CFP: AAH Session, Ritual and Sensory Experience in Medieval Sculpture

AAH 2017
43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017

Call for Papers: Ritual and Sensory Experience in Medieval Sculpture

Fixed to the facades of great buildings, or nestled within an elaborate architectural surround, medieval sculpture has a reputation as being static, immovable and durable. This session seeks to challenge these assumptions by examining the sensory environment of medieval sculpture and its relationship to ritual and performative practices.

Medieval rituals utilised a variety of objects and materials, and stimulated multiple senses through visual, musical and physical aspects of devotion. As incense burned and music filled the air, sculpture often provided a visual and tactile complement to these sensory experiences. The interactive role of sculpture is paramount for understanding the social qualities of medieval ritual and its bodily–kinaesthetic relationship to sacred space. Sculpture provides a tangible link to the study of ritual performance and a means of accessing the ephemeral activities central to medieval life. This session sets out to provide stimulating conversations on the study of medieval sculpture beyond the visible qualities of the medium.

Paper topics in this session might include examinations of the ritual context of funerary monuments, liturgical props, processional sculpture, reliquaries, cult statues and devotional objects, among others. We are also interested in papers that consider pedagogical approaches to ritual and offer new methodologies for their study. To supplement this session, we would like to propose a visit on the following day to Loughborough’s All Saints with Holy Trinity parish church to continue this conversation in a medieval space.

This session is facilitated by the Henry Moore Institute, a centre for the study of sculpture. It will incorporate the expertise of medieval sculpture scholars, including Dr Peter Dent (Bristol University and co-editor of Sculpture Journal) and Dr Stacy Boldrick (University of Leicester), who will serve as respondents to this session.

Session Convenors:
Elisa A Foster, Henry Moore Institute,
Jessica Barker, The Courtauld Institute of Art,

Please email your paper proposals straight  to the session convenor(s). Provide a title and abstract for a 25 minute paper (max 250 words). Include your name, affiliation and email. Your paper title should be concise and accurately reflect what the paper is about (it should ‘say what it does on the tin’) because the title is what appears most first and foremost online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeksDo not send proposals to the Conference Administrator or the Conference Convenor.

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 7 November 2016


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