Mmmonk School about the Medieval book: Check out the programme and sign up

The Mmmonk-project and Henri Pirenne Institute (UGent) organise the Mmmonk school in the autumn of 2022. A series of lessons for advanced beginners about the medieval book. We offer an interdisciplinary practice-focused programme about medieval Flemish manuscripts. In 8 lessons, spread over four Fridays experts demonstrate methods and skills specific to their expertise. The lessons are online, free and accessible for everyone. The lessons use different IIIF applications and thereby inherently demonstrate the possibilities of IIIF for educational purposes.


(Scroll down for a in depth presentation of the different sessions and short biography of the speakers.)

18 november 2022: Access to the book

  • International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF): Advantages for education, research and communication (Sofie Veramme)
  • Book bindings ca. 1000-1600: references for the dating of a book binding” (Astrid Beckers)
  • Sign up for Access to the book

25 november 2022: Image

  • Art historical image analyses: How do I analyse and describe a Medieval miniature? (Anne van Oosterwijk)
  • Heraldry: how do I describe and identify a coat of arms? (Hanno Wijsman)
  • Sign up for Image

2 december 2022: Text

  • Liturgical manuscripts: What type of liturgical manuscript is this? (Diane Reilly en Susan Boynton)
  • Medieval reading culture: the consolatione philosophiae of Boethius in the Mmmonk-corpus” (Evelien Hauwaerts)
  • Sign up for Text

9 december 2022: Context

  • Outline of the religious landscape in Medieval Flanders based on the Mmmonk-manuscripts (Steven Vanderputten)
  • Time calculation: how do I translate Medieval time indications to a modern notation? (Mark Vermeer)
  • Sign up for Context

Target Audience

This course is aimed at those who want to be able to analyse and describe the medieval book as a whole and cross the boundaries of their own expertise, for example restorers, collection curators, public relation managers, teachers, researchers, students, heritage enthusiasts, …

(For example: the art historian who wants access to the text in order to better understand the miniatures, the text expert who wants to be able to analyse miniatures for a deeper understanding of the book as a whole, the historian who wants to understand the structure of the book to be able to place it in time and space, the restorer who wants to gain insight in the content of the book in order to make a substantiated decision regarding the restoration, the public relations employee who want to learn how to make guided viewings using IIIF, …)

Why is Mmmonk organising this online course?

Manuscripts are like pies: they have many different ingredients that make it a beautiful whole. Just like pies, the devil is in the details: the binding, the text, the language, the illumination, the scripts, the material, the traces of use, … If you only study one part of these aspects without taking the others into consideration you will miss the point. To be able to appreciate them as a whole and to be able to understand the different aspects, it is necessary to understand the aspects in relation to one another. But this is an impossible task for even the most hardened medievalist. Thankfully a lot of this can be reached by interdisciplinary cooperation. Much in the same manner that the chocolatiers can learn a lot from the pastry chef and the other way around we can look into each other’s cards and check in with colleagues from different disciplines. In the Mmmonk school the medieval book lovers get the chance to take a look and learn from the specialists. We are not here to create new specialist but to get an insight view and remove the apprehension of the unknown to create a more holistic understanding of the medieval book.

Sign up

Content and speakers

18/11/22 – 16u: Intro IIIF in education, research and communication

– Sofie Veramme (Mmmonk project assistant)

The introduction of the International Image Interoperability Framework has simplified the methods of managing and sharing of digital images and improves durability and efficiency. Sofie Veramme straightforwardly explains the advantages of IIIF in context of education, research, communication, public relations and recreation. This session is for those people who don’t speak IT but want to be able to utilize the amazing digitized collection.

Sofie Veramme is digital innovator at Bruges Public Library and works on the project Mmmonk Medieval Monastic Manuscripts – Open, Network, Knowledge. She holds a Masters in History (Ghent University) and a postgraduate degree in Information and Library Sciences (Antwerp University). She is specialised in digital heritage projects and focuses mainly on user experience, linked data and IIIF-innovation.

18/11/22 – 17u: Book bindings ca. 1000-1600: references for the dating of a book binding

– Astrid  Beckers (Atelier Libri)

The study of bookbinding’s is often excluded from most history or art courses and is often looked at as being part of the domain of the restorer. The binding of a medieval book is however an integral part of the history and gives meaning to the object. Astrid Beckers will take us on a deep dive in different sewing structures, boards and types of covering material that are typical for medieval books. She will also provide some reference points to make you able to situate these bookbinding’s in time and space.

