The Pirenne Consortium

The Pirenne Consortium

The Pirenne Consortium for Medieval Studies at Ghent University

HPIMSnewSince 2013, the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies is recognized and funded by Ghent University's Special Research Fund (BOF) as an 'Interdisciplinary Consortium for Societal Impact' (IDC). The IDC-programme is part of the university's strategic policy to strengthen both research and impact quality. The Pirenne Consortium is headed by spokesperson Jeroen Deploige and a board of 27 promoters from ten different disciplines connected to medieval studies at Ghent University, while its management is handled by an assigned postdoctoral research coordinator.


The Consortium has a fivefold mission:
  • Intensifying the internal collaboration of medievalists within Ghent University through concerted research actions and initiatives that focus on interdisciplinary, diachronic and cross-cultural research.
  • Targeting research funds by monitoring opportunities and facilitating new project applications. The Pirenne Consortium has specific expertise in follow-up and interpretation of the Belgian funding schemes and the European Horizon2020 framework programme, especially the 'Excellence' and 'Societal Challenges' pillars. For this goal, the coordinator works together closely with Ghent University's central offices such as the EU Funding Unit of the Research Department.
  • Further internationalisation of Ghent University scholarship in Medieval Studies through the organisation of international events, finding research partners abroad, setting up formal collaborations with foreign universities or other stakeholders and participating in international networks and projects.
  • Development and improvement of Ghent University's digital research infrastructure in Medieval Studies. The Henri Pirenne Institute is the birthplace of several fundamental digital source repertoria and the Consortium coordinator acts as their first caretaker, for example working on content and following up on user feedback.
  • Strengthening the connection with society through a research impact strategy that consists of intensified public engagement, the development of collaborations with different kinds of partners, and incentivizing the transfer of knowledge.


As part of our aims to evaluate and strengthen the mission of the Pirenne Consortium, and to monitor research opportunities for medievalists and the SSH community in general, the Consortium has organised several events:
  1. Medieval Studies as Academic Discipline (28 May 2015). An international study day on multi-period and cross-cultural research in Medieval Studies, and on how this academic research can contribute to society in general and to cultural heritage management in particular.
  2. The Footprint of Social Sciences and Humanities (13 December 2016). Study day with plenary lectures, parallel workshops and discussion groups on 'impact', interdisciplinarity and the role of SSH in society. We co-organised this event together with the other SSH research consortia at Ghent University.
  3. CARMEN - Worldwide Medieval Network Annual Meeting 'Medieval Materialities' (22-23 September 2017). Meeting of medievalists from around the world, primarily designed as a network event for medievalists and others to connect with the international scene of Medieval Studies both inside and outside academia. It also provided an excellent opportunity to learn about each other's research and find partners for future research collaborations.

Advisory board

In order to bring in the expertise of our principal stakeholders in society, we work with an external advisory board. This board is a sample of vital stakeholders with an interest in our research. Currently we have representatives of eleven institutions*:
  1. Department for Culture, Youth and Media of the Flemish Government (representative: t.b.c.)
  2. Department for Education of the Flemish Government (representative: Jeroen Backs, Head of Strategic Policy Division)
  3. FARO - Flemish Support Center for Cultural Heritage (representative: Jaqueline Van Leeuwen, Senior Advisor Education and Organisational Development)
  4. Flanders Tourism (representative: Ben De Vriendt, Product Manager Arts & Heritage)
  5. Flemish Heritage Library (representative: Sara Moens, Collection Expert)
  6. Ghent City Archive (representative: Guy Dupont, Archivist)
  7. Ghent Municipal Department for Monuments and City Archaeology (under review)
  8. Histories vzw (representative: Eva Wuyts, Coordinator)
  9. Historische Huizen Gent  (representative: Doreen Gaublomme, Director)
  10. KifKif (representative: Karin Schuitema, Staff member)
  11. Musea Brugge (representative: Anne van Oosterwijk, Director "Collections")

* Please note that the advisory board will be reviewed and reconstituted in 2024.