Conf/CfP - Ornament and Pattern, 3 - 4 June 2017, University College London, UK

Publish Date: Dec 29, 2016

Deadline: Mar 20, 2017

N/EMICS 2017:


Ornament and Pattern

University College London, 3rd - 4th June 

With a keynote lecture from Professor Susan Irvine (UCL)

This two-day interdisciplinary conference invites new perspectives on the role of pattern and ornament in the medieval period, seeking to explore these themes across a range of textual, archaeological, artistic, musical, material and visual media. We are interested in papers which present new readings of medieval ornamentation and pattern, whether through the design of a single object, or the broader features which characterise an epoch or movement.

Whether we are looking at comparisons of textile working and poetry-making in Old English verse, or the elaborate musical notation of the ars subtilior, or the zoomorphic and interlace patterns of Migration Age metalwork, the patterns and ornamentation impressed upon objects create identities for both those objects and their owners, and our readings of those patterns are informed by a sense of hierarchy and value-judgement. Such judgements are especially critical for curators of modem collections who have decision-making roles in the creation of exhibitions, archives and programs of preservation. We encourage papers which consider hierarchies of style (whether contemporary or imposed by later scholarship), or examine the ways in which ornament can itself create hierarchies.

We encourage speakers to explore the multivalence of the terms 'pattern' and 'ornament'. Ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • 'Ornament' as expressive of identity - personal, economic and political
  • 'Pattern' as exemplar, the relationship between copy and original
  • The use and analysis of metrical patterns and linguistic ornament in verse and prose texts; parallelisms
  • Ambiguous design; visual riddles
  • Musical notation, ornamentation and embellishment
  • Support for or challenge to scholarly assessments of 'high' and low' grade ornament; the contrast and interplay of 'high' and 'low' style in contemporary materials
  • Interactivity of patterns between media (for example, interlace style in Old English verse)
  • The absence of 'ornament'
  • The ornamental object on display in modem collections
  • Symbol as 'ornament'; symbolic motifs and their relation to religion, ideology, and identity

Abstracts of 250 words are invited for submission by Monday 20th March 2017. Please email abstracts to the conference committee at


Similar Opportunities




Art History



Medieval Studies

Eligible Countries


Host Countries

United Kingdom

Conference Types

Call for Papers