St Peter and St. Paul enthroned and reading the scriptures
Zamora Cathedral , detail of portal, St. Peter and St. Paul, twelfth century (Photo: Laura Cleaver)

Project coordinated by Dr Laura Cleaver, Hanna Wimmer and Stuart Whatling


The Medieval art in Theory project aims to explore the usefulness of applying modern critical discourses to medieval art and architecture.  Adopting an empirical approach, the project addresses intersections between twentieth and twenty-first century critical discourses, and medieval art and architecture.  Topics for discussion include critical theory, social anthropology, psychology, semiotics and narratology.  The project also welcomes the involvement of those seeking to relate modern theory to medieval writings about art.  Contributions are sought from those working in all media covering the time period c.400-c.1400, without geographical, religious or cultural limits.  The aim of the project is thus to find new ways of interrogating old objects. 

In the academic year 2009/10 Medieval art in Theory will be focussed around three public events.  Following the success of the mise-en-abyme workshop in 2009, two more workshops will be held at the Courtauld Institute in November 2009 and March 2010.  These workshops will continue to address specific strands of modern theory, in a format designed to encourage risk taking in exploring and discussing new ideas. The workshops will be followed by a one day conference in summer 2010.  The conference will showcase the outcomes of the workshops, and allow wider consideration of the use of modern theory to examine medieval objects. Also during next academic year, a reading group for PhD students will explore the production of art and scholarly writing at the Parisian Abbey of Saint Victor in the twelfth century.

The next event in the series will be the Medieval Art in Theory conference on the 18th of June 2010.


Click here for information on past and future events, including workshops, reading groups, and up-to-date bibliography

For more information on this project, please contact Dr. Laura Cleaver ( and/or Stuart Whatling (