Collecting, Curating, Assembling: New Approaches to the Archive in the Middle Ages

Friday 6 September 2019
Page from Augustinus de Trinitate, 1489 (TypSwB.A89AA)
Page from St Augustine of Hippo “Opera”, 12th century (msBR65.A9)

The School of Art History, SAIMS and the Special Collections Division of the University of St Andrews Library are pleased to announce an upcoming two-day conference on the archive in medieval art and thought. Collecting, Curating, Assembling: New Approaches to the Archive in the Middle Ages will take place 13-14 September 2019. A full programme of events can be found below.

What can medieval collections, compilations, and assemblages of material things tell us about the accumulation of knowledge and the preservation of memory? How is the archive manipulated to fit political or social agendas, and by whom? What are the limits of the medieval archive?

The conference begins at 14:00 on 13 September at Martyrs Kirk with an illustrated talk by Senior Archivist Rachel Hart on the collecting habits of medieval St Andreans. A handling session with materials from the University’s Special Collections will follow.

Our keynote speaker is Erik Inglis (Oberlin College). The title of his paper is: “History in the Making: Categories, Techniques and Chronology in Church Collections, c. 800-1300”. This event begins at 17:15 in School III.

The following day’s events take place at Parliament Hall. Beginning at 9:00, twelve further invited speakers will present new research on medieval collections of objects — such as books and manuscripts, relics and reliquaries, and precious textiles — as well as the motivations and methodologies of their collectors.

These events are free, unticketed and open to all. However, if you are interested in attending the talk by Rachel Hart and subsequent handling session at Martyrs Kirk please email [email protected] beforehand, since space is limited.

Folios 132v-133r from the Acta facultatis arterium (UYUY411)


Friday 13 September  [Venue: Napier Reading Room, Martyrs Kirk, North Street]

14:00 Emily Savage: word of welcome

14:15 Rachel Hart (University of St Andrews Library, Special Collections): “The surviving evidence of medieval collecting, curating and assembling to be found in the Library of the University of St Andrews”

15:00-16:00 Handling session in Special Collections with Rachel Hart

17:15 Keynote lecture: Erik Inglis (Oberlin College) [Venue: School 3 on the Quad]:  “History in the Making: Categories, Techniques and Chronology in Church Collections, c. 800-1300”

Saturday 14 September [Venue for all sessions: Parliament Hall, South Street]

9:00-10:45 Morning session 1: Testimony – Chair: Kate Rudy

Shannon Wearing (UCLA): “The ‘Eternal Memory of Great Things’: Illustrated Secular Cartularies of the Twelfth Century, from Bavaria to Barcelona”

Margaret Connolly (St Andrews): “The Abbotsford Book of Deeds: A Collective Assemblage of Disparate Things”

Sarina Kursteiner (Columbia University): “Notarial Acts as Sacred Matter: Bolognese Notaries and their Images in the Archive, 1290-1303”

10:45-11:00 Coffee and comfort break

11:00-12:45 Morning session 2: Treasuries – Chair: Emily Savage

Elizabeth Mattison (University of Toronto): “Reflecting a Golden Age: The Material Composition of History in the Treasuries of the Late Medieval Maasland”

Juliette Calvarin (Harvard University): “Afterlives of Funeral Palls in the Sacristy (St. Thomas’, Prague, c. 1410)”

Zachary Stewart (Texas A&M University): “The St Peter Mancroft Inventory: Register, Record, Teaching Resource”

12:45- 2:00 Lunch

14:00-15:45 Afternoon session 1: Manuscripts as Archives – Chair: Agnès Bos

Kathleen Wilson Ruffo (Royal Ontario Museum): “Curating Cultural Capital: A little-known Dutch Psalter as Diplomatic Archive”

Kathryn Rudy (St Andrews): “Manuscripts: Archives as Sewn Objects”

Orly Amit (Tel Aviv University): “Appropriating the Archive: Promoting Legitimacy and Shaping Historical Memory through the Library of John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford”

15:45-16:00 Coffee and comfort break

16:00-17:45 Afternoon session 2: Storing the Archive – Chair: Rachel Hart

Diego Belmonte-Fernandez (Universidad de Sevilla): “Collecting, curating and remembering in the Cathedral of Seville: a portable written archive from the fifteenth century”

Rafael Ceballos-Roa & María del Carmen Rodríguez-López (Universidad de León): “The B-side of the parchment: two medieval monastic archives from the kingdom of León”

Amélie Marineau-Pelletier (University of Ottawa and École des hautes études en sciences sociales): “The Locus Credibilis and the Making of Urban Authority: Preserving the Written Word in Metz (14th-15th Centuries)”


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