Shakespeare in Education: Innovating and Collaborating in the Age of Digital Humanities

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.277  Tuesday, 10 June 2014


From:        British Shakespeare Association <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 10, 2014 at 1:26:24 PM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare in Education: Innovating and Collaborating in the Age of Digital Humanities


British Shakespeare Association


You are warmly invited to an event designed for all of those interested in Shakespeare and education: teachers at all levels, students, alumni and practitioners.

There will be a free to attend symposium on 25 June 2014 titled “Shakespeare in Education: Innovating and Collaborating in the Age of Digital Humanities.” The event is organised by students of the University of York and the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. It follows on from the 2013 symposium ( It will be held from 10am-5pm at the University of Birmingham main campus in Edgbaston, bringing together both new and expert researchers at an emerging hub of scholarship in Shakespeare and education. Together with disseminating, sharing, and discussing a range of teaching methods and approaches, we will have visiting speakers and experts to discuss topics at the forefront of the field, ranging from using digital Shakespeare resources to active teaching approaches.


Speakers include: Dr. Sarah Olive, University of York & Chair of the BSA education committee; Dr. Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute; Dr. Catherine Alexander, Shakespeare Institute; Anthony Banks, Associate Director at National Theatre Learning; and co-organisers Laura Nicklin, University of York, and Thea Buckley, Shakespeare Institute. Registration will open at 9:40 and the day will begin at 10:00 and will progress through a series of panels including lectures, roundtable discussions and active workshops on the topic of teaching Shakespeare. The day will finish at 17:00 with an opportunity for networking and further discussion over coffee and cake.
This student-led symposium aims to build on the knowledge base of current approaches to teaching Shakespeare, by situating it in the latest scholarly conversation through sharing insights gained through the organisers’ wider experience in participating at international Shakespeare conferences. These include the Worlds Together Conference on Shakespeare in education, 2012, London, UK, and the Folger Shakespeare Library educational workshops, 2013 and 2014, Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) Conference, St. Louis, USA. The event is generously funded by BSA Education and the University of Birmingham’s PGR Development Fund, with CLAD support. 

A light lunch will be provided for all attending. We are also a short walk from the nearby University of Birmingham railway station. There is good connectivity by bus or train from Birmingham city centre, as well as onsite pay and display parking. For more information please visit our facebook page event:

https://www . facebook . com/events/323301397818066/?fref=ts


or this page from our kind sponsors at the British Shakespeare Association:


http ://www . britishshakespeare . ws/event/shakespeare-in-education-innovating-and-collaborating-in-the-age-of-digital-humanities/ .

We are delighted to announce we also have a limited amount of £10 travel bursaries for students. Those interested may apply by email no later than 20 June, briefly outlining their need for a bursary in 50 words or less; successful applicants will be notified.


If you wish to attend please e-mail Laura Nicklin and Thea Buckley, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and affiliation, or click ‘attending’ on the Facebook event. We look forward to seeing you at the event.


CFP: Unexpected affect in Shakespearean Drama, NeMLA 2015

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.276  Tuesday, 10 June 2014


From:        Erin Weinberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 10, 2014 at 9:41:28 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Unexpected affect in Shakespearean Drama, NeMLA 2015


Unexpected affect in Shakespearean Drama


This panel will explore the ways in which Shakespearean drama delivers emotional intensity (passions, affectations, embodiment, etc.) in unexpected places. When might certain emotional reactions be surprising in Shakespeare’s plays? Are there particular characters that share their feelings unexpectedly, yet with astonishing resonance?


The significance of this session is to explore whether, after four centuries of exposure, these can still be capable of emotionally shocking. In today’s academic climate, do Shakespeare’s words have the potential to be so emotionally disturbing that students might/can/should expect a “trigger warning” on syllabi?

This panel will explore unexpected representations of affect in Shakespeare’s works, including:


-       affect in the comedies, including “comedies of humour”

-       affect in unnamed characters

-       affect in allusions

-       affect through wordplay (punning, homonyms, and so forth)

-       affect in prologues or epilogues

-       affect as communicated by servants or children

-       reviews of unexpectedly affective productions of Shakespeare on stage and screen

-       exploring Shakespearean emotions in the classroom and online


NeMLA 2015 will be taking place in Toronto, Canada, April 30-May 3, 2015. This year, applicants will be submitting their abstracts directly to the NeMLA site (, so please allow time to familiarize yourself with the new format. Please submit abstracts for 20-minute presentations by September 15, 2014. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any and all questions.


