argue that the agency exerted by Parysatis within the Achaemenid court was entirely relevant to her position as the mother of the King and that her reported violent acts were often political measures taken to ensure that the strict hierarchy of the Persian court and harem was not unbalanced. In combination with her own strong personality, the natural influence of her position secured for her a great amount of economic wealth and a wide political reach. A combination of native Persian evidence and some cross-cultural anecdotes will be explored along with that of Greek authors examined with the necessary critical eye. The writings of the Greek doctor, Ctesias of Cnidus, are of particular interest as he attests in his Persica that he was employed in the Achaemenid court and physician to Parysatis herself over a period of almost two decades. Using the example of Parysatis therefore, I hope to show royal women as a real, important force within the Achaemenid court and how the position of the King's mother in particular was one of great esteem within the harem and the court hierarchy overall. 

Friday, February 12th:  Mastering Conference Posters


4-6 PM in 50 George Square G.05


Come learn the ins and outs of poster presentation with us!  Geared at Honors Undergraduate students and MSc presenters (although PhD students are also very welcome to attend), this hands-on learning experience and demonstration will not only cover what a poster session is, but also how to make a vibrant poster of your own. This is a great way to learn an important skill for public outreach, and it is also a perfect opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow students!


Wednesday, February 17th:  ‘For our fredome & for our land’: Battle of Bannockburn & Stirling Castle


Innovative Learning Week Trip


Meet at 8:45 AM at Crichton St.

£12.52 for transport and activities

Join LAMPS as we visit the site of the Battle of Bannockburn and nearby Stirling Castle. The event will start at the Bannockburn Visitor Centre, which has recently been restored to commemorate the battle’s 700th anniversary. The group will be guided through the Visitor Centre, exploring its didactic material before participating in a 3D recreation of the battle known as the Battle Game. We will be divided into two parties, one representing the English and the other representing the Scots, and each group will attempt to recreate their side’s role in the battle (with the possibility of the English winning!). After the battle recreation, we will tour the battlefield itself before heading to Stirling Castle, over which the battle was fought. Stirling has a long and complex history that marks it as one of Scotland’s most important heritage sites, and makes it a perfect end to the day! We will be led through the castle by LAMPS members  who have experience in heritage, and an expert knowledge of the castle and its role in history.
See Eventbrite and Facebook for ticketing information.

Monday, February 22nd:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

“Accounts of Medieval Witchcraft: The Significance of Sexuality and Gender in Defining the Medieval Witch”
Makenna Mall, MSc History, University of Edinburgh
In 1324 Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, Ireland as well as her son and her associates were tried for acts of heresy and sorcery, thus marking the earliest documented trial of a group of individuals deemed to be practicing “black magic.” One hundred and sixty-one years later, the trial of Helena Scheuberin would evolve the definition of heretical “black magic” to focus on sexual communion with demonic forces. This shift in the conceptualization of what constituted black magic or maleficium coincided with the solidification and entrenchment of religious doctrine regarding female fallibility and the female sexual appetite.
While research regarding witchcraft has largely been limited to the early modern period, my essay will seek to remove the veil of mystery that lays on witchcrafts medieval roots by elucidating the complex role sexuality and gender played in defining the medieval witch. Furthermore, through scrutiny of specific cases I will work to elucidate the way in which the late medieval witch differed from earlier medieval conceptions and why these variations occurred and how they were reliant upon changes in gender constructs over time.


Saturday, February 27th:  Dumbarton Castle


Meet at 9 AM at Waverley

£20.30 return/ Entry into the castle is free

Come along to beautiful Dumbarton Castle, which was the centre of the kingdom of Strathclyde from the 5th-11th centuries.  We will spend the afternoon exploring this medieval stronghold while discussing its history and purpose, including its Georgian Governor’s House.  Adding to the dynamic view of the castle is its situation atop a massive area of volcanic rock which overlooks the Firth of Clyde.  This trip to the coast is sure to inspire a love of history!

