The College of Arts & Sciences and the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS) host a spring lecture series in memoriam of Helen Damico, the inspirational founder of the Institute for Medieval Studies and all UNM’s medieval programs.

For more than 30 years, The University of New Mexico and the IMS have collaborated to present the Spring Lecture Series, an annual celebration of world-class scholarship and research to the UNM campus community. “Medieval Performance,” is the first Helen Damico Memorial Lecture Series and the 35th Spring Lecture Series hosted by UNM’s IMS. It will offer a compelling four-day event that will span the fields of theatre, civic spectacle, music and dance in honor of Damico, who died April 14, 2020 from complications arising from COVID-19. 

The first lecture of the series will take place on Thursday, April 22, at 5:30 p.m. It will be titled “The Many Spaces of Medieval Theatre” and will feature Carol Symes of the University of Illinois. The registration link is

The second lecture will be Friday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. It is called “Dancing with Angels: Deciphering Medieval Dance in Text and Images” and will be hosted by Karen Silen from the University of California, Berkeley. The registration link is

The third lecture will take place Thursday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. It will be titled “Theatres in the Mind and on the Page: Imagining Medieval Performance through its Visual Remains” and will feature Laura Weigert from Rutgers University. The registration link is

The final lecture will be Friday, April 30, at 5:30 p.m., titled “Medieval Theatre in Modern Spaces” and featuring Kyle A. Thomas from Missouri State University. The registration link is

The events will be presented via Zoom and are free and open to the public. The lectures are a great opportunity for students and members of the public to interact with leaders in the many fields of medieval research and to see presentations of their current work first-hand.

This program is supported by the New Mexico Humanities Council and by contributions from the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, The College of Arts and Sciences, The Honors College, The International Studies Institute, The European Studies Program, The Religious Studies Program, The Medieval Studies Student Association, and the Departments of Art, Earth and Planetary Sciences, English, History, Linguistics, Music, and Physics and Astronomy.

Damico established the Institute’s popular annual Medieval Spring Lecture Series, as well as other initiatives that brought her passion for Medieval and Old English studies to her students and the community. After attending a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College Teachers at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1981, Damico was inspired to start a medieval program at UNM, and over the next several years, she created many initiatives.

“In the classroom, Dr. Damico was known as an inspirational teacher who had an extraordinary impact on a number of her students; her UNM teaching awards, culminating in the Presidential Teaching Fellowship, which she held for the two-year term, 1998 to 2000, amply attest to this. I understand that she could be highly demanding—a natural corollary of her extraordinarily strong will and her vigor—while also eliciting the greatest respect and devotion from students,” said IMS Director Timothy Graham.

For a full schedule and further information, call 505-277-2252 or visit the Institute for Medieval Studies.