CFP: “Shakespeare and Bakhtin: New Directions” NEMLA Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.275  Tuesday, 10 June 2014


From:        Philip Collington <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 9, 2014 at 10:51:54 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: “Shakespeare and Bakhtin: New Directions” NEMLA Conference


CFP Announcement: “Shakespeare and Bakhtin: New Directions” NEMLA Conference, Toronto ON (April 30 - May 3, 2015)  




Call for Papers

Bakhtin and Shakespeare: New Directions

Northeast Modern Language Association, Toronto ON (April 30 - May 3, 2015)


Since his death in 1975, the work of Russian literary theorist and cultural philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin has continued to influence a wide range of disciplines, from novel and film studies to geography and sociology; from linguistics and psychology to art history and biblical hermeneutics. It is not surprising that this advocate of multiplicity should provoke interdisciplinary extensions and revisions of his work. In notes about the state of literary scholarship published before his death, Bakhtin wrote about “immense treasures of potential meaning” that have yet to be discovered in Shakespeare’s works. The decades that followed saw a flurry of scholarly engagements with Bakhtinian concepts and the plays (e.g., Michael D. Bristol on carnival, James R. Siemon on dialogism). But what is the current state of Bakhtin in Shakespeare studies? What new directions might his writings enable in the study of Shakespeare? What might a “second wave” of Bakhtinian Shakespeare criticism produce? This panel invites original papers examining new directions for Bakhtin and Shakespeare. Papers may address methodological or theoretical issues, engage in meta-critical surveys of current scholarship, or propose new applications of Bakhtinian concepts to the poems or plays.


Paper proposals must be submitted directly through the NEMLA Website. Go to:


Click the link that says “Submit an Abstract” and follow the instructions from there.


Deadline for proposals: September 30, 2014


For questions or additional information, please contact the session organizers:


Philip Collington, Associate Professor of English, Niagara University (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)




Tara Collington, Associate Professor of French, University of Waterloo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Upcoming Hiatus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.274  Monday, 9 June 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Monday, June 9, 2014

Subject:    Upcoming Hiatus 


Dear Subscribers,


I leave Thursday for 10 days in the mountains of North Carolina away from all electronic access. So there will be an interruption Thursday, June 12 until Monday June 23.


If you have announcements or comments, please get them to me and keep them coming during the hiatus.




CFP: Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.269  Sunday, 8 June 2014


From:        Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 7, 2014 at 12:36:23 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society


Call for Papers

Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference

October 17 and 18

Kelowna, British Columbia


This is the second version of this call for papers. Please note the new conference dates, and new deadline for proposals.


The next meeting of the Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference will take place on October 17 and 18 in Kelowna, a resort town at the centre of British Columbia’s wine country. 


The theme of this year’s conference is “The Global Renaissance.” George Saliba, of Columbia University, and Lesley Cormack, of the University of Alberta, will provide keynote addresses.


While the Renaissance is usually considered a European event, neither its sources nor its influence are confined to western Europe. We therefore seek to work actively with scholars of both European and transatlantic culture and society from 1300-1700, including art historians, economists, historians, scholars of religion, theatre historians and practitioners, scholars in the history of science and medicine, political scientists, and comparativists. The theme should be understood broadly, but we particularly welcome papers on exploration narratives, geographical knowledge, and contact and influence between cultures and languages. Papers are usually presented in English, but may concern the literature, history or culture of any language.


The Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society (PNRS) promotes scholarship in Early Modern Studies by hosting an annual conference, held alternately in the United States and Canada and open to all scholars from North America and beyond, including graduate students. The PNRS is an affiliate of both the Renaissance Society of America and the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies / Société Canadienne d’études de la Renaissance.


For individual papers, please send a one-page abstract or proposal and a one-page c.v. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than July 15th, 2014.


To propose a panel, please send an abstract for each paper, a one-page c.v. for each presenter, and a paragraph from the panel organizer describing the overall focus of the session to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than July 15th, 2014.


Papers must be kept to a twenty-minute reading time, including any technical and electronic support. All papers should be essentially new and never before presented in public.


