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Ann Marie Rasmussen + Melanie Jackson
In this special event, University of Waterloo Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen, author of Medieval Badges: Their Wearers and Their Worlds (forthcoming, 2021), will be joined by multidisciplinary artist Melanie Jackson to discuss the world of bawdy medieval badges. This event will feature Melanie Jackson’s recent reimagining of these bawdy badges in her artistic project, “Spekying Rybawdy,” where she brings these infamous badges to new life. Their conversation will be moderated by Professor Steven Bednarski (History, St. Jerome’s University).
Medieval badges are small, brooch-like objects that were mass-produced in the High and late Middle Ages in Europe. Over 20,000 of these lead-tin alloy badges survive into our times. They feature image or symbols that were familiar to medieval people. Often referred to as pilgrim badges because so many surviving badges are religious, many medieval badges in fact belong to the secular sphere of life. Among these are over three hundred obscene badges whose iconography displays explicit, and at times puzzling, bawdy imagery and scenes.
Melanie Jackson is a UK based artist working with modes of non-fiction storytelling through assemblages of sculpture, writing and moving image. Recent exhibitions include Speykng Rybawdy, MattFlix 2020, The Undersides of Practice, APT Gallery 2020, Deeper in the Pyramid, Banner Repeater, London, Grand Union, Birmingham, and Primary, Nottingham (2018). The latter is a multi-faceted project of sculpture, moving image, performance lectures, and a publication, involving an ongoing writing collaboration with writer Esther Leslie. Previous solo exhibitions include The Urpflanze (Parts 1 and 2) with Flat Time House, The Drawing Room, Art Exchange and John Hansard Gallery, and with Matt’s Gallery, Arnolfini and Chapter. Selected international shows include MOCP, Chicago, Art Gallery NSW, Australia, DRF Biennale Osaka Japan, A1 Contemporary Art Space, Hong Kong, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany. Jackson is represented by Matt’s Gallery and is currently a Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.
Ann Marie Rasmussen joined the University of Waterloo on January 1, 2015 as the John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies from her previous faculty appointment at Duke University in North Carolina. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and her PhD from Yale University, both in the field of Germanic Languages and Literatures. Her areas of expertise are medieval studies, German studies, gender studies, and material culture. In addition to the forthcoming monograph on medieval badges, Ann Marie is the author of Mothers and Daughter in Medieval German Literature (1997); editor of Rivalrous Masculinities (2019); and coeditor of Medieval Woman’s Song ( 2002); Ladies, Whores, and Holy Women: A Sourcebook in Courtly, Religious, and Urban Cultures of Late Medieval Germany, with Introductory Essays ( 2010), and Visuality and Materiality in the Story of Tristan and Isolde (2012), as well as numerous articles.