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29 June 2023 - 01 July 2023
09:00am - 5:00pm

This conference is about our little-known Kent medieval and early modern animal heritage - think Fantastic Beats and Pokémon, but older and weirder.

The NLHF Skin and Bone, Wood and Stone Conference is about our fantastic but little-known Kent medieval and early modern animal heritage (think Fantastic Beasts and Pokémon but older - and weirder), placed in a wider context by British and international scholars. The opening lecture, ‘Rethinking the Medieval Pig’ given by Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh, is accompanied by a fun heritage exhibition, live poetry readings, and a wine reception.

Twelve panel sessions over four days discuss everything from the medieval unicorn to the fox, from ostrich eggs to werewolves, and from dragons to songbirds. In addition, there is a linked Pop-Up Exhibition case on Medieval Animals, curated by SEND children at The Beaney Institute from Friday 30 June as part of the Canterbury Medieval Pageant.

In Rochester, the Cathedral will be hosting the ‘Textus 900’ Exhibition of glorious medieval books made for the Cathedral including the superb Rochester Bestiary, celebrating its 800th birthday on special loan from The British Library from 30 June.

Tickets are free for all four days. Book to attend any and all of the main conference (running Thursday 29 June to Saturday 1 July) below. Follow this link to book for the Conference Opening on Wednesday 28 June, as we need to anticipate numbers for catering.

This is an in-venue event taking place in the Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, in the Old Sessions House.



Wednesday 28 June, Conference Opening, 5.15 - 7.15pm

Click here to book for the conference opening

  • Fabulous Animal Poetry Readings, Exhibition & Wine Reception: Sonia Overall, 5.15 - 6pm
  • Formal Conference Opening by The Clerk to Eastbridge Hospital: Louise Knight, 6.05 - 6.10pm
  • Opening Conference Lecture: Rethinking the Medieval Pig: Sheila Sweetinburgh, 6.10 - 7.10pm


Thursday 29 June, 9am - 4.35pm

  • (Zoo)Archaeology: Renovation and Innovation: Martin Crowther, Andy Margetts, Catriona Cooper, 9 - 10.10am
  • Avian Encounters: Duncan Frost, Amelia Doherty, 10.15 - 11.15am
  • Dragon and Egg, Mark H. Summers, Nadia Mariana Consiglieri & Cecily Hughes, 11.30am - 12.45pm
  • Animal Imagery and Passion: Elena Likmanova, Atara Moscovich, Laura Rybicki, 1.45 - 3pm
  • Howl!: Todd C. Simmons, Victoria Blud, David Budgen, 3.20 - 4.35pm


Friday 30 June, 9am - 1.30pm

  • Being Beastly: Kathryn Smithies, Sven Gins, 9 - 10am
  • Moral Tales: Adriana Gallardo Luque, Ilya Dines, 10.10 - 11.10am
  • Modern Impacts: Pip Gregory, Patricia Stewart, 11.30am - 12.30pm
  • Middle Eastern Animal Links: June-Ann Greeley, Diane Heath, 12.30 - 1.30pm
  • Linked Exhibition: Medieval Animals Pop-Up Exhibition at the Beaney, 10am - 5pm


Saturday 1 July, 9am - 5pm

  • Dragon Wrangling: Pip Gregory, Eli Salter, Laine Bloxham, 9 - 9.45am
  • Close of Conference, 9.45 - 10.15am
  • Linked Event: Canterbury Medieval Pageant Procession and Family Trail, 11am - 5pm