MEMS Festival 2018 a truly international success

This Summer saw the return of the ‘MEMS Festival’ – a two-day celebration of all things Medieval and Early Modern – and this year’s event welcomed a record number of attendees from as far afield as New York (Ithaca College), Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania), Norway (NTNU University), and Russia (Lomonosov Moscow State University) making MEMS Festival 2018 truly international!

Now in its fourth year, ‘MEMS Festival’ is organised by postgraduate students of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (‘MEMS’) at the University of Kent, and welcomes researchers interested in the field from throughout the UK, EU and internationally. Sponsorship for the annual event is kindly provided by the Consortium for the Humanities and Arts of South East England (CHASE) and the School of History and the School of English at the University of Kent.

MEMS Festival 2018 featured papers that brought together scholars from a range of disciplines, academic schools and institutions which fostered conversations and created a sense of community for all.  Always popular, this year’s workshops were truly interactive and featured ‘Pens and Pigments: A Practice Based Workshop’ which was a hands-on practice-based manuscript workshop led by PhD students Hannah Lilley (MEMS) and Cassandra Harrington (MEMS).

Our own Dr Ryan Perry (MEMS) engaged us with a workshop from the Cultures of Performance Research Cluster and examined the problems inherent in punctuating Medieval texts and asked; do modern applications of punctuation alter the reader’s experience?  Our wonderful colleagues at Special Collections in the Templeman Library offered the opportunity to explore some of their Early Modern printed materials and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at their new storage facilities in the basement of the library, and 12 broadswords were used for the HE-MA (Historical European Martial Arts) demonstration!

An amazing 57 papers were delivered covering a diverse range of topics such as snail water (who knew there was such a thing!), the graffiti of Rochester Castle, the male homoerotic audience in Renaissance theatre and the commemorative ceramics of Charles II. Phew! We’re already looking forward to MEMS Fest 2019!

For the full programme of papers at MEMS Festival 2018, please see the event website . If you would like to register interest in attending the MEMS Festival 2019, please email

By Angela Websdale, PhD Candidate and MEMS Fest Co-Organiser