Medieval diagrams typically combined text and visual features, ranging from geometric forms to elaborate imagery, in order to communicate complex ideas in a powerful and memorable way. As such they constitute important evidence for attitudes to design in the transmission of knowledge in the Middle Ages. The complex forms of diagrams have traditionally made them difficult to edit and publish, however, recent digitisation has both made diagrams more accessible and raised new questions about how users, medieval and modern, might engage with this material. Rather than seeing diagrams as secondary to, or supporters of, texts, this series of workshops will examine medieval diagrams as autonomous objects, and the visual and material features that allow them to function as independent entities. In the Middle Ages, various words were used to define what we now call a ‘diagram’, including imago (image), figura (figure), pictura (picture), descriptio (description) and tabula (table/chart). The meaning of these terms could encompass a variety of forms and content and suggest different emphases for these complex works that often combined images and text in inventive and unexpected ways. The workshops will consider diagrams on all subjects and across different media in medieval visual culture, to address their design, function and reception.


Session 1 Thursday 21 April 14.00-16.30 BST Theme: ‘What is a diagram?’
Session 2 Thursday 28 April 14.00-16.30 BST Theme: ‘Time and Space’
Session 3 Thursday 5 May 14.00-16.30 BST Theme: ‘Materiality and Diagrams’
Session 4 Thursday 12 May 14.00-16.30 BST Theme: ‘The Past’
Session 5 Thursday 19 May 14.00-16.30 BST

Theme: ‘World views’

Each workshop has four speakers and will follow the same format:
14.00–15.00: 2 x 20-minute papers, followed by discussion
15.00–15.30: Break
15.30–16.30: 2 x 20-minute papers, followed by discussion
This will be followed by an opportunity for those meeting in person to continue discussion informally.

Attendance at these workshops is free, but registration is essential. Please register for each workshop below, selecting whether you would like to attend in person or online.

Please note that in-person attendance is limited.