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Other news: Issue 12, September 2013
The status of MeMO since the launch of the online database
The database Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO) was made available online on 1 February 2013 and it is already proving to be a success. By bringing together the many text carriers, memorial pieces, floor slabs and tomb monuments and narrative sources related to memoria, and by relating these to the institutions in which they functioned, we have succeeded in making broad comparative research a lot easier. Two such research projects were started a few months ago (see below); the database plays a leading role in this.
MeMO and its use for researchers
Religious discourse on sixteenth-century floor slabs
Noortje de Wit, a history student at VU University Amsterdam, is writing her BA thesis on the religious content of texts found on sixteenth-century floor slabs in the MeMO database. Her focus is on the slabs in the provinces of Friesland and Zeeland, not only because analysing the entire corpus of slabs would be too voluminous a task, but also because this strategy makes it possible to compare these two provinces, which are the best represented of all in the database. The investigation has a strong diachronic component and tests the hypothesis that a gradual change occurred in the content of the slabs, both in text and in symbolism. The basis for this hypothesis is found in the results of scholars such as J.A. Mol, who found a gradual diminishing of traditional religious stipulations in the Frisian testaments he investigated. Noortje's thesis also explicitly tackles methodological problems and possibilities connected with the use of the MeMO database.
PhD research into sixteenth-century tomb monuments
Trudi Brink, a former researcher in the MeMO project, has recently started her PhD research which focuses on sixteenth-century tomb monuments (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frits Scholten, VU University, Amsterdam). Besides similarities the extant monuments show remarkable differences: for example, the floor slabs in Friesland appear to be much richer in heraldry and symbolism than those in Zeeland. Furthermore, it is only in the south-east of the country that we still find memorial crosses, i.e. stone crosses with an inscription, which were placed outside. There are also differences in the types of material that sculptors used, such as sandstone; various types of limestone from modern-day Belgium and Germany; Öland stone, and stone combined with other materials, e.g. 'brass' (actually a copper alloy). In the course of her research Trudi is hoping to find an explanation for the differences in form, material, and manufacturing techniques, and thereby to discover the relationship between the history and the geographical location of the various Dutch regions. The key question in her research is: how did form and function of Dutch sixteenth-century tomb monuments develop as a consequence of the changes in intellectual thinking and the changes within society across the different regions of the Netherlands?
We would appreciate it if you would keep the MeMO team informed of your use of the database and its associated websites (see All products). Contact details can be found in this issue of MMR.
Additions to the MeMO database
The additions and corrections that we receive from visitors to the site shows that MeMO is a hit with users. All these reactions are checked and incorporated into the database. For instance we are still regularly sent data and photos from Zeeland, not just of medieval floor slabs already known to us, but also of slabs that have recently been discovered by archaeologists. Conservation workshops also sent us splendid colour photographs of memorial pieces of which we had only black and white illustrations. Furthermore, a number of archives have promised to make the memorial registers in their collections accessible online in the near future.
For the current status of major updates, see the update archive on the database Home Page (http://memo.hum.uu.nl/database/pdf/updates_archive.pdf).
It will be clear that MeMO still has a lot of work to do. However, the completion of the first phase of the MeMO project also meant that the contracts of our staff came to an end. Thanks to the generosity of the Stichting Professor Van Winter Fonds and a contribution from Utrecht University, we still have funding for two staff members until the end of 2013. We are currently preparing a second phase of the project in collaboration with four research groups abroad. A European grant application will be submitted for this international project: the result of this application is expected in late 2014. Meanwhile, we must remain active and productive.
This is why the MeMO project has launched a crowdfunding campaign. In return for your donation we will not only provide an ever better database, but also offer a number of very special rewards, thanks to the cooperation of the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. For more information about this crowdfunding campaign, our goals, and what we offer our sponsors in return for their donations, see http://memo.hum.uu.nl/database/pages/crowdfunding-nl.html
Corinne van Dijk - project leader MeMO
Join the Church Monuments Society
The Church Monuments Society offers a focus for all who have an interest in church monuments of all types and periods. It was conceived to encourage the appreciation, study and conservation of church monuments both in the UK and abroad. Although the majority of its members are based in the UK, a growing number of overseas scholars and enthusiasts have joined in recent years.
These residential weekends include a mixture of lectures and visits covering a wide range of themes associated with the event's location. The next symposium, in September 2014, will be held jointly with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Canterbury (Kent), a location easily accessible from continental Europe as well as from the UK.
Study days and one-day conferences
Study days are held most years and are based in places with significant collections of church monuments. Participants are given an introduction to the monuments themselves followed by presentations by experts on specific aspects of them. We also have occasional day conferences, most based in London. In June 2014 we will address churchyard monuments.
Several times a year members visit a number of churches by coach in different parts of the country led by experts. This is an opportunity to see monuments in sometimes rarely accessible places in comfort and in good company.
The Society's peer-reviewed journal Church Monuments, published annually in full colour, discusses all types of monuments, normally including at least one contribution on non-UK examples. It attracts both long and short papers on wide-ranging aspects of the subject from professional scholars and informed enthusiasts alike. The substantial reviews section has an international focus, addressing books in a wide range of languages.
A Newsletter is published twice a year containing notices of forthcoming events, reports on recent activities, brief articles on particular monuments, reports on conservation work and notices of recent publications of interest to members.
The Society's website contains a vast collection of images of monuments and regular features on particular monuments submitted by members, including several from MeMO. It also contains many other features of interest and is constantly increasing its range and content. We also have a Twitter account ChurchMonuments and are about to launch an email distribution Stop Press, both of which are aimed at keeping members up-to-date with news about the CMS and about monuments.
Individual member: £20
Family membership: £25
Student/young person: £15
We have a Paypal account to facilitate payment of subscriptions particularly from overseas members.
To join visit http://www.churchmonumentssociety.org/Application_Forms.html
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This page was last updated on: September 19th, 2013
December 16th, 2016:
The seventeenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
March 11th, 2016:
The sixteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
May 23rd, 2015:
The fifteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
November 24th, 2014:
The fourteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
March 25th, 2014:
The thirteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
September 19th, 2013:
The twelfth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
January 14th, 2013:
The eleventh issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
September 12th, 2012:
The tenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available. This is a double issue so be sure to check out both Part One and Part Two.
March 6th, 2012:
The ninth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available! In this issue you will find many new book announcements and information on projects dedicated to digitising memorial registers.