25th Medieval & Renaissance Forum at Plymouth State

April 8th, 2004 by Adam

Theme is Narrative for Eye and Ear

Plymouth State University will host the 25th annual gathering of medieval and Renaissance scholars and students on campus Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17. PSU’s Medieval & Renaissance Forum is one of the oldest ongoing conferences for medievalists in the United States.

The forum features a series of lectures, discussions, workshops, readings, symposia, performances and exhibitions, culminating in the annual medieval feast on Saturday night. The forum also includes many fun and colorful activities which are open to the public.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 17 in Rounds Hall. Formal opening ceremonies are at 9:30 a.m. adjacent to Rounds Hall on Summer Street and include a welcome, a reading from Chaucer’s General Prologue by Dr. A. Robin Bowers (English), and the singing of Gaudeamus Igitur. Dr. Naomi Kline, director, will officially open the festivities. In the case of inclement weather, the opening will be held in the foyer.

Many University faculty will moderate sessions, and students in medieval garb serve as greeters throughout the forum. This year’s theme is Narrative for Eye and Ear. Papers will address the multiple ways in which stories are transmitted through time and how written texts, visual images, period music and theater provide a valuable record of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Papers are presented in concurrent session blocks Friday from 10:15 – 11:45 a.m., 2:15 – 3:45 p.m. and 4 – 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:30 – 11 a.m. and 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. The full schedule is available online at www.plymouth.edu/medieval.
Friday’s luncheon will feature a keynote address by Dr. Brian Levy, reader in medieval French studies at the University of Hull in England. Levy will talk on Humor in the Bayeux Tapestry from noon – 2 p.m. in the Hartman Union Building multipurpose room on High Street.

Levy will also show and comment on the 1930s version of Robin Hood from
8:45-10:30 p.m. Friday at Frost Academic Commons, which is adjacent to School Street.

Also on Friday, student members of the Medieval Society will present a live chess game at 2:30 p.m. on the Alumni Green, adjacent to the Hartman Union Building on High Street. In the case of inclement weather, the game will be held in the building.

The Celtic Maze: Exploring Your Own Story”is a workshop with Arthur W. Ketchen on Friday. Participants will learn basic keyboard and maze principles and build their own mazes.
Friday programming will conclude with an honors dinner to recognize people who have been important during the forum’s 25-year history. History of the event is also available on the Forum Web site.

The forum salesroom will be open for the duration of the festival in Rounds Hall room 118. Offerings will include books and objects inspired by the medieval and Renaissance periods.

A highlight of programming on Saturday will be is a workshop on medieval and Renaissance danceby the Ken Pierce Dance and Music Ensemble, from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Hartman Union Building. Participants are invited to learn medieval and Renaissance dances from a master choreographer, accompanied by authentic musical instruments. Cost for the public workshop is $5.

Ken Pierce is director of the early dance program at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass, and a veteran specialist in early dance, particularly dance of the late-Renaissance and baroque eras. He has 20 years’ experience as choreographer, reconstructor, performer, teacher and scholar.

Funding for Ken Pierce’s appearance at Plymouth State University is provided in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) as part of the NEA Regional Touring Program. NEFA receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with additional support from the state arts agencies of New England.

Also on Saturday, from 9:30 – 11 a.m. students of the PSU Medieval Society will present papers in Rounds Hall room 304. PSUprofessor Andrew Smyth will moderate the session:
Lauren Moreau: A Fascinating Gap in Becket Scholarship; Laura Grindle, Medieval Farming;
Allison Cunningham, English Working Women in the late 14th Century: Working Girls and Holy Women; Stephen Bates, topic TBA; and Maureen O’Brien, Law, Outlawry, and Social Education in the Icelandic Sagas.

Forum festivities conclude Saturday evening with the annual Medieval Feast beginning at 6 p.m. at Heritage Commons in Hall Residence Hall on Highland Street. Participants gather for gustatory treats, pageantry, and music and dance by the Ken Pierce Ensemble.

All forum events are presented free of charge, except for meals, which require advance registration, and the dance workshop. Registration is required for those who plan to participate in more than one event and join sessions. Residents of Plymouth participate without charge. Please check the Forum Web site. for details and further information. To register contact Dr. Naomi Kline, (603) 535-2280 or Matt Rolph, assistant director, m_rolph@plymouth.edu.