Reports from the Hull BSA Conference
20th September 2016
This post has been prepared as an archive of the 2016 BSA Conference at the University of Hull. Enjoy!
Death, Life, and Afterlives
- Susan Bassnett (University of Warwick), ‘Shakespeare and Translation’
- Stuart Sillars, ‘Shakespeare Illustration and Interpretation’
- Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex), ‘Shakespeare’s Equivocations’
- Michael Neill (University of Auckland), ‘Peremptory Nullification’: Death and King Lear
- Claudia Olk (Free University of Berlin), ‘Shakespeare’s Endgames’
- Barrie Rutter (Northern Broadsides), ‘Northern Voices: Performing Classical Work in Non-Velvet Spaces’
- Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford), ‘Shakespeare: Playwright and Ballad-Monger’
- Richard Wilson (Kingston University), ‘Wheel of Fire: Memory, Mourning and Memorial Theatre’
Award Ceremony for the BSA Honorary Fellowships 2016
- Ann Thompson, Emeritus Professor, King’s College London
- John Barton, Emeritus Director and Co-Founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Book Launch of Inspired by Shakespeare
- Katarzyna Burzyńska
- Abraham Davies
- Gabriella Edelstein
- Wael Ellouz
- Michael Graham
- Shawna Guenther
- Ronan Hatfull
- Florence Hazrat
- Jeremy Johnson
- Sabrina Laskowska-Hinz
- Gemma Miller
- José A. Perez Diez
- Eva Spisiakova
- Peter Sutton
- Miranda Fay Thomas
By clicking on the highlighted names in this list, you can read the award-holder’s report on the conference. The reports are accompanied by photos taken throughout the event.
Conference Reports and Photos
I am a young PhD holder at the AMU Faculty of English in Poznań, Poland. I was awarded the British Shakespeare Association bursary for the costs incurred during the conference in Hull in September 2016. At the time of the conference I only worked part time at my university in Poland and because of that could not apply for a full refund of the conference costs. So the bursary turned out to be a great help. It definitely helped me cover the costs of travelling in the UK. Both travel and stay in the UK are quite costly for a young researcher from Poland so I am very grateful I was selected. The conference itself was a very inspiring and thought-provoking academic gathering. I met many interesting scholars who gave me very valuable feedback on my research. What is also very important to me is the fact that I managed to advertise the European Shakespeare Research Association conference in Gdańsk in July 2017. I will be co-convening one of the seminars during the conference and the BSA conference enabled me to present my seminar to other Shakespeare scholars and invite them to Gdańsk.
I wish to thank the British Shakespeare Association for granting me a bursary to attend this year’s conference in Hull. The bursary helped to compensate for the weak Canadian dollar as I travelled to and within England. My intention in presenting a paper and attending the panels and plenaries of the BSA conference was to position myself within the, specifically, Renaissance Studies academic community. I am eager to prove myself professionally and to construct a network of colleagues (I even met a few of my “idols”). My attendance at the conference was entirely enjoyable. I not only met scholars with whom I can now communicate and collaborate, but I was made to realize the importance of co-operating with those in other disciplines, and with educators, theatre theorists and practitioners, and non-academic contributors. Further, the collegial atmosphere of the conference was a welcome change from some of the competitively abrasive environments of other academic conferences I have recently attended. Thank you. I look forward to the 2018 BSA Conference.
I am currently a doctoral student in Translation studies, working with Czech and Slovak versions of Shakespeare’s sonnets as my main corpus. While I receive support in everything related to the sociolinguistic aspects of this research, I am rarely offered feedback on the parts of my work that relate to Shakespeare and English renaissance in general. Shakespearean conferences and particularly one as large as this year’s BSA are of invaluable importance in having my project critically evaluated in a friendly and open environment, and in creating a network with other students and professionals I otherwise would not have a chance to meet. My own presentation received extremely helpful and constructive feedback with several intriguing conversations following it in the next few days of the conference. In addition to that, I exchanged contacts with several other Shakespearean scholars working with Czech and Slovak languages and that I would not be able to find without this opportunity. The 2016 BSA conference surprised me with a large number of participants as well as the level of professionalism with which it was organised, and yet it never lost the personal and very inviting atmosphere that Shakespearean conferences always have.
I participated at this year’s British Shakespeare Association Conference, held at the University of Hull, in three ways. Firstly, I presented a paper on the work of pedagogic rapper Devon Glover and his work, which adapts Shakespeare’s sonnets into rap music, second as a poet, reading my winning entry in the BSA’s Inspired by Shakespeare publication and, finally, in a seminar on ‘Intertextual Shakespeare’, where I discussed my doctoral research into the history and evolution of the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
The conference was invaluable to this research, offering my ideas exposure to leading experts in the field of adaptation and translation studies, and forging new connections with academics such as Susan Bassnett and Jeffrey Robert Wilson. My understanding of the term ‘adaptation’ was itself reconfigured by Bassnett’s illuminating plenary on ‘Shakespeare and Translation’.
