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Join our panels at the ‘Shared Futures’ conference!

The BSA invites members – teachers, theatre practitioners, enthusiasts, academics – to participate in a series of three Shakespeare panels we will be running at the Shared Futures conference in Newcastle from 5th to 7th July 2017:

Further details about each panel can be found below, including contact details for each chair (click on the highlighted name). If you would like to take part in a panel, please get in touch!

For more information about the Shared Futures conference, visit:

Why Shakespeare Now?

Chair Susan Anderson

This panel will examine the continuing relevance – or otherwise! – of Shakespeare in literary studies and wider culture. It will consider questions raised by Shakespeare’s continued status as a cornerstone of our shared cultural heritage. For instance, does Shakespeare’s ubiquity help and/or hinder literary studies within education and broader society? What are the ways that the ongoing importance of Shakespeare can be exclusionary and/or inclusive? Is the dominance of Shakespeare a self-sustaining phenomenon or a historical accident? Panelists are invited to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of working with Shakespeare, of what they consider ‘Shakespeare’ to mean, and how and why Shakespeare is useful to them in their professional lives.

Sharing Shakespeare’s Language

Chairs: Alison Findlay, Andrew Jarvis and James Harriman-Smith

AHRC Shakespeare’s Language Project: Jonathan Culpeper, Dawn Archer, Jane Demmen and Sean Murphy

This workshop will study examples of Shakespeare’s language in action in the sixteenth, eighteenth and twenty-first centuries. We will begin by using modern practical drama exercises to explore Shakespeare’s precise use of word sounds, rhythm, pace, as experienced through the embodied human voice today. We will then turn our attention to the past, first with a brief demonstration of how eighteenth-century actors may have worked their way through Shakespeare’s scripts, and then with a look at Shakespeare’s language in its original context of early modern England. This final section will introduce the AHRC funded project on Shakespeare’s Language (Lancaster University) which uses corpus linguistics to illuminate what resonances Shakespeare’s choice of words held for early modern readers, listeners and fellow artists. What associations did each word hold for Shakespeare’s contemporaries? How common or unusual were such words? We will focus particularly on some of the words used in the speeches workshopped in Part I and will suggest ways in which both these techniques could be used by actors, teachers, and academics.

Sharing Futures across Primary, Secondary and University Education

Chairs: Chris Green and Karen Eckersall

This workshop invites participation from teachers of English and drama to share and develop ways of connecting students’ experiences of Shakespeare in primary, secondary and university classrooms. Prospero’s questioning of Miranda, ‘What see’st thou else / In the dark backward and abyss of time?’ prompts us to consider the differences and continuities for students looking back over their educational career, while for primary pupils, encountering Shakespeare’s text is like exploring the ‘brave new world’ of the island for the first time. What can we, as teachers, learn from each others’ experiences and from the multiple perspectives of our students and pupils? Participants are invited to offer examples of work and teaching methods; reflections on how students’ experience of Shakespeare is shaped by their past education, present lives, and future goals; or simply to join the discussion. Since Shakespeare’s future lies with young people, we aim to build networks across educational levels, aware that ‘What’s past is prologue, what to come / In yours and my discharge’ (2.1.249-50).

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