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Renaissance Centre Alumni: Career Paths and Current Interests

Former Renaissance Centre MA and PhD students are now pursuing careers in academia (in the UK and abroad), the publishing industry, theatre and book trade to name but a few ...

Ovanes Akopyan

I received my BA, MA, and Candidate of Sciences degrees from Lomonosov Moscow State University before moving to the University of Warwick to do my PhD in Renaissance Studies under the supervision of Dr Maude Vanhaelen and Dr Paul Botley. My thesis, “Controversies on Astrology in Renaissance Italy (late 15th and early 16th centuries)”, provides for the first time a comprehensive study of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem and its immediate reception. More ...

Akopyan, Ovanes

Stella Fletcher

I am a product of the University of Warwick’s distinctive emphasis on Italian Renaissance history: my undergraduate studies included a term in Venice and my doctoral thesis, on Venetian cardinals in Rome between 1471 and 1492, was supervised by Professor Michael Mallett. From 1991 to 1993 I was attached to Warwick’s European Humanities Research Centre and acted as Professor Mallett’s research assistant. I have been an Associate Fellow of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance since 2002. In that capacity I compiled much of the material relating the correspondence and correspondents of Lorenzo de’ Medici which may be found elsewhere on this website. In 2009 I maintained my Warwick connection by giving a paper at the convegno held in Venice in memory of Professor Mallett. More ...

Stalla Fleetcher

Lawrence Green

Having completed my B.A. at Leeds University in 1965 my first contact with Warwick University was in the School of English where I completed my M.A. in 1977. I subsequently completed my Ph.D. at the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) in 1999 with a thesis on Shakespeare’s Second Tetralogy. When I retired from full-time teaching (selective secondary) I decided to do a second M.A. in the Culture of the European Renaissance at Warwick in the Renaissance Centre in 2000-2001. More ...

Green, Lawrence

Anna Gruber

I currently work in the sales department of Octopus Books, the illustrated non fiction branch of Hachette UK. Graduating from my Masters in 2011, I spent about six months in various work experience placements in the publishing industry, where I could learn a bit more about different departments and publishing houses. I ended up in the Sales department of Octopus because I really enjoyed the busy nature of the department, and the interaction with clients an customers on a daily basis appealed. Being in Sales also gives me the opportunity to travel a little more, and not be completely chained to my desk. It can be a demanding role, and there are daily problem solving tasks, usually involving missing orders. I really enjoy these! It is also a very analytical role, and there is a lot of research - not quite MA standard - but I have found myself using some of the tricks and skills I learnt during my Master's year. Spreadsheets are key! I am planning to move on to a more mixed bag of titles, when the opportunity presents itself. I would love to work with fiction as well as non fiction, and academic texts as well as more mass market titles. I do miss my university life, but I know there is always the option to return to studying in the future. Certainly one of the greatest lessons I took away from the Center for the Study of the Renaissance was that you are never too old to develop new passions and interests. Email:

Anna Gruber

Ken Hope

I was a very mature student when I took the part time MA course in the mid 90s. (I reached State Pension age at that time). My reason for taking the course was to give me an immediate interest when I suddenly stopped a fairly busy working life. I had no intention of putting the resulting studies into any practical direction. One benefit however is that I now have even greater enjoyment when going to the theatre, which I do when ever I can.


Lisa Hopkins

Lisa did the MA in English and European Renaissance Drama 1983-4 and then a PhD on John Ford 1984-6, is now Professor of English and Head of the Graduate School at Sheffield Hallam University. She is co-editor of Shakespeare, the journal of the British Shakespeare Association (link) and of the Continuum Renaissance Drama Guides (link) and has published widely on Marlowe, Shakespeare and Ford. Recent books include: 'Shakespearean Allusion in Crime Fiction: DCI Shakespeare' (Palgrave, 2016), 'Renaissance Drama on the Edge' (Ashgate, 2014), 'Drama and the Succession to the Crown, 1561-1633' (Ashgate, 2011) (link). Lisa is also now co-organiser of the annual Othello’s Island conference: and is co-ordinating some work on the Literary Cultures of the Cavendish family:

 Lisa Hopkins

Ioanna Iordanou

Ioanna completed her PhD in Renaissance Studies (2008) and her MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance (2002) at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. After the confirmation of her PhD, she pursued further post-graduate qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring, which inspired her to explore leadership and management from a historical perspective. Her current research, spanning the disciplines of Economic and Business History, Organisation Studies and Business Education, explores the complex role of intelligence and espionage in early modern economies and the emergence of proto-modern organisations in the pre-industrial world. She also investigates the pedagogic impact of History on Business Education. She is currently writing a monograph entitled Venice's Secret Service: Intelligence Organisation in the Renaissance. As of April 2015, she has been a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Oxford Brookes University and as of January 2016, she has been an Associate Editor of Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice.

