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A Medieval journey

PA 33/10

February 26 2010

Major research series promises unique Medieval journey

Internationally-renowned ‘historical detective’, Michael Wood, will launch a major new series of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and seminars on the Medieval era next week at The University of Nottingham.

‘Accessing the Medieval’ promises to be a compelling and illuminating programme of events at the University over the next two years. It’s being launched by the Institute for Medieval Research and the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections which looks after many important and celebrated items of Medieval origin within its extensive archives. The research series has been set up to explore the relationship between popular perceptions of the Middle Ages and academic research in this fascinating field of study.

The inaugural event is a public lecture by Michael Wood called ‘Saxons, Celts and Vikings, The Reign of Athelstan and the Creation of England’. It takes place at 6pm on Monday March 1 on University Park. Michael Wood is well known as a popular historian and TV documentary maker. He is currently working on a new series for television called ‘ English Story’, which follows one East Midlands village, Kibworth in Leicestershire, through history, from the Romans to the present.

Michael Wood’s illustrated talk will include some exciting new ideas and fresh discoveries about 10th century England with some intriguing speculations about King Athelstan, ‘the greatest figure in British history to lack a biography’. He will also offer a fresh look at the greatest unsolved mystery of the period — the location of the 10th century ‘Great War’, the battle of Brunanburh.

Another highlight of the ‘Accessing the Medieval’ research series will be an exhibition of medieval manuscripts which once formed part of the Willoughby family library at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire. ‘Saints, Sinners and Story Tellers’ opens at the University’s Lakeside Arts Centre on Friday April 30.

The display will also provide the first public opportunity to see leaves from the Wollaton Antiphonal, a 15th century illuminated musical manuscript from St Leonard’s Parish Church in Wollaton, now in the care of the University. Some of the choral works within it will be performed in a concert by the Binchois Consort at Lakeside on Saturday May 8.

Director of the Institute for Medieval Research, Professor Judith Jesch, said:

“We are delighted that this unique research series is being launched by Michael Wood. He is an excellent example of someone who is both very knowledgeable about the medieval period and a master at making it accessible to a large audience. The Institute similarly prides itself on the combination of expertise and enthusiasm and we are always keen to share our knowledge with the interested general public. The new series is an ideal opportunity to do so.”

Keeper of the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections, Dr Dorothy Johnston, said: “It is unusual to have a medieval collection which has retained its links with a particular locality, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase it for a public audience. The exhibition has an amazing range of interest — from stories of kings and images of knights

to details of skills involved in the making of these manuscripts.”

A full programme of the events within the research series this year is detailed below:

(The programme for the next academic session 2010/11 will be released in August.)

Accessing the Medieval

University of Nottingham

Institute for Medieval Research and

Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections


Monday March 1 2010

Public Lecture Michael Wood

                • Saxons, Celts and Vikings: The Reign of Athelstan (925-39) and the             Creation of England
              • 6pm, Law and Social Sciences B63, followed by a reception.

Thursday March 18 2010

Seminar Dr Kathryn Lowe

                • A graduate of Nottingham and senior lecturer in English Language at the University of Glasgow, Dr Lowe advised Melvyn Bragg on his landmark TV series The Adventures of English (2002) and the radio series The Routes of English (1999-2001).
            • Travels with Auntie: Me, Melvyn and the Media

              6pm, Trent Building B38a

Events at the Lakeside Arts Centre

Admission free unless otherwise specified

Friday April 30 2010 – Sunday August 8 2010

Exhibition Saints, Sinners and Story Tellers: Medieval Wollaton Manuscripts at           The University of Nottingham

            • Weston Gallery, DH Lawrence Pavilion

              Admission free.

Wednesday May 5 2010

Lunchtime talk Keeping safe and sharing access

                • The curators reveal more about the development of the exhibition in the context of recent conservation, digitisation and research projects.
            • DH Lawrence Pavilion Performing Arts Workshop, 1pm

Saturday May 8

Concert Binchois Consort, Director Andrew Kirkman

            • Concert of Music from the Wollaton Antiphonal

              Djanogly Recital Hall, 7.30pm

Wednesday May 26 2010

Lunchtime talk Dr Rob Lutton

                • God, Sex and Fashion: The Reading Habits of the Fifteenth-Century English Gentlewoman

                  Dr Lutton of the University’s School of History investigates what the medieval texts tell us about their owners and readers.

                  Lakeside, DH Lawrence Pavilion Theatre, DH Lawrence Pavilion, 1pm

                  Admission free; places must be booked from Lakeside Box Office, 0115 846 7777.

Wednesday June 16 2010

Lunchtime talk Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre

                • Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre, academic advisor for the exhibition, looks at the life and legacy of Sir Thomas Chaworth (d.1459), the original owner of the Wollaton Antiphonal.

                  Lakeside, DH Lawrence Pavilion Performing Arts Workshop, 1pm

                  Admission free; places must be booked from Lakeside Box Office, 0115 846 7777.

            • Sir Thomas Chaworth and his Books

Wednesday July 14 2010

Lunchtime talk Sarah Skinner

                • Sarah Skinner, Keeper of Art at Nottingham Castle Museum, provides more background about the alabaster trade in medieval Nottingham and the image of St Zita, on display in the exhibition.
                • Admission free; tickets must be booked from Lakeside Box Office,  0115 846 7777.
            • Nottingham Alabasters in the Nottingham Castle Collection

              Lakeside, DH Lawrence Pavilion Performing Arts Workshop, 1pm

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

More information is available from Professor Judith Jesch on +44(0)115 951 5925, judith.jesch@nottingham.ac.uk; Dr Nicola Royan, School of English Studies on +44 (0)115 951 5900, nicola.royan@nottingham.ac.uk; or Media Relations Manager Emma Rayner in the University’s Communications Office on +44 (0)115 951 5793, emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk

More University of Nottingham news: http://communications/nottingham.ac.uk/

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