The feedback received on the Devon Glover paper was indispensable to my interest in publishing this work in future journals and pursuing it more widely after completing my PhD. Similarly, the discussion as part of the seminar reinvigorated my central ideas about the Reduced Shakespeare Company, particularly Wilson’s encouragement to look more deeply into notions of Shakespearean ‘fan fiction’. This was, in short, the best organised and most efficiently run conference I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. I cannot recommend it highly enough to PhD students aspiring to a career in academia.
I am extremely grateful to the BSA for generously offering me a graduate bursary to attend this year’s conference in Hull. The panels were rich and diverse, allowing me to locate my research in current developments: particularly papers on music in Shakespeare offered fruitful new insights and permitted me to participate in lively discussions. Preparation for my own paper helped me to crystallize the argument of one of my PhD chapters, which will stand me in good stead when articulating a book proposal based on my thesis. Both during and after the conference, I had ample opportunity to discuss my work with established scholars, inspiring new possible angles, as well as spreading knowledge about my field of interest. The conference created a relaxed but focussed atmosphere in which to liase and make contacts with both scholars both known and unknown. The mixture of young and established scholars produced a dynamic and generous framework in which I felt happy to approach people and be approached. The conference has definitely assisted me in creating chances for further cooperation. It was also key in securing me a contribution to The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Music to which Professor Christopher Wilson invited me, based on my conference proposal. During the conference, we had the opportunity to touch base and discuss the chapter, which has sharpened and nuanced my writing of it.
José A. Pérez Díez
The year 2016 has been incredibly rich and productive in terms of the quality and the sheer number of academic symposia and conferences in offer all around the world, and indeed in the United Kingdom. I have attended many of them, though it has been impossible—financially and logistically—to make it to all the ones I really wanted to attend. The high registration fees charged at some particular conferences have meant that economic means had to be stretched to make the most of the ephemerides. Financial limitations are particularly troublesome for an early career researcher such as myself, with a family to look after. The research allowance granted very generously by my institution, the University of Leeds, has enabled me to take part in some very fine academic events this year, but it had run out by the time the BSA conference was due to happen. It was with enormous gratitude that I received one of the bursaries offered to postgraduate students and early career researchers by the British Shakespeare Association. The BSA conference at the University of Hull was, by far, the most valuable, enjoyable, and intellectually stimulating conference that I have attended this year. The enormous quality of the plenary sessions, the very high standards of the individual panels, and the characteristically warm hospitality of Yorkshire made the BSA conference 2016 an unforgettable occasion.
This was my first experience of a BSA conference and I found the experience both rewarding and enjoyable. I chaired a panel on the Friday morning and presented a paper on the Saturday morning, as well as attending numerous plenaries, panels and informal gatherings. A truly international event, the conference provided me with a valuable opportunity to meet and talk with people from institutions across the globe. This included PhD students in a similar situation to me, with whom I was able to share experiences of supervision, research and writing-up. But more importantly, it enabled me to meet academics whose work I had followed and admired for several years. My own panel was extremely well attended, and there was a wonderful synergy to the three papers being presented. This meant that the question and answer session was constructive for all of us, and I particularly benefitted from the expertise of some extremely experienced audience members, whose observations were invaluable for my ongoing research. Since the conference I have been in contact with a number of new contacts via email and look forward to meeting up with them again at the next available opportunity. Thank you to the BSA for enabling me to enrich my studies and make some exciting new contacts and friends.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone on the British Shakespeare Association committee for their generosity in providing me with a bursary to attend this year’s conference. It was a truly wonderful conference which allowed so many people from different walks of life and with varying interests to meet and discuss Shakespeare in a friendly, welcoming and well-organised environment. It was a particular thrill for me to present at a BSA conference as it was in Stirling two years ago that I finalised my PhD proposal with my supervisor at what was my first conference that I had ever attended. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many like-minded academics not only those with established careers, but also those contemporary with me with whom I could discuss ideas about my PhD and the future of academia. It was inspiring not only to attend so many varied papers, but also to take part in workshops and watch live performances and recitals. The conference reminds us all that Shakespeare is both a dramatist of the page and stage. My thesis looks at Jonson in both these contexts, and it was wonderful to be able to hear about both of these aspects of reception. The conference also inspired me to visit Hull next year for their City of Culture programme. Thank you once again and I look forward to 2018!
Miranda Fay Thomas
This year’s British Shakespeare Association conference was the first one I had been to, and I was so impressed by the experience that I am already looking forward to returning in 2017. The bursary to attend the conference gave me the opportunity to present my research to a variety of academics in my field, who offered excellent advice and thoughtful questions. There was a very collegiate feeling among all the delegates – one of the keynote speakers approached me after my paper to give further comments! – and it certainly helped me develop my ideas and confidence as an early career researcher. The 2016 BSA conference gave me the opportunity to consider new research questions, with the variety of panels and plenaries on offer, as well as allowing me to meet both graduate students and established academics and discuss future work as well as exchange professional advice. It also allowed me to see a production of the rarely-performed Mucedorus for the first time in my life: an invaluable theatrical experience which will inspire me to continue my interest in Shakespeare and his contemporaries from a practice-based stance.