Iordanou, Ioanna

Harbeena Lalli

I graduated from the University of Warwick in 2011 with a Masters in ‘The Culture of the European Renaissance’. Studying at the internationally renowned Centre for Renaissance Studies at Warwick influenced my decision to marry my deep interest in cultural heritage and pursuing a professional career at the National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity. Choosing the Centre for Renaissance Studies and the course was easy; the interdisciplinary nature of the taught MA is unrivalled and the Centre consistently delivers excellent results in its research and teaching quality. In addition, the Centre draws on the expertise from a range of leading Renaissance experts and collaborates with other equally renowned institutions and organisations such as the Warburg Institute in London, Ca’Foscari in Venice, the British Library and the National Trust. More ...

 Lalli, Harbeena

Chi-fang Sophia Li

I completed my PhD in Renaissance Studies at Centre for the Study of the Renaissance in January 2009. My PhD thesis is titled 'Thomas Dekker and Chaucerian Re-Imaginings', a double project that offers a new scholarly biography of Thomas Dekker (c. 1572-1632) and demonstrates the ways in which he refashions his principal source, Geoffrey Chaucer, in theatrical terms. This research considers Dekker in both literary and theatre histories and situates Dekker among his collaborators, among them, Henry Chettle, Michael Drayton, Anthony Munday, Thomas Middleton, and John Webster. More ...

 Chi Fang-Sophia Li_in_venice

Sara Miglietti

In 2012, fresh from a PhD in Philosophy from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the Université Paris Descartes, Sara took the slightly crazy decision of embarking on a second PhD in Renaissance Studies at Warwick. It quickly turned out to be the best decision she could ever have made. Sara graduated from Warwick in 2016 after three deeply enriching years during which she was the grateful recipient of a DARO scholarship, funded by the Warwick alumni. She is now an Assistant Professor of French Renaissance Literature at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA)--but she still finds countless excuses to return to Warwick whenever she can. With Professor Ingrid De Smet, Dr David Lines, and Dr Eugenio Refini, she is one of the leaders of the "Antiquity and Its Uses" collaborative project between Warwick's Renaissance Centre and Hopkins's Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe. Since 2016, this project has brought several Warwick PhD students and staff members to Hopkins, and vice versa, for week- and month-long visits that have strengthened the ties between the two institutions. Sara hopes that this will be the start of a long and fruitful partnership between her alma mater and her new institutional home.  

Hopkins webpage:

Academia webpage: 

Warwick eportfolio (last updated 15.05.15):

 Sara Miglieti

Ben Spiller ~ Artistic director and producer, 1623 theatre company

Ben graduated from the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance in 2001 with an MA (Distinction) in Culture of the European Renaissance. While at the centre, he developed his keen interest in Shakespeare by exploring the playwright's work in a European context. Before this, he gained BA (Honours) in Theatre and Performance Studies, also at Warwick, where he was president of the award-winning Drama Society, with whom he acted and directed productions at Warwick Arts Centre and beyond including the National Student Drama Festival. More ...

 Ben Spiller

Diane West

I had a brilliant time at Warwick and really enjoyed my Renaissance Studies MA. We had excellent lectures from both Warwick staff and visiting academics which were stimulating and opened up areas for further study. I learnt a great deal, developed my research skills and extended my interests which have remained with me ever since. I also enjoyed attending conferences which were not only full of fascinating information, they also brought the opportunity to make contacts and immerse myself in the academic world. I am still attending lectures and conferences over a decade later. While I was at Warwick, I made the most of the superb sports and arts facilities, as well as the excellent Language Centre; I also attended Italian classes. Of course, the social life was great too! Diane is now Director of her own company, Clarity-Sage Communications (

 west, diane 2

Alexander Winkler

During my postgraduate studies, MA in Classics at the University of Munich, I decided to take an intercalated year in order to embark on the "MA in Culture of the European Renaissance" at Warwick University in 2012-2013 - a decision I can warmly recommend to anybody. The MA at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance offers a precious interdisciplinary approach to Renaissance studies in their multifaceted and intriguingly vast entirety. The sessions of the Core Module provide an efficient survey of the most important aspects of Renaissance culture and whet the appetite to learn more and delve into further research, which can be elaborated through various essays that must be written during the modules. The feedback I received from the supervisors was very knowledgeable, acute and helpful and I right from the beginning had the impression that they really cared about the students’ work. More ...

Alexander Winkler

Leila Zammar

When I first applied to attend a PhD program at the University of Warwick, I was a mature professor around fifty years old, who had a well-built teaching career but was still very curious and willing to learn. I had long dreamt of researching about the set design and staging techniques used to perform early operas (I teach a course on introduction to opera at Loyola University of Chicago JFRC) and Warwick gave me the possibility to fulfil my wishes. I have gained my PhD thanks to professors David Lines and Margaret Shewring, who have been generous and helpful supervisors. I have also found a friendly and supportive atmosphere among the other Renaissance Studies students and its nice Administrator Jayne Brown. My experience at Warwick has proved to be one of the best in my life. I have had the opportunity to widen my scholarly frontiers, make connections with researchers all over the world, writing and sharing articles, participating in and organising conferences. My academia webpage is

Zammer, Leila