S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen
owlfish

Wednesday and Thursday at the Leeds IMC

I showed up for my first session on Wednesday thinking I'd stay for the first paper and then leave in favor of a nap. But there were only three audience members, so leaving was no option. It's just as well I stayed. The session ("Ecclesiastical Advertising") was a highlight of the conference, featuring some spectacular wall paintings of tradesmen in hell, and hilarious anecdotes about the monks of Rupertsberg's poor choice of patron, and their attempts to get back Hildegard of Bingen. Later in the day, the Royal Armouries put on an armour demonstration outside on the lawn, dazzling in the sunshine, and funny to boot.

Other highlights included a paper on Saturn and Melancholia, and gallows as geographic landmarks. While the theory behind one's PhD isn't an appropriate conference paper talk, at least it was a remarkably lucid and coherent presentation. Also, I observe that it's rather rude to be the first speaker in a session and then leave before everyone else's papers.

The dance was well-attended (eventually), and more people would have stayed out until the late hours socializing on the lawn if it hadn't taken chill. The bar, reports have it, was open until the better part of 3am or so!

And now it's over. Seven long, tiring, full, rewarding days of conferencing.(Two difference conferences back-to-back for those who have lost track.) I need a vacation.

Skies of blue: The weather's been lovely, bright, and clear for the whole conference. Leeds more than most conferences depends on good weather, for the two sites on which it is held are separated by acres of football* fields, a 5-10 minute walk across grass and, potentially, mud. Sure, there's a shuttle bus, but I can't imagine how crowded they'd be come a rainy conference. The sky thought about raining a few times, but never quite got around to it.

Handy tip from a fellow conference-goer: If you're bored and stuck in a session, look through the program book and consider which paper titles would make good band names.

Cafeteria update: Rumor has it that for years there was a man who ran the cafeteria services here, with great efficiency. Some months ago in the autumn, he had a nervous breakdown for whatever reason and left his job. His absence was generally blamed for the very, very long, slow food lines on Tuesday.

The city to talk about: Winchester is trendy as an object of research.

* Both kinds of football fields!

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