The International John Bunyan Society is pleased to announce that the 2020 Early Career Essay Prize has been awarded to Eleanor Hedger, for her essay entitled ‘Singing in the Face of Death: Making Martyrs on the Scaffold during the English Reformation’. The prize was intended to have been announced at the Regional IJBS Conference planned for 16 April 2020, but this event had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the winner’s certificate and prize has been sent to Eleanor by David Walker, IJBS President. The selection panel was chaired by Bob Owens, and the members were Rachel Adcock, Isabel Rivers, and David Walker.
Eleanor Hedger is a third-year PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, funded by the Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. A musicologist by training, she completed a BMus in 2014, followed by an MA specialising in Early Music. Her PhD thesis is exploring two unusual and extensive questions: what did the unsettled, conflicted, and turbulent world of post-Reformation England sound like? And what did the sounds associated with conflict, violence, and punishment signify to those that made and heard them? To answer these questions she is carrying out research into the sonic and musical characteristics of conflict and punishment from the start of Mary I’s reign in 1553 until the death of Charles I in 1649. This includes examining the ways in which sound functioned during rituals of punishment, such as public executions and charivari, and also how sound reflected and heightened aspects of social and religious conflict in spaces such as the early modern prison and the parish church. Her argument is that consideration of the sonic experience of such rituals and spaces can serve as a conduit for investigating the complex social, political, and religious tensions that surfaced during this period. Her essay, ‘Heinrich Isaac’s Missa Comme femme desconfortée: A Musical Offering to the Virgin Mary’, has been published in Stefan Gasch, Markus Grassl, and August Valentin Rabe (eds.), Henricus Isaac (ca. 1450–1617): Composition – Reception – Interpretation (Vienna: Hollitzer Verlag, 2019), pp. 177–188.
This is the inaugural year of the IJBS Early Career Essay Prize, which is open to PhD Students and to post-doctoral researchers within the first two years after their viva. Applicants must be members of IJBS. The prize is for outstanding scholarly work in the field of early modern religion and Dissent, including its literature, history and reception. Further details about the prize will be posted on the IJBS website.