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.
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.
I thought I would start by saying that the university, like other educational institutions, is keeping abreast of the advice coming from Government in the current circumstances. Consequently, as and when I have anything definite, I’ll let you know regarding upcoming Centre events, and we will similarly inform those involved whether as speakers, attendees, volunteers etc. However, in the meantime individual vigilance is obviously important and there is plenty of information through official channels, including NHS England and other public health and safety organisations.
This week I’m exploring what we have planned for 2020.
I’m going to concentrate on the Medieval Pageant this week because it has now become a major day in Canterbury’s calendar, and once again Professor Louise Wilkinson led a team of staff and students from CCCU to bring family-friendly activities to those on the city trail, but first I want to bring other matters to your attention.
It won’t be long before we are into the Centre’s autumn events, and, as well as the Nightingale Lecture mentioned last week, it is with great pleasure that I want to let you know that Dr Rachel Koopmans has agreed to give the annual Becket Lecture in either November or early December, when she will discuss her new and exciting findings regarding the Becket miracle windows.
Before I come to ‘Maritime Kent though the Ages’ this weekend and the great array of speakers, I thought I would very briefly mention that I attended two of the sessions last Saturday of the University of Kent’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Summer Festival that featured six speakers from Canterbury Christ Church University.
In some ways a great deal has happened this week and in other ways very little, a sort of treading water time before various decisions are made and implemented. On a positive note it is now two weeks to the Maritime Kent through the Ages conference and some of the final arrangements are being put in place for Richard Holdsworth’s keynote lecture on Friday 22 June: ‘Kent, the Royal Navy and the Defence of Britain’ at 7pm [wine reception from 6.30pm]. All welcome, booking not required.
Regarding the work of the Centre, firstly I want to congratulate Dr Diane Heath on the submission of the Gender and Medieval Studies volume on Gender: Places, Spaces and Thresholds to the publisher last weekend. Diane and her fellow editors have done a truly splendid job in record time and they deserve much applause and the deep-felt thanks of the various contributors, including two from Canterbury Christ Church: Dr Leonie Hicks has written the Afterword and I have contributed an article, as has Diane. If all goes well, it will be out in the autumn this year.
The first item I thought I would bring to you this week is news of the rescheduled Becket Lecture that will now take place on Tuesday 6 March at 6pm in The Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House. As you may remember, the lecture will be given by Dr Marie-Pierre Gelin (UCL) and she will be speaking on ‘Thomas Becket and his Predecessors in Canterbury’. Booking not required, and we at the Centre will look forward to seeing you there.