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International Conference at Mons, Belgium

12-14 October 2015

Festivals in Hainault at the time of Jacques du Broeucq: The European Importance of Festivities to honour Charles V and the future Philip II (1549)

Call for papers

Potential speakers at the above conference are invited to submit proposals for conference papers to the Low Countries Sculpture Society and the Society for European Festivals Research. Proposals should be limited to a maximum of 300 words, should be accompanied by a brief CV (no more than a few lines) and should be sent to and to arrive no later than Wednesday 8th April, 2015. A scientific committee drawn from the two Societies and invited scholars will take a decision on selected speakers shortly after that date. Proposals must be in English or French, which will be the conference languages.

Thanks to a grant from the Fondation Mons 2015, three hotel nights and modest travel expenses for foreign participants can be covered.

The Conference

In 2015, the eyes of Europe will focus on Mons as the European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, an international conference will be held in Mons, set within a week of celebrations featuring the work of Jacques Du Broeucq(c.1505-84) as architect and sculptor (11-18 October) and following a week (4-11 October) celebrating the musical achievements of Orlando di Lasso/Roland de Lassus (1532-94).

The aim is to bring to widespread public notice a famed series of occasions when, as the hub of Renaissance Europe, the Low Countries commanded the continent’s attention, with Hainault and its capital Mons featuring as the site of the most famous and influential events. These took place in 1549 when Charles V, Count of Hainault and Holy Roman Emperor, attempted to determine the continent’s dynastic, political and economic future by nominating as his successor his son Philip of Spain. With this aim in mind, his sister Mary of Hungary commissioned a series of magnificent festivals, the most lavish of which took place in September of that year at her palaces close to Mons at Binche and Mariemont.

The Society for European Festivals Research (SEFR) will be responsible for the conference’s academic programme, which will emphasise the almost unprecedented magnificence of the festivals at Mary’s palaces. These outshone the festivals of contemporary France and arguably equalled the great royal and civic festivals of Italy and the German-speaking states. Attention will be drawn to the public processions organised by local officials, and engaged in by a high proportion of the whole populace, from tradesmen and civic officers to artists, choreographers, designers and musicians. Particular attention will be paid to tournaments, including the great tournament of the Chateau Ténébreux, and to their wide-ranging public appeal. Attention will also be paid to the festivals’ appropriation of Italian and Burgundian or Northern European precedents, and to their continent-wide public recognition, as attested by the survival of an unusually high number of published accounts in Spanish, French, German and Italian. Papers which adopt a perspective that is Europe-wide, and are conscious of the social and political context of the events, will be especially welcome. Analysis of European festivals which rival or parallel those at Binche and Mariemont will be considered, provided that they reference the 1549 celebrations. Performance analysis will be a further concern of the conference, so that proposals forpapers which deal with festivals as theatrical events, and with the associated scenography and performance characteristics, will also be welcome.

Authors of papers should avoid a merely descriptive approach to their topic, and should instead observe a theoretic or analytical method, while being aware that the conference is open to the general public, so that an accessible and informative style is essential. Approximately 20 papers will be selected for inclusion.

Authors are advised that the European Festival Studies series published by Ashgate will be asked to consider the publication of a volume based on contributions to the conference. Authors seeking inclusion in the volume should therefore ensure that they retain details of their sources and references, so that scholarly footnotes and a bibliography can be reconstructed at a future date. It is also advisable to adopt the conventions and house style set out in the Ashgate guidelines, which can be accessed on the appropriate website ( Please note, however, that a published volume will not consist of ‘conference proceedings’ but will feature a selection of papers reconsidered, re-written and edited following discussion at the conference and with the volume editor(s).


Sunday 11 October 2015

12.00-20.00 Renaissance banquet at the castle of Boussu, near Mons (optional)

Monday 12 October 2015

10.00-19.00 Conference, university of Mons, followed by evening programme

Tuesday 13 October 2015

10.00-19.00 Conference, at the Centre Culturel, Boussu, followed by evening programme

Wednesday 14 October 2015

10.00-16.00 Conference, university of Mons, followed by free evening or individual return home

Thursday 15 October 2015

11.00-17.00 Excursion to Saint-Omer (optional), return to Mons around 19.00

Conference organisers

The Society for European Festivals Research at the University of Warwick, UK

The University of Leuven

The Low Countries Sculpture Society, Brussels

The Mons 2015 Foundation, Mons

The University of Mons