'Armed hybrid'. BL, MS Harley 5648, f.13v
‘Armed hybrid’. BL, MS Harley 5648, f.13v

The Gender & Medieval Studies (GMS) Group is a UK-based organization devoted solely to putting together an annual interdisciplinary conference, which furthers the study of medieval gender. The conference is an annual peripatetic event that has been running since at least the late 1980s (oral history suggests that it was running in 1987 at the latest) and traditionally takes place in early January.

It is geared as much towards postgraduate students as established scholars. A steering committee exists to help ensure the continuation of the conference from year to year.

Call for Papers for the 2022 GMS conference

Resilience, Persistence, and Agency

The American University of Paris, 5-7 January, 2022
Deadline: September 15th, 2021

Resilience in the face of adversity for marginalized individuals, persistence in the face of obstacles created by hegemonic power structures, and creative or subversive forms of agency were as often exerted by feminine and queer actors in the Middle Ages as they are in the twenty-first century. Contemporary medieval scholarship is inflected by intersectional feminist frameworks that explore how individuals can understand and subvert power structures in the face of multiple oppressions, postcolonial studies that broadens our understanding of what constitutes a “Middle Ages,” and critical race theory that invites medievalists to interrogate the history of their discipline and the pernicious ends to which “medievalism” has been put in contemporary white supremacist discourses. This edition of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference invites papers that examine how resilience, persistence, and agency were deployed by actors during the global Middle Ages and how medieval studies can play an activist role in deconstructing the misperceptions of the period that buttress oppressive politics.
The organizers welcome proposals on any aspect of resilience, persistence, and agency as it relates to medieval genders and sexualities from scholars at any stage of study or career.

Proposals for papers may include, but are not limited to:

  • Subversive discourses in the Middle Ages
  • covert agency
  • unrecognized resilience
  • transgressive behaviors
  • persistence and resistance
  • anachronism and activism
  • postcolonial medieval studies
  • recovering trans and queer narratives
  • antiracist medieval scholarship
  • non-European Middle Ages

We anticipate contributors giving papers of 10-15 minutes. Proposals for panels of 3-4 papers are also warmly welcomed, as are proposals for roundtables (90 minutes) of 3-5 participants. The conference aims to be as inclusive as possible and encourages participation from around the globe. As such the sessions and activities will be a mixture of on-site events in Paris with remote and/or asynchronous participation welcome. The conference will be broadcast via Zoom on Paris time.

Please submit proposed titles and abstracts of 300 words, with a short biography to Elizabeth Kinne (gmsconference2022@gmail.com) by September 15, 2021.

Our 2021 Conference

Gender and Mobility

University of Surrey
11th – 13th January 2021
with a postgraduate workshop on the 10th January.

Registration is open via Eventbrite.

Plenary speakers:
Professor Liz Herbert McAvoy (Swansea University)
Dr Rachel Moss (University of Northampton) 
Dr Mine Sevinc (University of Surrey) 
Postgraduate workshop by Professor Elaine Treharne (Stanford University)
Storytelling performance by Dr Daisy Black (University of Wolverhampton)
 Zine Workshop with Dr Jonah Coman, ‘Rogue Public Engagement – Research Zines’.

Inclusivity, Harassment & Accessibility


Conference organisers are required to include a statement of inclusivity and accessibility, including an anti-harassment statement in the programme and on any individually managed website. As a body, the GMS is committed to valuing diversity, difference and inclusivity, and to opposing most actively any form of discrimination based on gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. The annual conference is designed to encourage full inclusivity, based on mutual respect, collegial and collaborative interactions, and friendship. As such, we are also dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone in attendance. As a group, we do not tolerate harassment of or by conference participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules for respectful interaction may be subject to sanctions or required to leave the conference, without a refund, at the discretion of the conference organizers.


Many who work in academic settings live with disabilities and/or chronic conditions which mean that attending conferences can be a difficult issue. This can be the case for students, early career researchers, independent scholars, tenured academics and support staff, and all need support so that their conference experience is as good as it possibly can be. We have created guidelines for GMS conference organisers in line with advice offered by the Medievalists with Disabilities group that include:

  • Full accessibility for all spaces used during the conference, including social spaces.
  • Sufficient seating at all events, including social events and receptions.
  • Clear and visible signposting for all toilet facilities, including those for disabled or non-gendered access.
  • Provision of a quiet room in addition to other conference spaces.
  • Use of inclusive language in all communications and conference spaces.
  • Accessibility built into all conference trips and venues.

Important advice on accessibility is available via the Medievalists with Disabilities accessibility guide:


Gender and Medieval Studies Student Essay Prize 2020

Sponsored by Castle Hill Bookshop, Richmond, Yorkshire.

The Gender and Medieval Studies Group offers a postgraduate student essay prize, which is awarded at the GMS conference in January each year. The competition is open to students at all levels of graduate study including those who will be completing their degree in the coming year.

Essays should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in length. This word limit is inclusive of footnotes but exclusive of the bibliography. Entries should engage with questions of gender and/or sexuality in the Middle Ages and follow a recognised academic referencing system (such as MHRA). A full bibliography should be included, and all images should be captioned.

Submissions from postgraduates working within any discipline in the field are encouraged.

The prize gives free conference fee registration to the GMS conference (held every January at a different UK institution) for two years (2020 and 2021), a £100 book token for Castle Hill Bookshop and a contribution towards UK travel costs to the conference.

The winning essay will also be considered for publication in the academic journal Medieval Feminist Forum, run by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS).

There may be years when no prize is awarded, depending upon submissions in any given year.

Electronic submissions should be submitted to Laura Kalas (L.E.Kalas@swansea.ac.uk), by the student themselves, by Monday 30th November 2020. In submitting an entry to this competition, entrants declare that the essay represents their own, original work.

To keep up-to-date on the GMS conference series, please subscribe to the listserv address:  GMS-LIST@jiscmail.ac.uk or follow the link on the GMS homepage.

Gender and Medieval Studies Student Essay Prize 2018

The 2018 Gender and Medieval Studies Student Essay Prize has been awarded to Sarah Hinds from the University of York, for her essay ‘Late Medieval Sexual Badges as Sexual Signifiers: An Archaeological Reappraisal’. Huge congratulations to Sarah!

Information about submissions for our 2019 essay prize will be announced here.

To keep up-to-date on the GMS conference series, please subscribe to the listserv address:  GMS-LIST@jiscmail.ac.uk.

GMS Steering Committee

Nominations are invited from colleagues interested in joining the GMS steering committee. The GMS steering committee oversees the Gender and Medieval Studies conference, manages the postgraduate travel fund associated with the conference, maintains a website and runs an annual postgraduate student essay prize. It also makes provision for gender and sexuality studies at other medieval conferences and generally works to promote the field, particularly, through support for postgraduate researchers.

Eligibility: nominees should have a position (temporary or permanent) at a UK HEI, they should have research interests in the field of gender and/or sexuality in medieval studies in any discipline. We would particularly welcome colleagues working in early Medieval studies which is currently under-represented on our steering committee.

Nominations should be sent, with a brief biography, to: Isabel Davis (i.davis@bbk.ac.uk) and marked GMS Steering Committee Nomination.


Inclusivity, Harassment & Accessibility

April 14, 2021

Inclusivity and Harassment Conference organisers are required to include a statement of inclusivity and accessibility, including an anti-harassment statement in the programme and on any individually managed website. As a body, the GMS is committed to valuing diversity, difference and inclusivity, and to opposing most actively any form of discrimination… Read more