Astrid Beckers is a medievalist and codicologist. After her studies in Medieval Literature at the Radboud Universiteit, she specialized in medieval bookbinding. She has a preference for the simple parchment bindings, the various reading aids and binders waste. Her research is both observation and practice; she likes to look at bookbindings, but in her own bookbinding workshop she also makes replicas to gain even more insight into the binding. She is a board member of the Belgisch-Nederlands Boekbandengenootschap and participates in the Project ‘Kneep&Binding 2’ to extend this well-known manual.

25/11/22 – 16u:Art historical image analyses: How do I analyse and describe a Medieval miniature?

– Anne van Oosterwijk (Head of collections Museums Bruges)

Even if your interest is primarily focused on the text, the traces of use or the palaeography of a book, you undoubtedly start to smile if you find a miniature or more in the manuscript you are researching. Miniatures have practical and aesthetical functions and understanding the interaction between the text and the miniature is essential in order to get a full understanding of the manuscript. But, how do you get beyond a subjective appreciation as a novice when describing a miniature? Anne van Oosterwijk demonstrates how a trained art historian approaches a work of art and describes it in a scientific manner.

Anne van Oosterwijk is art historian (University of Groningen and Free University Amsterdam) and since 2020 director of Collection at Musea Brugge. In 2007 she started at the Groeningemuseum working on several research and exhibitions projects among which, Charles the Bold, Splendour in Burgundy (2009), Van Eyck to Dürer (2010), and Face to Face with Death. Hugo van der Goes, old masters and new interpretations (autumn 2022). She curated the exhibition Pieter Pourbus and the Forgotten Masters and published the accompanying catalogue in 2017.

Anne’s research and publications focus on the 16th century Bruges painting school, with specific interest in the painter families of Blondeel-Pourbus and the Claeissens and stained glass windows. Her research focusses on the production process and the role of the patron within.

25/11/22 – 17u:Heraldry: How do I describe and identify a coat of arms

– Hanno Wijsman (IRHT)

The coats of arms of Raphael de Mercatillis of the Dune Abbey are well documented and easy recognizable. But what is the meaning of the different colours and symbols? What do you do when you stumble upon a lesser known coat of arms? Heraldry has spooked many with it’s specific vocabulary and hermetic literature. Hanno Wijsman delivers us of our fears and guides us through the different steps to be able to identify and describe a coat of arms.

Hanno Wijsman is a doctor in Medieval History (Leiden University). He is a researcher at the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes in Paris and is responsible for the heraldic documentation. He specialises in Medieval manuscripts, their provenance and library history. He is coordinator of the Bibale database. He published many works relating to noble book ownership and illuminated manuscripts in the late middle ages in the Netherlands and France, specifically focussing on the Burgundian court. He described many medieval manuscripts for collection- and exhibition catalogues. In 2010 he published the monograph Luxury Bound. The Production of Illustrated Manuscripts and Princely and Noble Book Ownership in the Burgundian Netherlands.

2/12/22 – 16u:Liturgical manuscripts: What type of liturgical manuscript is this?

Diane Reilly (Art History provost-professor – Indiana University Bloomington) and Susan Boynton (Music history professor – Colombia University in New York)

Few books had a more direct link to the community in which they where created and used than lithurgic manucripts. They are studied because of the local production process, the music, the traces of use, the illumination and social cultural references they hold. But to identify a liturgical manuscript is not an easy task. A literary or scientific work is relatively easy to date and is often still known in a modern version one way or another. A liturgical work however contains profound knowledge of a world that is unknown to us today. Diana Reilly and Susan Boynton studied the liturgical works of the Mmmonk-corpus. They will give us an overview of the most common types and offer us methods to recognise and understand these.

Diane J. Reilly earned her BA from Rutgers University in 1990 and her PhD in Art History from the University of Toronto in 1999, after joining the Indiana University Bloomington faculty as a visiting assistant professor in 1998. A leading specialist in western European medieval manuscripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, she focuses on the ways in which books and the art found in them act as agents for change and tools for practice. While her early work explored how the pictorial programs created in monastic institutions connected networks of political leaders and powerful clergy in the eleventh-century county of Flanders, her more recent focus has been on the synthesis of art, text, and liturgy in the monastic choir, particularly as expressed in times of religious ferment such as the hotbed of religious reform that existed in twelfth-century Burgundy. Along the way she has investigated the role of manuscripts in monastic pedagogy and the invention of institutional history, the intersection of art and sound, and the use of ritual to shape collective action.

