All three papers this year examined Shakesepare along the common theme of ownership, be it through the interconnectedness of an online community experiencing Shakespeare's plays, the personal discoveries found in archival research or the idea of Shakespeare as a 'European' rather than an 'English' playwright.
The Year of Shakespeare
Dr Erin Sullivan (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham) and Dr Paul Prescott (University of Warwick).
A joint paper that outlined the achievements of 'The Year of Shakespeare', an online forum connected to the World Shakespeare Festival of 2012.
This forum allowed Shakespeare scholars, students and enthusiasts from around the world to connect with one another and discuss the international performances constituting the WSF. The paper looked at the origins of Shakespeare festivals, the ways in which Shakespeare was used as cultural capitol during London's Olympic bid - and Olympics themselves - and the ways in which the WSF either challenged or supported the idea of Shakespeare as a symbol of 'Englishness' abroad.
The Use of Archives in Literary and Historical Research
Dr Paul Botley (University of Warwick).
Our second spearker of the year led a round table discussion which included a brief presentation on the practicalities of archival research before mvoing on to cover persoanl experiences of using archives. The disucssion was truly interdisciplinary, fostering an exchange of information between students of History and English.
Why Celebrate Shakesepare?
Professor Ewan Fermie (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)
Our final paper of the year used 18th century German Romanticism to explore the civic and political possibilitities offered by Garrick's 1769 Jubilee. Professor Fernie drew special attention to Gerrick's Ode, before establishing parallels between the resurgence of European interest in Shakespeare in the wake of the 1769 Jubilee, the 2012 international celebrations of Shakespeare and the efforts to have Shakespeare adopted as European poet laureate.
Professor Fernie offered another fascinating and different view of the complicated issue of Shakespeare's international identidy.