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The Centre's History and Objectives

The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance (CSR) is a large and broadly-based research community with a high international reputation. The CSR is one of few UK organisations to be a member of the Consortium of Renaissance Centers associated with the Newberry Library’s Center for the Renaissance (Chicago), and of FISIER (the Fédération internationale des Sociétés et Instituts pour l’Etude de la Renaissance). Since 2011 it is an Associate Organisation of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), and the CSR consistently enjoys a notable presence at the RSA's annual meetings. Current and past collaborations involve a host of universities and research institutes in the UK (Durham, East Anglia Ruskin, Leeds, Sheffield, The Warburg Institute...) and abroad (Bonn, Ca’Foscari [Venice], Florence, Johns Hopkins, KU Leuven, Paris-IV [Sorbonne], Tours and others).

A bit of history

The interdisciplinary study of the Renaissance has been a strong feature of the University of Warwick since the appointment of the charismatic John Hale (1923-1999) as the founding professor of History in 1964. Strongly supported by his fellow founder, Professor George Hunter (1920-2008) of English and Comparative Literary Studies, Sir John Hale inspired the Graduate School of Renaissance Studies, the forerunner of the present Centre for the Study of the Renaissance.

The historians Professor Michael Mallett (d. 2008, obituary) and Dr Humfrey Butters made Warwick a continuing centre of Florentine Renaissance studies through their editorships of the Lorenzo de’ Medici correspondence, whilst the influence of Venice was sustained by Dr Martin Lowry (d. 2002). The History of Art department, founded in 1974 with Foundation Professor Julian Gardner (now one of our Honorary Professors), strengthened the scholarly links with Italy.

Other ‘early’ Warwick faculty with Renaissance interests have also included such outstanding scholars as Nicholas Mann, Terence Cave, Ronnie Mulryne and Paul Hills.

From 1999-2004 the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance also incorporated the AHRB Centre for the Study of Renaissance Elites and Court Cultures with funding of £1.7 million. This involved Europa Triumphans, a research project on Italian Renaissance élites and the John Nichols project, intended to produce a critical edition of and commentary on The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth (1823), and The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First (1828). The then Director, Professor Mulryne also gained an AHRB Resource Enhancement Grant for the digitisation of the British Library’s incomparable collection of Festival Books, which now features on the British Library’s Treasures in full website. John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I. A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources was seen through the press by Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Elizabeth Clarke, and Jayne Elisabeth Archer. The prize-winning, five-volume set was published by Oxford University Press in January 2014.

An Active Research Community and its objectives

The CSR currently has over thirty members drawn from the academic staff of the departments of Classics; English & Comparative Literature; History; History of Art; and the Schools of Modern Languages & Cultures (especially French and Italian); Theatre, Performance & Cultural Policy Studies; and Cross-Faculty Studies.

The Centre aims to promote learning and research in the history and culture of the Renaissance (broadly defined). It offers a graduate programme (MA and PhD), hosts visiting fellows and postdoctoral researchers, and generally provides opportunities to colleagues within the university and in partnership with academic institutions in Britain and abroad to mount research projects and organise seminars and conferences to advance and stimulate our understanding of the Renaissance’s cultural heritage.

The study of the Italian Renaissance has consistently been a strong feature of the CSR; current researchers in this area include Louise Bourdua, Jonathan Davies, David Lines, Celeste McNamara, Lorenzo Pericolo, Rosa Salzberg, Giorgio Tagliaferro and Maude Vanhaelen. Other colleagues focus on France (Ingrid De Smet, Penny Roberts) or Germany (Beat Kümin), whilst the English Renaissance and Early Modern period is represented by literary specialists and historians, such as Catherine Bates, Paul Botley, Elizabeth Clarke, Teresa Grant, Mark Knights, Peter Mack, Peter Marshall, Paul Prescott and Carol Rutter. Warwick also has early Transatlantic historians in Rebecca Earle and Tim Lockley.

The CSR further embraces Medieval Studies, with colleagues such as Emma Campbell (French), Peter Mack, Christiania Whitehead, and Sarah Wood (English).

Thematically, the CSR promotes research in (but not limited to):

  • religious, political and social history;
  • manuscript studies, print culture and the history of the book;
  • Early Modern thought and intellectual culture (including the history of scholarship and universities; the Classical tradition / reception studies; commentaries; the history of medicine and the history of science);
  • Early modern theatre and performance;
  • the visual arts and the world of artisans, especially in Italy.

Thanks to the breadth and depth of Warwick’s expertise in Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, the Centre has been home to a broad range of research projects with funding from, among others, the AHRC, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the European Science Foundation, the Institut Universitaire de France, the Leverhulme Trust, and Horizon 2020 (including Marie Sklodowska-Curie). Large-scale research initiatives have included the James Shirley project, Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy and Petrarch Commentaries and Exegesis, all three funded by the AHRC, as well as the Leverhulme-funded Renaissance Cultural Crossroads project, which produced a database of Early Modern English translations (1473-1640), and the Leverhulme International Network on Renaissance Conflict and Rivalries: Cultural Polemics in Europe, c. 1400–c. 1650.

The Centre is well-known for its organisation of international conferences and symposia. With sponsorship from Warwick's Humanities Research Centre, the CSR also hosts a well-established series of research seminars (STVDIO), with a listing of national and international speakers.

Graduate provisions

If in the 1970s and 1980s the Centre was known as the "Graduate School in Renaissance Studies", the provision of interdisciplinary graduate programmes is still a prominent feature of its activities.

The Centre offers a taught, interdisciplinary MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance. One of its distinctive features is that it gives postgraduate students the opportunity to spend a full university term in Venice studying the city's art, history and culture. The CSR also accepts postgraduate students for MA (by Research), and MPhil and PhD programmes on both a full-time and part-time basis.

Together with the Warburg Institute, the Centre provides training to doctoral research students at UK universities via the "Warwick-Warburg programme" for 'Resources and Techniques for the Study of Renaissance and Early Modern Culture’. Now self-funding, this programme was set up with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which recognised the Centre and the Warburg Institute as national centres of training for research students.

In collaboration with the Newberry Library (Chicago), for instance, and thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CSR hosted a programme of workshops and summer schools, on "Spaces of the Past" and "Renaissance and Early Modern Communities" for American and British advanced doctoral and early postdoctoral researchers. These initiatives have formed a model for further summer schools and training initiatives across the University.

The CSR and the global community of researchers

The CSR has a very active social media presence (Facebook & Twitter), and sends out a weekly e-bulletin: if you would like to join our international mailing list, please write to


Prof. David Lines (Sep. 2018-

Prof. Ingrid De Smet (Oct 2014-Aug. 2018)

Prof. Beat Kümin (Feb 2014 -Sept 2014)

Dr Maude Vanhaelen (2012-Feb 2014)

Dr Penny Roberts (2010 -2012)

Dr Ingrid De Smet (2007-2010)

Prof. Steve Hindle (2005-2007)

Prof. em. Julian Gardner (2003-2005)

Prof. em. Ronnie Mulryne (until April 2003)

 Vintage Renaissance Graduate School poster

Working with colleagues in the History Department: details of the recent 50th Anniversary Celebrations for their Venice Programme

Tour with Jonathan Davies

Venice Tour with Jonathan Davies