Dragon puppets from Headstrung. The dragons will appear at Making Leeds Medieval during IMC 2018.

Making Leeds Medieval: here be dragons!

Smoke-breathing dragons will swoop and soar over the crowds as we bring this year’s International Medieval Congress to a close.

For the first time, two gigantic dragons will fly around the University of Leeds campus during Making Leeds Medieval on Thursday 5 July, courtesy of Headstrung Puppet Theatre. Each dragon will make its way around University Square, just outside Leeds University Union, for three separate laps throughout the day: the first around 10.45 near the start of festivities; another during the lunch break; and the final flight will take place around 15.30, just before the last academic sessions begin.

Making Leeds Medieval is the IMC’s biggest public event, inviting people across the city to visit campus and immerse themselves in the Middle Ages. The dragon display completes the programme for the day’s events, which will include combat displays from 3 Swords, birds of prey, live music courtesy of Daughters of Elvin, and a variety of craft demonstrations.

Regular exhibitor The Mulberry Dyer will be showing visitors how to make paper using historically-inspired techniques. We are also delighted that Eran ud Turan will bring interactive displays of techniques from the Near East and Central Asia, such as calligraphy, clothing and armour, and a demonstration of coin-striking. Nadeem Ahmad will give a short talk offering a brief introduction to the Sogdians, who developed extensive trading networks all along the Silk Road, at 14.30.

Textile and art-lovers can also gaze in awe at two volunteer-run embroidery projects seeking to preserve the lesser-known battles of 1066. The completed Battle of Fulford Tapestry and ongoing Stamford Bridge Tapestry Project use medieval iconography, creating heirlooms to answer Bayeux.

As always, many of the traders from Wednesday’s Medieval Craft Fair will stay on for Making Leeds Medieval, giving you the chance to browse handmade and medieval-inspired items such as hand-bound books, jewellery, clothing, textiles and beads.

Societies working to conserve and promote the history of Leeds, Yorkshire and the UK as a whole will also be on campus, as our Historical and Archaeological Societies Fair takes place nearby.

Check IMC Fairs for full lists of exhibitors and exhibition plans.

Making Leeds Medieval takes place 10.30-18.00 on Thursday 5 July, across University Square and in Leeds University Union.