2/12/22 – 17u: “Medieval reading culture: the consolatione philosophiae of Boethius in the Mmmonk-corpus”

– Evelien Hauwaerts (curator of manuscripts Public Library of Bruges)

Boethius’s The consolation of philosophy was immensely popular since its origin around 524 until well into the 17the century. It was commented on and translated by many a king, clergy and academic and was read in every layer of the (literate) public. Using the divers Boethieus manuscripts in the Mmmonk-corpus, Evelien Hauwaerts will show us how this text was used in different environments and what the impact of that was on the layout of the book. She will also spill the beans and share with us what typical medieval tools helped the reader (and still help) to navigate the book and facilitate a better understanding of the text (and illumination). Reading between the lines, Evelien will also provide a short summary and give you a taste of what this magnificent text of the Western cannon has to offer.

Dr. Evelien Hauwaerts is curator of the manuscripts in the Public Library of Bruges and Mmmonk project manager. She specialises in Western Medieval manuscripts, specifically on monastic manuscripts and manuscripts originating from the Burgundian Netherlands. She focusses on reading culture, languages and reception history. She is an advocate for IIIF, linked open data in data management and is a councillor of the Europeana Network Association Members Council. She obtained a doctorate in Medieval languages and literature ((Université de Poitiers), a master in Roman languages (KU Leuven), and two master degrees in Medieval history (KU Leuven and Université de Poitiers).

9 december – thema “context – Sitz im leben”

9/12/22 – 16u: “Outline of the religious landscape in Medieval Flanders based on the Mmmonk-manuscripts”

– Steven Vanderputten (History Professor – UGent)

To be able to understand a Medieval book you have to understand the context in which it was created and used. For the Mmmonk manuscripts this means we have to focus on the religious landscape, but who can make sense of the tangle of religious institutes and bodies in Medieval Flanders? Steven Vanderputten will enlighten us in this session. He will guide us, using reference points in the Mmmonk manuscripts, across the most important phases and developments of the religious landscape, tackling terminological confusion about crucial terms such as order, secular/regular ‘kapittel’, priory, abbey/monastery, and novice/monk.

Steven Vanderputten is a professor at Ghent University. As a historian he specialises in the study of the society and culture in medieval and early modern West, with a special focus on the history of religious communities. He is the author of several leading monographs, Monastic Reform as Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900-1100 (Cornell University Press, 2013), Reform, conflict and the shaping of corporate identities. Collected studies on Benedictine monasticism, 1050-1150 (LIT Verlag, 2013), Dark Age Nunneries. The Ambiguous Identity of Female Monasticism, 800-1050 (Cornell University Press, 2018), Medieval Monasticisms. Forms and Experiences of the Monastic Life in the Medieval West (De Gruyter, 2020), and Dismantling the Medieval: Early Modern Perceptions of a Female Convent’s Past (Brepols, 2021).

9/12/22 – 17u:Time calculation: how do I translate Medieval time indications to a modern notation?

– Mark Vermeer (Universiteit Utrecht, Mmmonk project assistant – Public Library of Bruges)

Medieval time indications do not equate to our current calendar system. A date can be referenced with a year but also, for example, with a 15-year long tax-cycle, the position of the moon, a ruling period of a king or a clerical celebration. Why do historici sometimes write “new style” after a year? Mark Vermeer offers us insight into some of the most important systems and show us around some of the most important reference works and websites that enable us to translate medieval time indications to modern notations.

Mark Vermeer earned a PhD in 2020 for a thesis on administrative literacy in the late medieval Northern Brabantine countryside. His research focuses primarily on diplomatic, palaeography, and codicology. He has worked on the medieval manuscripts kept at the Public Library Bruges for the projects Mmmonk and The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages (Europeana) and is currently employed as a postdoc at the Faculty of Law of the KU Leuven.

Sign up

You can sign up for free! The sessions are online. Shortly before the start of each session you will receive a URL.

Using these links you can sign up for each session via our Public Library Bruges website.

Sign up for session 1 Access

Sign up for session 2 Image

Sign up for session 3 Text

Sign up for session 4 Context

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