Having caught up with Dr Claire Bartram, as Co-Director of the Centre, and Dr Diane Heath, the Centre’s Research Fellow, I thought I would report on their involvement with the forthcoming Medieval Pageant on Saturday 4 July (the closest Saturday to the Translation of St Thomas on 7 July), which this year will be a virtual experience: https://www.canterburybid.co.uk/canterbury-medieval-pageant/ . Working with the Medieval Pageant team, Claire has been liaising between them and the Creative Writing staff and students at CCCU on some short creative pieces that relate to Thomas Becket.
This week I thought I would start with a collaboration between the Centre and MEMS at Kent as part of their new online initiative. Led by the Kent team comprising a Taught MA student and four PhD students (one has just completed), this new website will provide information about freely available online resources arranged thematically in the fields of medieval and early modern studies; with a forum so that researchers can raise questions, seek assistance or notify others about newly discovered resources. This exciting development ‘Unchaining the library’ was launched this week and is already receiving rave reviews. If you want to check it out, please go to: https://www.memslib.co.uk/
I thought I would start this week by telling you about an exciting opportunity for someone who is interested in the History of the Book and who would like to undertake a postgraduate degree in the School of Humanities as part of the Kent History Postgraduates group.
This week I thought I would catch up with what Dr Diane Heath has been doing recently, as well as where I and my fellow editors are with Maritime Kent. In some ways the later stages towards publication are more feasible at the moment, compared to the earlier part of completing research and writing where access to archives and libraries is extremely important. However, before I come to these developments, the CCCU Kent History Postgraduates met again this week.
This week I thought I would take my cue from the events of last weekend and the idea of significant anniversaries – the international remembrance of VE Day 75 years ago and a local remembrance of Sir Roger Manwood’s foundation of his almshouses in Canterbury 450 years ago. Of course, the ceremonies and other events planned for both of these either didn’t happen at all, especially in the case of Manwood’s almshouses, or were very different than first planned, the VE Day commemoration of those who had come through WWII , but even more those who hadn’t. However, the actual focus of this blog is neither of these, and hopefully I’ll be able to report on the Manwood event next year, nor is it Becket 2020, which seems to becoming Becket 2020/21, although Becket might be said to have a walk-on part.
As we hopefully begin to get some idea of the government’s timetable and strategy regarding how to get out of lockdown, I thought this week I would use the idea of time – in the form of clocks, and bells – the latter because as a mark of the 8pm Thursday clapping for keyworkers, the bell at Canterbury Cathedral tolls for two minutes. Nevertheless, before I come to my topic, I want to report on the fortnightly meeting of the Kent History Postgraduate group.
Thanks firstly to Dr Diane Heath for last week’s blog, and today I thought I would start with Professor Louise Wilkinson’s virtual ‘Farewell’ last Friday where she was joined by most members from History, several members of the School of Humanities administration team and Dr Harriet Kersey from CCCU Research, who is a former doctoral student of Louise’s. As all agreed, it is a great pity that such a great scholar and lovely, caring person is leaving CCCU after about sixteen years, but as her parents will still be here in Canterbury for the time being, we haven’t ‘lost’ her completely. Consequently, there will be a ‘proper Farewell’ once the lockdown is over when she will be given a rather special gift to mark everyone’s appreciation of what she has done for History and the university more widely.
Although not quite changing decisively hour by hour, things do seem to be doing that on a daily basis as national leaders scramble to keep abreast of this pandemic in various ways. This is such a tough time for so, so many across the world, including a whole host of groups and individuals in this country, and it is vitally important that everyone supports those working in health and care services wherever they are who are doing a brilliant job.
This week I want to feature a few of the events that will be taking place during the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2020 and link them to medieval Canterbury. However, before that I just want to say that Dr Martin Watts will be speaking at the Canterbury branch meeting of the Historical Association tomorrow (Thursday) evening at Kent College. His topic will be his book on the Royal Marines in the Second World War. If you want a taster, please see this earlier blog and if you live locally and this sounds interesting, the local HA will be delighted to see you at 7pm: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/kenthistory/from-anglo-saxons-to-wwii-exploring-canterbury-faversham-and-the-royal-marines/
This week I’m exploring what we have planned for 2020.