For more information see:


Sean Lawrence

Associate Professor

Department of Critical Studies

CCS Building, 3333 University Way

University of British Columbia

Kelowna, BC  V1V 1V7


Board Vacancy: Web and Communications Officer

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.268  Sunday, 8 June 2014


From:        British Shakespeare Association <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 6, 2014 at 6:42:07 AM EDT

Subject:    Board Vacancy: Web and Communications Officer


British Shakespeare Association


There is currently a vacancy on the board for a Web and Communications Officer. This position was previously held by Peter Kirwan, who has now become Membership Officer. This is a volunteer position so it is unpaid, but reasonable expenses will be met. 

The main duty of the Web and Communications Officer will be to update the BSA website ( and co-ordinate BSA publicity. The Officer will need to be competent at using Wordpress (or familiar with similar packages) effectively for blogging and experienced at using social media (twitter, facebook etc.). No other technical skills are required as we already employ a freelance web designer. The Officer will become a full Trustee and Director of the British Shakespeare Association and will present either verbal or written reports to the Board about the website. The Board meets three times a year for business meetings and once a year for the AGM. Meetings are usually held in Stratford-upon-Avon. This position will remain open until filled.

For an informal chat about this opportunity please contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This is a very important role on the Board and we are keen to get the best person for it. If you know someone who you think would be a good candidate but is not currently a member of the BSA please ask them to get in touch.

Best wishes
Stuart Hampton-Reeves

Chair of the Board of Trustees


Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.266  Thursday, 5 June 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Thursday, June 5, 2014

Subject:    Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice


I would like to announce the electronic publication of Christie Carson’s and Peter Kirwan’s Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice. I bought it for my Kindle today. The hardcover and paperback are scheduled for publication on July 31, 2014.


The book may be of interested to subscribers of SHAKSPER. I might add that SHAKSPERean Peter Holland has an essay “Shakespeare in virtual communities” that has some kind words for SHAKSPER at its best.


Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice [Kindle Edition] Hardcover and Paperback available July 31, 2014


Christie Carson (Editor), Peter Kirwan (Editor)


Due to the unique cultural capital of his works, Shakespeare has long been the test subject for new methods and digital advances in arts scholarship. Shakespeare sits at the forefront of the digital humanities—in archiving, teaching, performance and editing - impacting on scholars, theatres and professional organisations alike. The pace at which new technologies have developed is unprecedented (and the pressure to keep up is only growing). This book offers seventeen new essays that assess the opportunities and pitfalls presented by the twenty-first century for the ongoing exploration of Shakespeare. Through contributions from a broad range of scholars and practitioners, including case studies from those working in the field, the collection engages with the impact of the digital revolution on Shakespeare studies. By assessing and mediating this sometimes controversial digital technology, the book is relevant to those interested in the digital humanities as well as to Shakespeare scholars and enthusiasts.


This collection critically assesses the opportunities and pitfalls presented by recent digital advances in Shakespeare studies. Featuring contributions from archivists, scholars, teachers, publishers, arts practitioners and digital innovators, this collection is relevant to those interested in the digital humanities as well as to Shakespeare scholars and enthusiasts.


Christie Carson is Reader in Shakespeare and Performance in the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the co-editor of The Cambridge King Lear CD-ROM: Text and Performance Archive (Cambridge University Press, 2000), Shakespeare’s Globe: A Theatrical Experiment (with Farah Karim-Cooper, Cambridge University Press, 2008), Shakespeare in Stages: New Theatre Histories (with Christine Dymkowski, Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Shakespeare Beyond English: A Global Experiment (with Susan Bennett, Cambridge University Press, 2013).


Peter Kirwan is Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Nottingham. He was an Associate Editor for Collaborative Plays by Shakespeare and Others (2013) and he has published widely on the history of the Shakespeare Apocrypha and contemporary Shakespearean performance. His interest is in the intersection between textual, performance and media cultures.




