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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

What We Do

IMEMS was formally launched as a Durham University research institute in 2010, but our origins go back much further than this: to the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, founded in 1998.

Our offices, above Durham’s World Heritage Site Visitor’s Centre, place us quite literally at the heart of more than one thousand years of history. What better place for medievalists and early modernists to come together to study and share ideas?

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of a Core Executive Team. Strategic guidance and input is provided by a wider executive committee, and our International Advisory Board helps to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach.

Our key areas of focus

Via our Small Research Grants Scheme we provide seedcorn funding to help kick-start research projects. We also support major interdisciplinary research strands with national and international impact, and offer peer review for colleagues wishing to apply for research grants. IMEMS is present at a number of international conferences, including the Kalamazoo IMC and the RSA, and has its own publications series.
Our interdisciplinary MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies attracts the very best students from around the world to use the resources in and around Durham and its World Heritage Site. We also have strong links with a range of other departmental MA programmes. The Medieval and Early Modern Students Association (MEMSA) has a long-standing relationship with us, and we support their activities throughout the year.
A key part of our mission is to encourage public engagement with Durham's World Heritage Site by establishing a written framework on which to base further research. We are also active more widely in the community and are keen to build on existing relationships with local business and heritage organisations. Each year MEMSA students run a community course sponsored by IMEMS; we also host summer schools.
Our varied events calendar is designed to foster the exchange of ideas and encourage research conversations. Each year, we hold a seminar series on a particular theme a number of public lectures, for which we invite national and international speakers to Durham. We hold regular workshops conferences and colloquia, and we have even been known to host a medieval banquet or two!