Everydayness and the Event
The 15th annual Modernist Studies Association (MSA) conference took place at the University of Sussex between 28th August and 1st September 2013. Co-sponsored by the Centre for Modernist Studies and Queen Mary’s University London, the conference attracted over 600 delegates from around the world. We believe that this makes MSA15 the largest event dedicated to modernism held in the UK to date. Tributes have poured in from cities including Amiens, Baltimore, Berlin, Cardiff, Columbus, Glasgow, Halifax, Phoenix, Poznan, and Tripoli—to name just a few.
While the majority of delegates were waged academics, roughly one-third of attendees were postgraduate students, and many undergraduates made up a team of 30 volunteers. The conference included 100 panels, 24 seminars, and 14 roundtables. There were also 6 pre-conference workshops on matters of publishing, public outreach, the digital humanities, and copyrighting. Most of the extensive range of special events was fully booked; particularly popular were the visits to local sites of modernist interest. Two different poetry readings and a screening at the oldest continuously operating purpose built cinema in Britain were also well received by delegates.
Over 400 delegates attended each of the three plenary events, which featured Griselda Pollock, Gillian Beer, Rachel Bowlby, Ben Highmore, Esther Leslie, Gabriel Josipovici, Michael Sheringham, and Terry Eagleton. 11 publishers, many of whose authors were present as delegates, held exhibitions and meetings at the conference.
Highlights from MSA 15:
Thursday Plenary – Griselda Pollock
Friday Plenary – Gillian Beer, Michael Sheringham, Esther Leslie, Gabriel Josipovici, Rachel Bowlby, and Ben Highmore
Saturday Plenary – Terry Eagleton
The poster for the MSA Poetry Reading run by the Centre’s sponsored poetry collective Hi Zero.
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“A marvellous affair from start to finish” (Baltimore, Maryland)
“Enormous and yet personal” (Cambridge, U.K.)
“A great MSA, memorable on all accounts” (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
“A superb conference!” (York, U.K.)
“Brilliant, absorbing, flawless” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
“A great conference” (Amiens, France)
“Enjoyable and substantive” (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
The event was organised by the centre’s director Dr. Sara Crangle and received additional sponsorship from Johns Hopkins University Press, Edinburgh University Press, the Leo Baeck Institute, the British Association of Modernist Studies (BAMS) and the Katherine Mansfield Society,with generous contributions from the Schools of English and Media at the University of Sussex.