CONF: New Directions in the Study of Medieval Sculpture (Leeds, 16-17 Mar 18)

Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK, March 16 – 17, 2018


The focus on the materiality of medieval sculpture has proven crucial to its study and has expanded our historical understanding of sculpture itself. Whether monumental relief sculpture in stone, wooden sculptures in the round, sculpted altarpieces, ivory plaques or enamelled reliquaries, the possibilities for research on medieval sculpture now extend far beyond the established canon.

Contemporary medieval sculpture studies have opened the field to comparative and inclusive research that embraces the social, performative, gendered and ritual uses of medieval sculpture. This two-day conference provides an opportunity for scholars and students to reflect on the field and ask how do we investigate medieval sculpture today and what might come ‘after’ materiality?

This two-day international conference assesses the state of the field of medieval sculpture, exploring new directions, approaches and technologies for research. The discussion-based format of the conference will provide an opportunity for conversation amongst delegates and speakers.
Participants include: Dr Jessica Barker (University of East Anglia), Dr Stacy Boldrick (University of Leicester), Diana de Bellaigue  (National Museums Scotland), Dr Peter Carpreau (M – Museum Leuven), Dr Xavier Dectot (National Museums Scotland), Dr Peter Dent (University of Bristol), Prof. William Diebold (Reed College), Dr Amy Gillette (The Barnes Foundation), Dr Sarah Guérin (University of Pennsylvania), Dr Agata Gomółka (University of East Anglia), Robert Hawkins (University of Cambridge), Dr Rachel King (Burrell Collection), Dr Julian Luxford (University of St Andrews), Dr Luca Palozzi (University of Edinburgh), Dr Heather Pulliam (University of Edinburgh), Dr Zachary Stewart (Texas A&M University), Nancy Thebaut (University of Chicago), Dr Kim Woods (Open University), Michaela Zöschg (Victoria & Albert Museum). A response by Prof. Paul Binski (University of Cambridge) will bring proceedings to a close.

£30 / £15 (concessions), including Saturday lunch, Friday night wine reception, and refreshments.

Please register online here:

Schedule of Sessions:

Friday 16 March 12.30 – 7.30 PM

Session One: Time
Chair:  Dr Peter Dent (University of Bristol)

Dr Luca Palozzi (University of Edinburgh)
‘Giovanni Pisano, the Mechanical Clock and the Epiphany of the Moving Image’

Dr Jessica Barker (University of East Anglia)
‘Mutable Monuments: Time, Decay and Transformation in Medieval Sculpture’

Session Two: Copies and Reconstruction
Chair: Michaela Zöschg (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Dr Amy Gillette (The Barnes Foundation)

Dr Zachary Stewart (Texas A&M University)
‘Reimagining the Font Canopy of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich with new finds from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’

Prof William Diebold (Reed College)
‘Medieval Monumental Sculpture on Display in the Modern German Museum: Theory, Practice and the Problem of the Copy’

Session Three: Single Sculpture Study Roundtable
Chair: Dr Luca Palozzi (University of Edinburgh)

‘Multiples Perspectives on a Virgin and Child by the Maestro della Santa Caterina Gualino’

Dr Xavier Dectot (National Museums Scotland)

Diana de Belliaigue (National Museums Scotland)

Dr Rachel King (Burrell Collection)

Wine Reception to follow

Saturday 17 March 2018, 10 am – 6:30 PM

Session Four: Materiality
Chair: Dr Elisa Foster (Henry Moore Institute)

Dr Kim Woods (Open University)
‘Speaking Sculptures’

Dr Julian Luxford (University of St Andrews)
‘Material or efficient cause? A critique of the agency of sculpture’

Session Five: Material Networks
Chair: Dr Elisa Foster (Henry Moore Institute)

Dr Sarah Guérin (University of Pennsylvania)
‘Material Translations: Medieval Sculpture in a World System’

Dr Peter Capreau (M-Museum Leuven)
‘Cultural Spaces’

Session Six: Medieval Sculpture and Photography
Chair: Dr Jessica Barker (University of East Anglia)

Nancy Thebaut (University of Chicago)
‘Hidden Faces and Facets: Taking an Oblique Look at Medieval Ivories’

Robert Hawkins (University of Cambridge)
‘Spatial issues in the later sculpted bosses from Norwich Cathedral Cloister (c.1410 – c 1430)’

Session Seven: Making Sense: Body and Mind
Chair: Dr Stacy Boldrick (University of Leicester)

Dr Heather Pulliam (University of Edinburgh)
‘From 2D to 4D: The Cross of the Scriptures and the Embodied Eye’

Dr Agata Gomółka (University of East Anglia)
‘Making Gestures: bodily techniques of stone carving’

Conference Response – Prof Paul Binski (University of Cambridge)

For questions and further information, please contact the conference organiser, Dr Elisa Foster (

Published by thegrailquest

Anastasija Ropa holds a doctoral degree from Bangor University (North Wales), for a study in medieval and modern Arthurian literature. She has published a number of articles on medieval and modern Arthurian literature, focusing on its historical and artistic aspects. She is currently employed as guest lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education. Anastasija’s most recent research explores medieval equestrianism in English and French literary art and literature, and she is also engaged as part-time volunteer horse-trainer. In a nutshell: Lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education Graduate of the School of English, University of Wales, Bangor. Graduate of the University of Latvia Passionate about history, particularly the Middle Ages A horse-lover and horse-owner

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