Teaching Medieval French: Sustainable Approaches for the Next Generation 

Dates: 27-29 April 2023

Organisers: Emma Campbell and Liam Lewis

This three-day event for U.K.-based university teachers, researchers, and early career academics came out of two online ‘state-of-the-discipline’ workshops for Medieval French Studies organised in 2022. Responding to a need identified at those workshops, this in-person event at the University of Warwick enabled participants to develop new, sustainable, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching medieval French materials to undergraduates across a range of HE institutions. 

The interconnected aims of this event were: (1) to introduce participants to strategies that they could take forward in their teaching practice, (2) to provide space and time for attendees to workshop ideas they could integrate directly into their present or future teaching, and (3) to discuss the sharing and development of pedagogical resources cross-institutionally. To that end, invited speakers with expertise in areas that intersect with studies of medieval French–particularly performance studies, visual culture, and material culture–led workshops aimed at providing participants with a set of tools for their own practice. Participants worked on existing course materials or on new ideas in ‘developing ideas’ sessions incorporated into the workshops. There was a final session dedicated to discussing practical strategies for sharing resources and sources of potential funding.

The outcomes of the event can be summarised as follows:

  • New teaching resources and approaches. Participants left the workshops with new materials and methodologies for teaching medieval French literature culture immediately usable in their own institutional contexts. 
  • Strategies for collaborative working and resource sharing. The workshops enabled colleagues to explore practical strategies for sharing resources and expertise across institutions. The final session built on this by discussing the development of resources and possible platforms for cross-institutional collaboration. 
  • Future funding bids. We anticipate future funding bids to facilitate collaborations with community partners. Additional funding plans to support cross-institutional sharing of resources are under discussion.
  • Professional development. Participants of all career stages were able to learn new skills and integrate those into teaching plans. 
  • Community engagement. The workshops included a session co-led by Grapevine charity. There was also a public performance of a medieval text at Coventry’s Guildhall, a public after-show discussion, and a storytelling workshop accessible to the public. 

We are grateful to UCML for generously supporting this event.

Emma Campbell

Liam Lewis

25 May 2023

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