Notes on contributors 



Shakespeare and the digital world: Introduction 

Christie Carson and Peter Kirwan 


Part I Defining current digital scholarship and practice: Shakespeare research in the digital age 


1 Shakespeare in the digital humanities 

John Lavagnino 

2 Getting back to the library, getting back to the body 

Bruce R. Smith 

3 Sensing the past: Tablets and early modern scholarship 

Farah Karim-Cooper 

4 Webs of engagement 

David McInnis 


Part II Defining current digital scholarship and practice: Shakespeare pedagogy and the digital age 


5 Internal and external Shakespeare: Constructing the twenty-first-century classroom 

Erin Sullivan 

6 Shakespeare at a distance 

Sarah Grandage and Julie Sanders 

7 ‘All great Neptune’s ocean’: iShakespeare and play in a transatlantic context 

Sheila T. Cavanagh and Kevin A. Quarmby 

8 ‘From the table of my memory’: Blogging Shakespeare in/ out of the classroom 

Peter Kirwan 


Half-time: A pause for reflection 

9 All’s well that ends Orwell 

Sharon O’Dair 


Part III Redefining the boundaries and practices of Shakespeare studies online: Publishing and academic identity 


10 Unlocking scholarship in Shakespeare studies: Gatekeeping, guardianship and open-access journal publication 

Eleanor Collins 

11 Living with digital incunables, or a ‘good-enough’ Shakespeare text 

Katherine Rowe 

12 Shakespeare in virtual communities 

Peter Holland 

13 Gamekeeper or poacher? Personal blogging/ public sharing 

Sylvia Morris 


Part IV Redefining the boundaries and practices of Shakespeare studies online: Communication and performance 


14 Changing a culture with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: Championing freedom and democracy 

Paul Edmondson and A. J. Leon 

15 Developing a digital strategy: Engaging audiences at Shakespeare’s Globe 

Ryan Nelson 

16 The impact of new forms of public performance 

Stephen Purcell 

17 Creating a critical model for the twenty-first century 

Christie Carson 


Conclusion: Digital dreaming 

Christie Carson and Peter Kirwan 




SHAKSPER’s Future: Looking for Volunteers for SHAKSPER Features and Assistant/Associate Editors

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.251  Wednesday, 28 May 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Subject:     SHAKSPER’s Future: Looking for Volunteers for SHAKSPER Features and Assistant/Associate Editors


Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers,


SHAKSPER has been a part of my life for 25 years, and for all but the first year and a half I have been its editor/moderator. I have no plans to step down at any time in the near future, but I would like to leave it in good hands when I do. Increasingly, I am also pursuing other interests, academic and non-academic.


Currently, SHAKSPER is being “hosted” by Ron Severdia (who designed the new web presence) on the sever, so even if I am hit by a bus tomorrow, SHAKSPER will still exist. Tanya Gough, who designed the SHAKSPER Facebook page, is an administrator of it, so it too will continue to exist. If something were to happen to me, I have two advisory boards that I hope will decide if SHAKSPER is still viable and will seek a person or persons to continue its work.


I am increasingly aware that as much as I might wish otherwise I cannot do all that I would like to keep SHAKSPER up-to-date.


In particular, I am concerned with the future of some of the scholarly resources on the web site. I don’t feel as if I have the energy to work with them since I want to spend my scholarly time working other projects, some longstanding, but I feel them sufficiently important to warrant that some of them be updated or continued if possible. 


I am currently seeking volunteers to take responsibility for some of these with the long-term view of perhaps finding a successor among these volunteers. My younger daughter has one more year of college, and I plan to be taking breaks, some long and for which I will not have computer access. So at some point, I would like to train one or more persons to who might be able to take over from me during my absences, but let me not get ahead of myself.


Shakespeare on the Internet Guide has not been updated in about five years. Someone has been recruited to update it and its links and will be working on it this summer: <>


Shakespeare Spinoffs/Character Bibliography: These lists (found in the Reference files section of Scholarly Resources) were very popular during the early days of SHAKSPER but have not been updated since around the late 1990s. Someone has shared her up-to-date list of similar titles with me to be combined with the existing lists, but she is not interested in undertaking that task herself. Is there anyone who would volunteer to combine the older Spinoffs and Character bibliographies with the new one I have. This actually is a fun job if anyone has the time or interest. <>


Shakespeare Plays and Festivals: I started this last summer from available resources. When I was a contributing editor to the Shakespeare Newsletter I compiled a similar list for some years. Is there anyone who is interested in updating this list for this year? <>


Pedagogy: Teaching Resources: At present, this section of the web site contains only resources that I have used or made available. Pedagogy is a hot topic. I would like to recruit someone as an Assistant Editor who would be in charge of developing further this section of the web site: <> Is anyone interested?


