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Launch of Global Shakespeare

The Vision: A Partnership between Queen Mary and Warwick

Shakespeare is now a global phenomenon that transcends national borders, institutional boundaries and historical categories. To understand the past, present and future of Shakespeare as an Elizabethan dramatist and a multimedia global icon in the twenty-first century requires an exceptional interdisciplinary approach to the subject. In response to this challenge, Queen Mary and Warwick are launching 'Global Shakespeare', a unique partnership that will shape the future research agenda in twenty-first century Shakespeare studies across criticism, performance, history, and media from television to digital reproduction.

What distinguishes Global Shakespeare is its dual approach to both its subject and the complexities of the term 'globalisation'. We will develop a range of projects and activities from the early modern to the late modern periods explaining how Shakespeare became such a global figure, as well as launching a series of complementary initiatives exploring Shakespeare's place in current debates around globalisation. Our approach will draw on the distinctiveness of both institutions: it will be interdisciplinary, exploiting our strengths in English, Theatre Studies, Drama, Modern Languages and Comparative Literature; it will be grounded in the kind of historical research that characterises QM and Warwick's internationally recognised Renaissance Studies; it will draw on a global cohort of performers, academics, theatre practitioners, artists, musicians that will include but also transcend the usual Anglo-American academic networks; and it will draw on the latest initiatives in performance-based study and pedagogy developed by Warwick's CAPITAL Centre and Queen Mary's People's Palace Projects to set new agendas in current knowledge of Shakespeare and globalisation.

Global Shakespeare will enable innovative research and postgraduate teaching that draws on the richness and complexity of diverse global perspectives on early modern and contemporary culture, on the texts of Shakespeare and on early modern drama in performance in a variety of historical periods and geographical locations.

Key themes will include:

  • Shakespeare and translation, involving the study of different linguistic traditions through and in which 'Shakespeare' has been read and performed, as well as addressing translation in terms of adaptation, inter-cultural exchange, and generic transformations
  • Exploitation of digital connections and tools for globalising study and research in Shakespeare, to avoid the usual metropolitan divide of centre and periphery.
  • Performance and pedagogy; understanding the potential for global performance practices, events and discourses of production to unlock new understandings of the plays and their continuing relevance to world audiences.
  • The 'translation' of performing and teaching Shakespeare across the globe to transform both understanding of the work, and its cultural, political, economic and ideological environments.
  • The applied uses of Shakespeare in non-traditional contexts such as projects whose primary aim is to develop social cohesion, literacy, leadership and inter-cultural understandings.

Such an approach to studying Shakespeare is unparalleled in the UK, or anywhere else on the globe. No other institution offers such a creative approach to the historical and contemporary study of its subject, which is why Global Shakespeare is required so urgently by scholars, performers, practitioners, artists, teachers and above all, the next generation of students.

The partnership involves the appointment of core research staff including an Academic Director with a physical presence at both universities. It will draw on the expertise of staff at Queen Mary and at Warwick, working in close collaboration with a wide range of academic and cultural institutions and artists, including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the European Society for the Study of English and the European Shakespeare Research Association. The partnership has already obtained Fulbright Funding to appoint four Distinguished Chairs over the period 2014-18, aimed at academics and artists with a strong contribution to make to the understanding of the history and the future of global Shakespeare.

Announcement of Academic Director

Internationally renowned Shakespeare scholar Professor David Schalkwyk has been appointed as the Academic Director of Global Shakespeare. He will take up his post in September 2013.

Find out more about Professor Schalkwyk's appointment.

Steering group

University of Warwick members

Professor Ann Caesar
Department of Italian and Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Professor James Harding
School of Theatre Studies

Professor Catharine Bates
Department of English

Professor Mark Knights
Department of History

Dr Loredana Polezzi
Department of Italian

Professor Jonothan Neelands
Warwick Business School

Queen Mary, University of London members

Professor Morag Shiach
School of English and Drama and Vice-Principal

Dr Warren Boutcher
School of English and Drama

Professor Jerry Brotton
School of English and Drama

Dr Robert Gillett
School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor Eric Heinze
Department of Law

Dr Kim Solga
School of English and Drama