The Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has an international reputation for the quality of its research. Our interdisciplinary approach leads to a rich and stimulating research culture which benefits both staff and students.

Wide-ranging research interests

There is a wealth of expertise in the Centre, so we are able to offer research supervision in a wide range of topics. The research interests of our staff cover areas as broad as religion, material culture, theatre and performance culture, gender, economy, food and drink, legal history, war, visual culture, politics, architecture, history of books and manuscripts, environment and travel, art history and literature.

Our regular weekly research seminars feature thought-provoking presentations from our own staff and students, as well as from external speakers. 

World-leading experts

Academic staff working in the Centre are leaders in their fields. They are active researchers and regularly contribute to journals and conferences to advance contemporary thinking in their areas.

Research excellence

Centre members are drawn from University schools where, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework, more than 95% of submitted research was judged to be of international quality.

Shakespeare's home

Everyday life in Shakespeare’s England

Professor Catherine Richardson discusses how the lives of the many illuminate the lives of the few

Our research: Making a difference

As an interdisciplinary centre we draw our staff from a number of schools and departments including History, English, Architecture, Classical & Archaeological Studies, and History of Art. This makes for a lively research community and a broad range of research projects. 

Recent studies have included: 

  • The Cultural Lives of the Middling Sort; Writing and Material Culture 1560-1660
  • Material Witness – The Interrogation of Physical Objects for Humanities Researchers
  • DocExplore – Discovering and Augmenting Historical Documents in the Digital Age.

Academic members of the MEMS community regularly organise high-profile exhibitions, contribute to the press, and publish in high-quality journals and university presses. 

Our staff have won research awards from a range of prestigious funding bodies, including the: 

  • European Research Council (ERC)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Leverhulme Trust.

Our staff and students regularly contribute to projects that impact upon the lives of members of the local community, as well as internationally. For the past two years, a team of MEMS students has been transcribing and translating medieval documents held in Canterbury Cathedral’s Library and Archives, for display as part of a major new public exhibition ‘The Canterbury Journey’. Opening in 2020, visitors from all over the world will explore the story of Canterbury Cathedral, from its origins to its continued importance today.

Our students also regularly contribute articles to ‘Picture this’ – an online digital exhibition which enables the public to have an enhanced insight into the collections of Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. As part of this exciting initiative, MEMS students write and submit an article on a chosen artefact or an image from Canterbury Cathedral’s Archives and Library collections. A new article is published on the Cathedral’s website each month.