The SHAKSPER Book Reviews has been fallow for sometime now through no one’s fault. There is a Book Review Panel and I am looking for anyone who might wish to take the initiative and revitalize it. If the person would be interested in a limited commitment that is fine, but someone is interested in a long-term commitment of more than a year, I would offer the position as an assistant editor.


SHAKSPER Roundtable Discussions: I found these very interesting at the time but they did involve a tremendous amount of work. Again, if anyone is interested either for a single Roundtable or to act as an assistant editor in charge of this area, pleases let me know. <>


New assistant professors or graduate students are obvious choices to volunteer for these tasks, but everyone is busy with one thing or another and SHAKSPER is probably not as “sexy” as other activities. I hope that I am wrong and these inquires will bring some new blood to SHAKSPER.


I appreciate greatly any thoughts or responses of the members.




Managing Director - Job Opening

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.245  Saturday, 24 May 2014


From:        Jesse Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         May 24, 2014 at 11:14:35 AM EDT

Subject:    Managing Director - Job Opening


Dear Friends and Colleagues,


We are looking for a fantastic new Managing Director of Red Bull Theater.  


The job description is attached.  Please feel free to apply if it’s right for you or forward to anyone you know who might be interested.  



Jesse Berger

Artistic Director

Red Bull Theater

O: 212-343-7394 


Click to support more great classic stories Off-Broadway.


Job Description:  pdf  Red Bull Theater Manager


Garrick and Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.242  Wednesday, 21 May 2014


From:        Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         May 20, 2014 at 5:38:33 PM EDT

Subject:    Garrick and Shakespeare


SHAKSPERians with access to London might be interested in the conference ‘Garrick and Shakespeare’ at Kingston University next month. The programme is as follows.


Gabriel Egan







JUNE 25-27 2014








Actor, manager, playwright, versifier, philosophical correspondent: David Garrick excelled in many parts, and was possibly both the most praised and vilified cultural figure of his age. Authors whose plays he rejected and performers he refused to employ were certainly not sparing in their attacks. ‘Garrick and Shakespeare’ will therefore not only focus on his achievements as a Shakespeare interpreter and impresario, but also re-examine Garrick’s controversial reputation, unprecedented celebrity status, and enduring influence as an arts administrator.





Wednesday June 25 2014 7pm

The Rose Theatre



Followed by a drinks reception


Thursday June 26 9.30am

The Rose Theatre


MICHAEL DOBSON (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

‘The Memory of Garrick and the Dream of a National Theatre’


10-30am: Coffee





Subhajit Sen Gupta: ‘History Undone: Garrick’s Revision of Macbeth’


Varsha Panjwani: ‘Shakespeare and Garrick as Collaborators: The Two Noble Kinsmen and The Clandestine Marriage’


James Harriman-Smith: ‘”Why can I not see you act the terrible passages of this admirable tragedy!”: David Garrick and Jean-Francois Ducis’


1pm: Lunch Break





Ewan Fernie: ‘Garrick, Liberty, Germany’


Leslie Ritchie: ‘The Anonymous David Garrick’


Patricia Philippy: ‘The Poet in Stone: Garrick’s Temple and Southwark Cathedral’


Garrick’s Temple, Hampton

4.30pm: Tea

5pm: A Musical Entertainment

7.30pm: The Teddington Players: The Celebrated Mr Garrick


Friday June 27 9.30am


NORMA CLARKE (Kingston University)

‘All Grub Street was Preparing its Advice’


10.30am: Coffee





David Worrall: ‘Garrick and Noise: Auditorium Disturbances at Drury Lane’


Georgina Lock: 'Conversations with the Town: Garrick's Prologues, Epilogues and Afterpieces'


Melanie Bigold: 'Garrick’s Shakespeare Marginalia'


1pm: Lunch Break





Irene Morra: ‘Garrick, Shakespeare, and Opera’


Omaya Ibrahim Khalifa: ‘Adaptations of The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Garrick, AlQady and Ghazy’


Rob Gossedge: ‘Garrick’s Masque of King Arthur’


Will Summers: ‘Music, landscape, dance: Garrick’s role’


4pm: Tea




PETER HOLLAND (University of Notre Dame)

‘A Critic, A Gentleman, and Two Jubilees’



Conference Dinner:

