What is good about the medieval?

I am exploring the text describing what the conference is about.

In one strand, experimentation is associated with the opening up of the closed medieval universe into an open world of endless possibility. 

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 In performing the split between nature and culture that Bruno Latour calls the ‘modern constitution’, the experiment thus started its long relationship with social ordering, technology and power, which has helped to legitimise the instrumental paradigm of modern political action (Ezrahi), drive forward the grand projects of 20th century high-modernist statecraft (Scott), and shape the contemporary world of evidence-based policy, clinical trials and audits.

So what was it about the medieval period that is attractive? I keep coming across objections from academics to what is happening recently. A Guardian report on JISC discussions includes

But universities' reliance on public funding, which comes with restrictions on how the money is spent, can stifle innovation and creativity. "If you want to raise participation and accept government subsidies, you've got to accept that it is a poisoned chalice," said one participant.

 

So when was this time that there was no public funding and no outside pressure? What was it like? Is it continued?