Online public lecture: ‘The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Renaissance culture’ (Speaker: Dr. Victoria Bladen, UQ)

PMRG’s first event of the year will be the first of two lectures by Dr. Victoria Bladen, who teaches in literary studies and adaptation at the University of Queensland.

The first talk will be Zoomed live from Brisbane on Wednesday March 10 at 4:30pm (AWST), but will be recorded for ease of access for all PMRG members. This is an event organised by the Sydney group (SMRG) and the first of PMRG’s Guest Speaker events for 2021. There will be a second lecture in April/May for PMRG (details to be announced).

Here are the details for the first talk on March 10:

The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Renaissance culture

Across early modern European culture grew a rich and complex language of trees that surrounded the concept of the tree of life. It was articulated in a variety of media and forms: illuminated manuscripts, woodcuts, paintings, mosaic, fresco, sculpture, and pageantry.  Arboreal motifs and metaphors were a significant vehicle for expressing ideas of spiritual knowledge and articulating religious ideology. The sources for arboreal iconography lay in biblical text however the meanings that were read from these images extended beyond the textual metaphors to intersect with social ritual, folklore, and the cult of the cross.  We will also see how unsettling forces of otherness lay embedded within such arboreal iconography, particularly apparent in the figure of the Green Man. This paper maps key ideas surrounding the tree of life and its arboreal aesthetics in Renaissance culture, highlighting recurring motifs and ideas, and demonstrating its double nature whereby orthodoxy was shadowed by the Other.


Dr Victoria Bladen teaches in literary studies and adaptation at The University of Queensland, Australia and has twice received a Faculty award for teaching excellence. Her publications include six Shakespearean text guides in the Insight (Melbourne) series, including The Merchant of Venice (2020) and Much Ado About Nothing (2019), and five co-edited volumes, including Shakespeare on Screen: King Lear (Cambridge UP 2019), and Shakespeare and the Supernatural (Manchester UP 2020). Her forthcoming monograph The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Early Modern Literature will be published by Routledge in their World Literature and the Environment series.

Victoria’s presentation will be at 4:30pm Perth time, 6:30pm Brisbane time and 7:30pm Sydney time.

For Zoom details please contact the PMRG Secretary: [email protected].

PMRG AGM 2021

The 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group Incorporated will be held on Monday, 15 March 2021, at 6:30pm at The University of Western Australia (Arts Building, ALR 8). The formal part of the meeting should conclude by 7pm.  We will then have a presentation from one of our founding members, Emeritus Professor Chris Wortham. Chris’s topic is ‘Shakespeare and the Forest of Arden’. 

Nominations are now open for people who wish to become a member of the PMRG Committee or wish to nominate for the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.  The final date for nominations is Monday, 15 February 2021. Nominations should be sent to the PMRG Secretary: [email protected].

PMRG Annual Quiz Night postponed until 2021

Due to current circumstances, PMRG’s fundraiser, the Annual Quiz Night has unfortunately had to be postponed until 2021. 

Full details about next year’s Quiz Night will be posted on the PMRG website and Facebook account in 2021.

Should you wish to donate to PMRG, please contact the Secretary for more details. Donations are used to fund travel bursaries to allow postgraduate students and early career  scholars to attend the PMRG Conference.

‘Adaptation in the Humanities’ conference – postponed until September 2021

The conference has been postponed until September 2021. Our primary concern is the health and safety of all involved in the conference, and we are aware of the need to ensure the conference is as safe an environment as possible for all.

The conference will now take place at The University of Western Australia, Thursday 30 September – Saturday 2 October 2021.

Digital registration to the conference will be possible to make attendance as open as possible to interstate and international attendees.

Call for Papers close on Monday 12 April 2021.

The Call for Papers for article submissions in the Limina Journal ‘Adaptations’ Special Edition remains open. Limina welcomes article submissions on the conference theme for the special issue to be launched at the 2021 Conference.

We look forward to seeing you in Perth in 2021!

Updates about the conference will be posted on this website as details are confirmed.

‘Adaptation in the Humanities’ conference – COVID-19 Response

We are closely monitoring the situation in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact upon the ‘Adaptation in the Humanities’ conference this October.

