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BSA 2023 Conference: ‘Re-locating Shakespeare’ (University of Liverpool, 25th – 28th July 2023)


The British Shakespeare Association is delighted to announce that our next conference will take place at the University of Liverpool, Tuesday 25th – Friday 28th July 2023, organised by Dr Esme Miskimmin (University of Liverpool) and Professor Elspeth Graham (Liverpool John Moores University).

In Shakespeare’s lifetime, and in the four hundred years since the relocation of his plays from stage to page in the First Folio, his work has had a sustained and varied life in multiple geographical and theoretical locations through print, performance, research and education. More importantly, perhaps, there has been a concomitant narrative of ‘relocation’ associated with Shakespeare. The physical journeys of his works and their performers, including the visits of Lord Strange’s Men to the Northwest in the late sixteenth-century, performers who used the plays for colonialist and imperialist purposes overseas, or the arrival of Ira Aldridge, the ‘Black Roscius’ at the Liverpool docks in 1824, attest to a constant geographical relocation of Shakespeare and his performers. There have also always been sustained theoretical re-locations of Shakespeare in relation to changing contexts and prevailing critical, socio-historical and theatrical perspectives. Most recently, the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley has relocated performances and narratives of Shakespeare in the Northwest of England.

This conference will seek to explore the geographical, temporal and semantic ‘Re-locations’ of Shakespeare, looking again at the place(s) of his works and reassessing them through the wider contexts of performance, print, translation, teaching and research. Possible focuses could include (but are very much not limited to):

  • Notions of location, locating and re-locating within Shakespeare, including explorations of travel, exile, pilgrimage and direction.
  • Claiming and ‘owning’ locations, including colonial and postcolonial re/appropriations.
  • The cartographies of Shakespeare – the mapping / remapping, navigation and ‘discovery’ of locations.
  • Re-locating through the imagination and / or the virtual:  the movement from the ‘wooden O’ to the ‘vasty fields of France’ or the virtual Dover cliff; online performances.
  • Re-locating through translation and adaptation, including dramatic, musical, operatic and fictional adaptations.
  • Location / Re-location in the teaching of Shakespeare – where and how pupils and students experience Shakespeare.
  • Voluntary and / or forced relocations – in Shakespeare’s texts, or for pedagogical or political uses.
  • Re-locating perspectives (critical, pedagogical or performative) in relation to cultural and social changes, disability and LGBTQ+
  • Relocating in times of pandemic (from the touring circuit outside of London during the plagues and beyond, to the internet during covid).
  • ‘What do they in the North?’ (RIII 4.4.398): Implications / connotations arising from a specifically ‘northern’ Shakespeare.
  • Re-locating Shakespeare’s work in understandings of literary / theatrical / critical canons, in the light of any of the above (or any other types of ‘re-locations’).

At this time we are seeking proposals for seminars and workshops. The deadline for submissions is 1st August 2022. The conference will be predominantly in-person, but we will live-stream plenaries and are open to including virtual seminars and workshops in the programme, so please indicate the preferred format for your seminar or workshop.

Workshop: Please submit a proposed title, 250-word description of the workshop’s aims, focus, and scope, together with a brief bio of the workshop leader.

Seminar: Please submit a proposed title, 250-word description of the seminar’s focus and the types of paper contributions that it seeks to invite from contributors and a brief bio of the seminar leader.

Please visit https://www.britishshakespeare.ws/conference/ to learn more about what these session formats entail.

Please send your seminar and workshop submissions to the organisers, Dr Esme Miskimmin and Professor Elspeth Graham at the conference address by 1st August:

british.shakespeare.conference[at]gmail.com

If you have any questions about submissions or the conference, please contact the conference organisers:

Dr Esme Miskimmin or Professor Elspeth Graham

Arrangements are currently being made by the organisers to facilitate options for other conference formats, submissions for which will open after the deadline for seminar and workshop submissions passes.

On 8th August, after we publish a list of seminar and workshops, we will open submissions for other conference session formats (i.e. 20-minute papers, paper panels, roundtables, and Early Career Researcher posters).

This announcement is also available in PDF format.

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