Reflections on SRS2010

January 18, 2010
By William Sherman

Taken from the Bulletin, October 2010

Society for Renaissance Studies Fourth Biennial Conference University of York
16-18 July 2010

We were delighted to welcome some 230 delegates from eighteen countries to the historic city of York for the Fourth Biennial Conference of the SRS The meeting was timed to follow on from the Leeds Medieval Congress and coincided with the final weekend of theYork Early Music Festival It was hosted by the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies and based in the King’s Manor, a beautiful set of Medieval/Renaissance buildings in the heart of town Plenary events made use of York’s other architectural gems

On 16 July, Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary, University of London) delivered the opening plenary on ‘Word and Image in Renaissance Moral Thought’ in the fourteenth-century Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, followed by a reception in the gardens sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell. On 17 July, Iain Fenlon (Cambridge) gave us a talk on ‘Life and Death: Space and Ritual in Renaissance Venice’, featuring visual and musical illustrations, in the twelfth-century church of St Margaret, now home to the National Centre for Early Music On 18 July, Penelope Gouk (Manchester) closed the conference with an overview of ‘Sound Studies between Art and Science’ in the fifteenth-century hall of St William’s College, now the conference centre for York Minster.

Over the course of three days, more than 200 papers were delivered in fifty-one panels representing a wide variety of disciplines, methods and themes: the featured strands included ‘Landscapes/Soundscapes’, ‘Crossing the Medieval-Renaissance Divide’,‘Materiality and Spirituality’,‘Travel and Encounter’,‘Possessions and Collections’ and ‘The Boundaries of Science’

The programme also included:

• A mini-conference on law and literature, chaired by Lorna Hutson and Erica Sheen

• A workshop on getting published, run by Sarah Stanton (CUP) and Andrew Hadfield (Editor, Renaissance Studies)

• A conversation with Richard Wistreich and Iain Fenlon on the state of music historiography

• ‘Did York Have a Renaissance? An Architectural Exploration’, led by York’s archaeologists and art historians


Thanks to the Council’s generosity with bursaries, we were able to award fee waivers and travel grants to forty-two postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers, and independent scholars We were also pleased to feature the book displays of ten publishers and to welcome many new members to the Society

Bill Sherman Director, Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies University of York

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