Based on current Australian Government advice, we are continuing work as planned to hold the conference on 3–4 October 2020.

We are mindful of uncertainty prompted by the outbreak and cannot predict what impact it will have in the coming weeks and months.

Our primary concern is the health and safety of all involved in the conference, and we are aware of the need to ensure the conference is as safe an environment as possible for all.

We will keep you informed of any changes to the conference as soon as possible.

Call for Papers: ‘Adaptation in the Humanities: Reimagining the Past, Present and Future’

Our knowledge of the world — imagined, experienced, or learned — is constantly in flux. As humans, we change, adapt, and mould the environments around us, the knowledge systems we use and the items we create. Adaptation can be forced through the presentation of an obstacle, or it can occur symbiotically within a group.

In 2020 Limina: The Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies, the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group (PMRG), and Medieval and Early Modern Studies at The University of Western Australia are joining forces to provide a forum for the presentation of the myriad of ‘adaptations’ worlds, individuals, languages, ideas, and peoples, real or otherwise, experience.

The conference will be held at The University of Western Australia from the 3–4 October 2020. It will consist of a masterclass, opening plenary address and reception on 2 October. The main conference will take place on 3–4 October 2020. For full details, please visit the conference website: https://conference.pmrg.org.au.

The conference committee invites proposals for 20-minute papers or panels (of no more than three speakers) from the breadth of humanities research to explore the products of adaptations, and the processes that bring them into being.

Papers topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Literary and popular culture adaptations (e.g. text to screen; children’s literature and YA adaptations of texts, graphic novel and video-game recreations of literary classics);
  • Adaptations throughout history (e.g. Cultural adaptations, reception, neoclassicism, medievalism, early modernism, Neo-Victorianism, Gothic revival, science fiction, utopianism, etc.);
  • Adaptation of memory (e.g. emotion or event based i.e. historical re-enactments, responses to crises/trauma/adversity/oppressive systems);
  • Translation studies (e.g. translations of medieval manuscripts or ancient papyri);
  • Adaptation and electronic literature (e.g. going beyond re-mediation to interface and recreate the text)
  • Childhood studies (e.g. learning; education; “adapting to and through the world”);
  • Critical studies on visual adaptations (e.g. interpretive dance; interactive artworks);
  • Adaptations of the self (e.g. biographies; auto-biographies, con-artists, fakes, forgeries and scams);
  • Adaptation and embodiment (e.g disability, immaterial bodies, in/corporality, disability; cyborgs, AI);
  • Adaptations of reality (e.g. sci-fi; hallucinogens, VR);
  • Museum and Material Studies (e.g. displaying/reinterpreting/rehousing material artefacts to contemporary audiences, heritage studies and technology, 3D modeling/printing);
  • Environmental adaptations (e.g. permanently or temporarily adapting the environment to suit the needs of humans, artificial environments, biospheres/biodomes);
  • Adaptation of space and place (e.g. rehabilitation, renovation, renewal, gentrification, repatriation).

Conference abstract submissions should consist of:

  • A title
  • An abstract (max. 200 words);
  • A short biography (max. 50 words).

Submit abstracts to: [email protected] by the 31 May 2020. The committee aims to have responses returned by 14 June 2020.

Limina and PMRG also welcome themed panel or workshop session proposals for the conference. Proposals should consist of:

  • Panel Title;
  • Proposed Chair (if available);
  • Details of each presenter and paper as described above.

Submit panel/workshop proposals to:  [email protected] by 31 May 2020.

There will be a limited number of bursaries available for post-graduate students and early career researchers (within 5 years of the award of their degree) for presenters travelling from interstate or overseas. Details of the bursaries will be announced shortly.

‘Mental Health in the Medieval and Early Modern World’ – Registration now open!

Registration is now open for the ‘Mental Health in the Medieval and Early Modern World’, the annual PMRG/CMEMS conference, to be held at The University of Western Australia on 19 October 2019.

Please note: A conference dinner at local Thai restaurant Itsara will follow the conference.

Registration closes Friday 11 August 2019 (5pm AWST).

To register please visit the conference website: https://conference.pmrg.org.au