Formation – Citizen Cathedrals in the Middle Ages: image, institutions, networks

Templa Winter School
December 18th-19th 2017, Girona

Proposal by: Gerardo Boto, Vincent Debiais, Xènia Granero and Anabel Moreno.
TEMPLA. Institut de Recerca Històrica, Universitat de Girona

TEMPLA is a permanent workshop of Medieval Studies composed of specialists from universities, museums and archives from different parts of Spain, Europe and in particular Catalonia. The members of this team share common interests as well as complementary areas of expertise. The impact of its research and interactions with experts from other disciplines are reflected in its specific research projects and academic activities, which in turn are disseminated in annually organised scientific meetings and resulting publications.

TEMPLA members actively seek to collaborate with different research groups and scientific institutions. They aim to facilitate exchanges among researchers and to stimulate scientific debates relating to visual programs and spatial organization from the Middle Ages. Particular attention is devoted to the liturgical influences and architectural scenery and to reflection on the social and academic status of research into Middle Ages art and culture.


Themes and objective:

With the aim of bringing together young researchers and exchanging ideas and hypotheses regarding new trends in medieval art history, TEMPLA is organizing a scientific training session in Girona (Spain) on 18 and 19 December 2017. This winter school will discuss the concept and expression of the “citizen cathedral” as it has developed in European bishoprics from medieval to modern times.

The cathedral is the most important building in a city, both for its symbolic value and visual presence as a defining element within the urban landscape. It is an indispensable part of a city’s history due to its great influence on the city’s development and growth. In this regard, for numerous cathedrals, medieval citizens played a decisive role in their architectural genesis, in the definition of their spaces, in the decorative elements and in the activities that took place in their interiors or surroundings. The municipal government of the city, the guilds, the brotherhoods and wealthy families all contributed to these architectural works by promoting chapels, improvements of the urban environment, architectural reforms, or sculptural, pictorial and epigraphic programs, and participated in civic rituals, festivities and the worship of saints.

Gothic cathedrals were also intended to act as symbols and images of the expanding cities, thus generating a discourse of power not only for the citizens, but also for the municipal government and, occasionally, for rival dioceses. From the sixth century, the episcopal city was called civitas, thus inextricably entwining the building with the town. The cathedral was the city’s nerve centre in two ways: first, as a religious centre that welcomed the community by providing them with a meeting place and by marking the patterns of their daily live; and second, as a social, political and economic centre in the urban environment where bishops and councils played an important role.

For this reason, the 2017 TEMPLA winter school aims to reflect on the civic-humanist dimension that defines the cathedral and on the links it establishes with the city and, therefore, with its citizens. It will also focus on different groups and individuals and their use of the cathedral as a scenario for their activities of patronage, and on the discourse of power between the citizens and the civil and religious institutions.

Scientific objectives of the Templa Winter School 2017 :

• To analyse the relationship between the cathedral and citizens in terms of the different factors (institutional, economic, topographical, architectural, etc.) that help define the cathedral within the medieval city and the surrounding urban environment.
• To investigate the work of cathedral schools open to non-clerical citizens and the care received in hospitals by non-clerical residents or outsiders.
• To examine the written and visual documentation of the cathedral for traces of this relation and of these exchanges between the city and the individuals involved in cathedral life.
• To propose a definition for the concept of the “citizen cathedral” that takes into account the city vs. cathedral relationship.
• To use the previous points to establish new approaches and multidisciplinary research in the institutional and citizen environment of European cathedrals from the Middle Ages to the current day.

Applicants and participation :

This scientific meeting is intended to host a small number of participants: around 10 researchers will be invited to present their studies. Participants are expected to actively take part in the discussions of all presentations. All researchers should be able to benefit from input from other specialists. The presentations and debates can be held in Spanish, French, Italian or English.

Format: The debates will take place for a day and a half. The day before the conference, participants will have the opportunity to visit the city of Girona. Also, at the end of the conference, there will be a tour of some of the most outstanding enclaves of the city that reflect in situ their specificities and the role of citizens in the planning and development of the cathedral and its
urban environment.

Call for applications:

TEMPLA WINTER SCHOOL is aimed at junior pre- and post-doctoral researchers in the field of art history, history and liturgical studies. The applicants must submit:

• a letter of motivation including their research interests,
• a one-page résumé,
• a document (up to 300 words) outlining their proposed presentation.

These documents may be written in Spanish, French, Italian or English.

The documents must be sent before 30 July 2017 to, .

Candidates will receive a response by 1 September 2017. The selected researchers will have until 15 October to submit to the organizers a draft of the ideas they intend to present, the main images linked to their speech and a brief bibliography. This documentation will be used to make a dossier for the other attendees in order to facilitate the discussions and exchanges.

Venue and accomodation :

The conference will take place in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Girona.
The costs of accommodation and other common activities will be covered by the
organizers. Participants must pay their own travel expenses.

Collaborators in the TEMPLA WINTER SCHOOL 2017:
• Financial support: Projecte RecerCaixa 2015: “LANDSCAPE AND IDENTITARIAN
• Institut de Recerca Històrica Ud

Source : Templa

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