Speculum editor Sarah Spence submitted this report following her attendance at the annual meeting of CARMEN:
On September 12-13, just a week before the independence vote in Scotland, this year’s meeting of CARMEN: the Worldwide Medieval Network, took place at the University of Stirling (Forth Valley College). The theme of “Heritage” loosely connected all sessions (tying in well with the surrounding debate about Scotland’s future), and the two days of the conference began with a welcome from faculty and administrators at Stirling, together with the director of CARMEN, Simon Forde. The first session covered the contribution of Digital Humanities in understanding the past, both in approaching manuscripts and the medieval heritage of the modern city; this was followed by a roundtable discussion of approaches to heritage, broadly understood. The second day began with a CARMEN planning meeting, followed by an overview of application and funding opportunities, mostly for EU members. The session on Scottish national heritages that followed was particularly pertinent, as was the description of the uses and abuses of history in the renovation of the local Bannockburn castle. The Market Place, which showcased a dozen and a half medieval collaborative projects, from the National Association for Portuguese Medieval Studies to The Medieval Academy and the Lisbon History Center of the Faculty of Letters, led to lively interchange over lunch, with members comparing notes about their various organizations. Workshops on prospective projects took place in the afternoon, and participants met for dinner in small and large groups. Both the weather and the setting were perfect for the meeting, and many of the conversations took place on the banks of the River Forth, with its swans and otters. An optional bus tour of local attractions was available for any participants still in Stirling Sunday morning. Next year’s meeting will be held in Sarajevo, Bosnia.