Monday, February 29th:  Seminar and Bake Sale


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

"Is There a Life Beyond Academics?"
Jeff Sanders, DigIt! Project Manager and Devon McHugh, Relationships & Partnerships Development Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland
Join LAMPS as we host Edinburgh University alumni Jeff Sanders & Devon McHugh for a discussion on life beyond academics. There will also be an opportunity for CV feedback in conjunction with this talk; details to be announced at the talk.
Follow your sweet tooth!  LAMPS will also be participating in the Guinness Bake Sale World Record Attempt at the University of Edinburgh.  This event will run from 9 AM to 5 PM around the University of Edinburgh campus.  The goal of the event is to sell a world record number of baked goods in an eight-hour period, and Great British Bake Off Star and Edinburgh alumnus Glenn Cosby will be present throughout the day!  Look out for more information on this fantastic event and for the exact location of the LAMPS bake sale on Facebook.

Monday, March 7th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G. 05

“Churches Through Time: An Analysis of the Patterns and Trends of Ecclesiastical Architecture from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages”
Audrey Scardina, PhD Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Ancient Lycia, on the southwest coast of modern Turkey, provides a wealth of still-standing archaeological remains from the Late Antique and Byzantine periods. In central and west Lycia alone, there are over sixty sites with existing architectural remains of Late Antique and Byzantine ecclesiastical structures; this totals in over one hundred churches.
Previous and current research on the architectural remains from this period tends to emphasise individual sites, or alternately, a comparison of specific architectural features across multiple sites without much context. This has lead to an absence of research on the overall trends of building and rebuilding across the different regions of Lycia, including a consideration of architectural features such as design and building technique.
In this paper, I will use GIS-based analysis to reveal new theories about architectural trends, from the genesis of church buildings during the Late Antique period to their final incarnations in the tenth- to eleventh-century. This research has revealed the differences in the construction trends of central and western Lycia, as well as highlighting possible building programmes throughout the period of study. With a detailed knowledge and analysis of the individual locations, it is possible to understand why certain sites stand out, why some decline, and why some continue to flourish for over five centuries. This research provides a new way of understanding the use of the churches of Lycia, and through that, a stronger knowledge of the people who used them.

Saturday, March 12th:  LAMPS Pub Quiz


6:30 PM - 8 PM in Teviot Dining Room

£2/£3 members/ non-members

Come face off against fellow medievalists and movie buffs! We will be spending the evening being quizzed on everything from the the date of Thomas Becket’s murder to what castles were used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Prizes will be given out to the team that proves they have what it takes to go the distance.   Don’t forget your game face!

Monday, March 14th:  Heritage in Scotland Roundtable and Annual General Meeting


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

LAMPS is very excited to introduce a new means of creating interdisciplinary connections within our society by hosting a roundtable event in which our members will have the opportunity to discuss hot-button topics in relation to the past in modern-day academia.  The theme for this particular roundtable is “Heritage in Scotland” which includes everything from cinematic adaptations of the Late Antique to the Middle Ages to museum outreach programs that attempt to appropriate the past in the present.  This LAMPS-mediated event promotes safe and provocative discussion of how our modern world affects the past worlds that we so diligently study, and how heritage impacts us today and in the future.
After a rousing discussion, LAMPS will have its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where a new committee will be elected by LAMPS members.  We encourage all members to come and vote in the new President, Treasurer, Secretary, Seminar Secretary, Events Secretary, and two new General Members as they will come to represent LAMPS as a society at the University of Edinburgh!

Saturday, March 19th:  Tantallon and Dirleton Castles


Meet at 10 AM at Crichton Street

£25/£28  members/non-members

Come along with LAMPS as we explore two beautiful coastal castles. A relatively short coach ride from the city center, both Tantallon and Dirleton offer breathtaking views and a chance to explore two medieval castles steeped in history. Tantallon has not only endured three major sieges, but was the seat of the Douglas Earls of Angus, one of Scotland’s most powerful baronial families. Meanwhile, Dirleton Castle served as the seat of power for three noble families before being damaged during Cromwell’s siege in 1650. Come prepared for rainy Scottish weather as we explore the battle-filled history of these two coastal treasures.

