Northern Lights: Late Medieval Devotion to Saints from the North of England, Lausanne, 28-30 March 2019

We look forward to welcoming all our conference participants very shortly. The conference will take place in the Amphimax Building of the University of Lausanne, Rooms 414 & 415, on the first floor. Registration will take place on Thursday 28 March, 2-2.30pm outside Room 414.

For the most recent practical information sheet giving information about transport, venue, catering etc., see here: Northern Lights practical information.

The provisional programme for the conference is available online, together with an alphabetical list of the paper abstracts.

Getting here

Click here to see the campus map of the University of Lausanne. Amphimax Building is on the left.

The nearest metro stop to the Amphimax building is “UNIL-Sorge” on Metro line 1 (which runs from Flon in the centre of Lausanne to Renens). A map of Lausanne public transport is here. There are two metro lines (bright pink), which intersect at “Lausanne-Flon” station.

From Lausanne Gare (main railway station), take Metro M2 towards “Croisettes”, change at “Lausanne-Flon”. Then take Metro M1 towards “Renens CFF”. Get off at “UNIL-Sorge”. After coming out of the metro, you will see Amphimax Building straight in front of you across a car park.


Please visit our online registration page if you wish to register to attend the conference. The deadline for registration, if you wish to book for either the conference dinner or the Saturday excursion, is 10 March 2019. The registration fee for the conference includes teas, coffees, and a opening wine reception with buffet food. It does not include lunches (which may be bought inexpensively in the university canteen), dinners, or the conference banquet (optional participation).

Expanding on our ongoing research project, this conference explores later medieval devotion to saints from the north of England. It examines the ways in which Bede’s lauded northern saints (Cuthbert, Hilda, Aebbe, Oswald, John of Beverley, and others), and early post-conquest saints in the same northern tradition (Godric of Finchale, Robert of Knaresborough, Aelred of Rievaulx, William of York, etc.), were remembered and venerated between 1300 and 1500. Pursuing an interdisciplinary approach, it will take account of new textual, architectural, artistic and liturgical productions, pilgrimage cultures and shrine economies, the relations of these saints to their monastic custodians and local communities, and their utilisation to serve regional and national agendas.

In this section, you can find accommodation detailstravel information, and some general information about visiting Lausanne and the surrounding area.

The conference will begin after lunch on Thursday 28 March, at approx. 2pm. On Thursday evening, there will be a wine reception and buffet, followed by an evening interactive drama workshop on the late medieval play of St John of Beverley, led by Professor Elizabeth Dutton (University of Fribourg, director of Medieval Convent Drama project).

The conference will continue throughout the daytime of Friday 29 March. In the early evening there will be a short presentation and demonstration of 3-dimensional digital models of the late medieval shrines in Durham Cathedral, Hexham Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral by Dr John Jenkins (University of York, AHRC-funded Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals project, 2014-2018). This will be followed at 8pm by the conference dinner, at the Restaurant du Theatre, Lausanne.

The conference will continue on the morning of Saturday 30 March, closing after lunch at 1.30pm. A private coach will leave the University campus at 1.30pm for an optional cultural and historical outing in the Vaud and Valais regions of Switzerland (extra charge). This will comprise an afternoon trip (3-5pm) to the sixth-century Abbey of St Maurice en Valais, the repository of one of the richest collections of ecclesiastical treasure and reliquaries in western Europe, a wine-tasting in the Grandvaux vineyard overlooking Lake Geneva (6-7.30pm), and a fondue evening at a traditional Swiss restaurant in Lausanne (8pm onwards). For full details of the excursion and timings, please see here.

In case you wish to prolong your stay in Switzerland, we would like to draw your attention to the Medieval English Theatre Meeting, celebrating 40 years of METh, taking place at the University of Fribourg, from 12-13 April 2019. For more details see the conference CfP.

The Northern Lights international conference is organised by Denis Renevey, Christiania Whitehead, and Hazel Blair as part of their ongoing Swiss National Science Foundation project ‘Region and Nation in Late Medieval Devotion to Northern English Saints‘, based at the University of Lausanne. For all general enquiries, please email

The conference hashtag is #Lights19. You are warmly invited to ‘like’ our Facebook page and to follow us on Twitter @NorthEngSaints.

We look forward to welcoming you in Lausanne!