colourful image from old text of people in a boat passing something to a man in a smaller boat
BL, Additional MS 1029, f. 56v. Courtesy of the British Library.

Prizes & Bursaries

The GMS group runs a number of initiatives to help promote and facilitate the work of postgraduate and/or unwaged researchers, including an annual postgraduate student essay prize and travel bursary for GMS conference participation in January of each year.  The GMS is a non-profit organisation and donations to its Kate Westoby bursary fund are therefore most welcome. Please contact the GMS Treasurer, should you wish to donate to the fund.  This year, our prize and bursary is sponsored by Castle Hill Bookshop, Richmond, Yorkshire.

The Debbie White Gender and Medieval Studies Student Essay Prize 2024

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 (2024 and 2025) and a £100 book token for Castle Hill Bookshop.

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 Dr. Laura Kalas (, by the student themselves, by Monday 26th February 2024. 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: or follow the link on the GMS homepage.

Kate Westoby Travel Fund

We welcome the attendance of postgraduate students at our conferences and have a fund specifically set aside for subsidizing the travel of those who would otherwise be unable to attend. This fund was set up in 1992 in memory of Kate Westoby, one of the original organisers of the annual Gender and Medieval Studies Group conference.

Each year the steering committee and the conference organizers try to raise money to replenish the fund. Postgraduates whose own universities or other grant-awarding bodies are unable to help them are eligible to apply for help from the Kate Westoby fund. This includes students who wish to attend the conference but who are not giving papers.

Money will be divided amongst the number of students who apply and it may not be possible to pay expenses in full. We regret that no money can be paid in advance; we will reimburse applicants as soon as possible after the conference. Since funds are limited, priority will be given to travel expenses incurred within the UK; it is unlikely that we will be able to pay for international airfares. Due to the limits of our fund, and the high cost of bank charges, we can only pay expenses in GB Pounds.

For any further information, send an email to the treasurer of the fund, Gareth Lloyd Evans, at

We are always eager for new donors and donations. Why not donate to the fund to honour an influential tutor or supervisor? Why not celebrate a publication or new qualification by means of a small donation?  If you would like to make a donation and encourage new voices in the field of gender and medieval studies you can email the GMS Treasurer, Gareth Lloyd Evans, at the address above and he will send you the GMS account details.

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: or follow the link on the GMS homepage.

Previous Winners

2017: Ryan T. Goodman (University of Manchester): ‘Mead-iating Masculinity: The Anglo-Saxon Meadhall, Drunkeness, and the Regeneration of Masculinity in the Long Tenth Century.’

2016: Francesca Allfrey, Sex and Violence in the Early Church: Writing the Female Body in De Virginitate and Judith’.

2015: Laura Kalas Williams (University of Exeter), ‘“Slayn for Goddys lofe”: Margery Kempe’s Melancholia and the Bleeding of Tears’.

2014: Daisy Black (University of Hull), ‘“Nayles Large and Lang”: Masculine Identity and the Anachronic Object in the York Crucifixion Play’.