Monday, March 21st:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

 "Colour Symbolism versus Pigment Production in Insular Manuscripts"
Lauren Deeth-Kelt, MSc Art in the Global Middle Ages, University of Edinburgh
Colour symbolism is frequently encountered in early medieval scholarship as many Insular manuscripts have been deeply studied to reveal connections between the materials of pigment production and how the origins of said compounds contribute to the symbolism of the image. The consideration of pigments in Insular art has recently increased as a field due to new developments in scientific analysis. Contemporary studies on the Book of Kells have revealed more information on the exact composition of the materials used in the illuminations. Whilst previous scholarship has tended towards the symbolic nature of pigment use, the gritty reality of pigment production is frequently underplayed. Dirt, faeces and urine were commonly employed in the early medieval scriptorium in the production of a variety of colours. For example, copper is used to create hues of blue and green that have been imbued with doctrinal meaning in the iconographic programmes of Insular Gospel books, however, urine was needed to create the compounds required. Manuscripts such as the Book of Kells, since their creation, have been revered as apotropaic and divine objects channelling the word of God to the faithful. Indeed, the Book of Kells was famously referred to as so beautiful it must have been “created by angels”; its supposed divine provenance ignoring the very earthly paraphernalia required for its creation. This paper will trace the journey of raw earthly materials to divine commissions and analyse the opposing forces of pigment material and colour symbolism in the early medieval period. 

Monday, March 28th:  Seminar


6:15 PM in 50 George Square G.05

“Religious Diversity as a Threat to Civic Unity? : Bishop Avitus and the Conversion of the Jews of Clermont in AD 576”
Lorenzo Livorsi, MA Classics, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
At Pentecost in AD 576, more than five hundred Jews living in Clermont were baptised by the local bishop, Avitus. This was, however, no collective illumination: it was the final stage of a series of civic disorders and, faced with the alternative of leaving the town forever or becoming part of Christ’s flock, the troublesome Jewish minority chose the latter. Regarding this fact, we have to rely on the not completely concordant accounts of Venantius Fortunatus and of Gregory of Tours. Fortunatus’ poetical account, in particular, cloaks the event in deep theological meaning; however, it does not conceal the serious struggles within the town. But this is not only one of the several episodes of early Christian anti-Semitism; it also testifies to a changing perception of community in early Medieval society: civic unity seems unthinkable without unity of faith in post-Roman Gaul, where kings and bishops led their towns jointly, in a not always easy dialogue, and the Catholic Church was a major element of civic cohesion. Some acts of the councils of Gaul and Spain (where forced conversions were rather frequent) can reveal much of this new conception of the community. Yet, the way in which, less than twenty years later, Gregory the Great cautioned Theodorus, bishop of Marseilles, against converting Jews forcedly suggests that views on this issue were far from uniform within the western Church.

Thursday, March 31st:  International Hug a Medievalist Day


Meet at 12 PM on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade


Feeling blue?  Stressed out about essays?  Research not cooperating?  Life got you down?  Just like hugs?  Then this is the event for you! LAMPS will be celebrating International Hug a Medievalist Day by, well, hugging it out.  Join us as we offer hugs, support, and probably random medieval fun facts!

Saturday, April 9th:  National Museum Celts Exhibition Tour


Meet outside the gift shop at the National Museum of Scotland at 12 PM

£10/£8 adult/concession for entry to the exhibition

Join us as we explore the Celts Exhibition. This special exhibition seeks to elucidate through artifacts the rich and often elusive history of the varied peoples who, throughout history, have been labeled as ‘Celts.’ Included in the exhibition are objects of religious devotion and jewellery spanning from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.


Friday, April 15th:  Speed Dating Research Q&A


7 PM - 8:30 PM in Teviot Study (next to the New Amphion Café)


Ever wondered what a PhD student would be able to add to your current research, or what you could add to theirs? Now is a chance to find out as LAMPS presents a speeding dating Q&A open to Honors Undergraduates, Masters students, and PhD candidates. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow researchers and discuss possible new areas of thought, receive general feedback on your ideas, or to share your potential thesis and get feedback from students completing a wide range of degrees.

Saturday, April 23rd:  St. Andrews Trip


Meet at 9 AM at Crichton Street

£25/£28  members/non-members

Join LAMPS as we explore the city where royal romance blossomed! Home to the oldest university in Scotland, St. Andrews also has a beautiful medieval castle dramatically situated overlooking the North Sea. This castle was home to Scotland’s leading bishop (and later archbishop) throughout the Middle Ages, and was therefore the site of many important happenings in Scottish history, including some key moments leading up to the Scottish Reformation in 1560. St. Andrews also boasts an amazing cathedral, the largest and most impressive medieval church in Scotland. We will climb to the top of St. Rule’s tower to see a breath-taking view of St. Andrews and the coastline, and explore the museum buildings and graveyard that surround the cathedral. It is sure to be a great day full of windblown medieval shenanigans!


Twitter: @LAMPS_Edinburgh

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