'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 2023 GMS conference

Aftermath, Recovery, Repair

Co-hosted by Wellcome Collection and Birkbeck, University of London, 4th – 6th January 2023

Venue: Wellcome Collection (Euston Road, London) and Birkbeck (Malet Street, London)

Deadline: September 5th, 2022

Wellcome Collection MS 544, fol. 22
Closing a wound. Wellcome Collection MS 544, fol. 22

We are living through an ongoing state of crisis, an experience which produces an equally constant longing for aftermath, recovery, and repair. Where does our research into gender and sexuality in the medieval past sit in the ‘new normal’, and what part can it play in cultures of recuperation? For marginalised individuals in the Middle Ages, as in the present day, experiences of crises were inflected by identity and inequality – and the consequent aftermath, recovery, and repair were similarly differentially distributed according to gender, sexuality, race, disability, and class. 

This edition of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference invites abstracts for 20-minute papers that explore any aspect of medieval studies research on the theme of Aftermath, Recovery, and Repair. How are destabilising events influenced by identity? Whose recovery is prioritised and enabled? How does the labour of recovery vary amongst marginalised actors? How can manifestations of repair be used to resist structural oppression? How can crafting and mending be therapeutic?

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

  • recovering from trauma, violence, and loss
  • medical cures, healing, and recovery
  • disability, neurodivergence, and long-term health conditions
  • labour and care
  • intersectionality
  • non-European medieval studies
  • postcolonial and antiracist scholarship
  • reclamation of silenced narratives
  • material and metaphorical repair
  • modern medievalisms
  • activism and aftermath
  • restoration, craft, and mending
  • repair, re-use and the environment

As well as a call for papers, the 2023 GMS Conference is looking for creative contributions. There will be a small gallery space as part of the conference, and we are keen to exhibit creative responses to the theme of Aftermath, Recovery, and Repair in relation to medieval gender/sexuality. Please get in touch with any questions.

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief CV to: gmsconf2023@gmail.com by September 5th 2022.

Our 2022 Conference


The American University of Paris
5th – 7th January 2021

Registration is open here.

BL Royal 18 D. ii, f. 30v.

Keynote speakers:
Dr Dorothy Kim (Brandeis University)
Dr. Roberta Magnani (Swansea University)
Dr. Anna Russakoff (The American University of Paris)  

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