The University of Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. The University continues this tradition today and has ambitions for a future that will embed its work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.
The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, founded by the University of Birmingham in 1951, is one of the world hubs of Shakespearean study. Since its foundation it has been the host of the biennial, invitation only International Shakespeare Conference.
Teaching masters and doctoral courses in Stratford and undergraduate courses in Birmingham, the Institute’s staff research, teach and supervise on a wide range of topics, such as the drama and theatre of Shakespeare’s period; aspects of early modern literature and culture; and the ways in which Shakespeare’s creativity continues to stimulate the creativity of others.
Institute personnel also play significant roles in many international Shakespeare organisations, with places on the boards of the British Shakespeare Association, the European Shakespeare Research Association, and the Institute-based annual Shakespeare Survey.
The Shakespeare Institute enjoys close and developing relations with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and, beyond Stratford-upon-Avon, the new Library of Birmingham.
The Institute is housed in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century buildings which retain their domestic atmosphere, providing a unique working environment. It has its own purpose-built world-class research library, run by a team of expert librarians, and regularly plays host to a range of prestigious events, including the biggest postgraduate conference in Shakespeare studies. A host of major
Shakespearean projects are also based in whole or in part in the building, including the Oxford Shakespeare, the Shakespeare Survey, the Shakespeare Now! and Palgrave Shakespeare Studies series, the Arden Early Modern Drama and Shakespeare Performance Editions, and the first comprehensive catalogue of all British Renaissance drama.
The Institute also enjoys a vibrant research culture. Its Thursday seminars bring a wide range of visiting speakers and inspire focused and varied academic conversation about Shakespeare. It is also home to the Shakespeare Institute Players – a dramatic society for the Institute’s postgraduate students – whose productions bring Shakespeare’s work to life.