Strada Restaurant, Kingston-upon-Thames


9.00pm: Film World Premiere:

The Rose Theatre

Miss in Her Teens starring Simon Callow


For further information and registration:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+44 (0)20 8417 9000 x 628


Closure of the Institute of English Studies

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.241  Wednesday, 21 May 2014


From:         Henry Woudhuysen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:          May 20, 2014 at 4:48:43 PM EDT 

Subject:     Closure of the Institute of English Studies


Dear All


You may have heard about the proposed closure of the Institute of English Studies which is part of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. The attached document gives a little more background. A Steering Group to oppose this has been set up, co-chaired by Professor Anne Varty (Head of the Department of English at Royal Holloway University of London) and Professor Gordon Campbell, DLitt, FBA (Professor of Renaissance Studies at Leicester University). The Steering Group (of which I am a member) has set up a website at in the form of a petition calling for this decision to be stopped. I am attaching a brief document that gives some further information on the subject and some links that may be of interest. We very much hope that you will be able to give us your support by signing the petition, by writing to the Vice-Chancellor and by passing this message on to interested parties.


Yours faithfully

Henry Woudhuysen


On behalf of the Save the IES Steering Group



Professor Anne Varty (Head of the Department of English Royal Holloway University of London)

Professor Gordon Campbell DLitt, FBA (Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester)



The Institute of English Studies and the University of London’s ‘Recommendation’


On Thursday, 15 May 2014, Professor Roger Kain, the Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, announced ‘the University’s formal response to the news that HEFCE funding for SAS will be cut by 3% with effect from 2014–15’. This response had been decided on the previous day by the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group (VCEG) who recommended ‘a concentration of funding into a smaller number of institutes’. In effect, part of the academic activity of the Institute of English Studies (IES) will be merged with the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) to create a centre for Palaeography and the History of the Book; part will be merged with the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) to create a centre for Comparative Literature; and the Science and Music activity of the Institute of Musical Research (IMR) will be merged with the Institute of Philosophy’s Centre for the Study of the Senses. Although this document is concerned with the IES, the future of the IMR is also a matter of deep concern.


The VCEG is an administrative, non-academic body that reached its decision about the IES without consulting those involved in the Institute’s work or those representing English as a very large national and international subject community. The decision is sudden, arbitrary, and ill-thought out. Interviews for the post of the new Director of the IES had been scheduled for 7 May and were cancelled at the last minute.


The IES was founded in 1999 but dates back to the Centre for English Studies which was created in 1991. Part of the Institute’s mission is to ‘Promote advanced study and research in English Studies in the wider national and international academic community’. It has consistently fulfilled this aim: by organizing conferences (currently 25 each year) and seminar series (currently, around 40, with at least 6 sessions each year); by a non-stipendiary visiting fellowships programme (12 visitors a year); and by collaborations with some 60 organizations and societies. It also runs the T. S. Eliot International Summer School and the London Rare Books School and Palaeography Summer School. In the recent past, it has raised around £5m, and has been the home to major projects with partners such as the AHRC, the British Library, OUP, and Faber. The projects include: editions of Francis Bacon, John Ford, and T.S. Eliot; the Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts, 1450-1700; digital projects relating to medieval MSS; The Irish Book in the 20th Century; the Reading Experience Database; The History of OUP; and other projects on writing, publishing and scholarly editing, including A Publishing and Communications History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-45. In addition, the IES established a pioneering MA in the History of the Book. The Institute’s work is clearly carried out at national and international levels.


If the VCEG’s recommendations are accepted, much of this activity will cease, not least its vital role in training younger scholars. What is proposed is a direct assault on the value and integrity of the Institute and of English studies as a discipline. Book History will not find its natural home in the IHR: in the UK, Historical Bibliography is a core discipline within English Studies. Nor will a Centre for Comparative Literature in the IMLR (which rightly has its own sense of that subject) accommodate the vast range of Research Seminar activity in English Language and Literature. Almost all of what has been most valuable in the IES’s work during the last quarter century or so will disappear.


Those who object to the recommendation can seek to stop or delay it: by writing to Professor Smith (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – a specimen form of words is available via the petition website; by raising the issue with their Universities, Faculties, and Departments and with subject groups and learned societies; by responding to Matthew Reisz’s article on the subject in the THE (; by using social media(#saveIES); and by signing a petition at .


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