Shakespeare Today: Across Time, Across Disciplines

The London Arts-Based Research Centre


Shakespeare Today: Across Time, Across Disciplines
Birkbeck, University of London
April 28-29, 2023

Call for Papers

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II

William Shakespeare: the bard, the playwright, the poet, the actor. You probably quote him on a regular basis without even knowing it. Celestial bodies are named after some characters in his plays. His name has become a brand for bookstores, coffee shops, toys, and cigars, and has even been dubbed by literary scholar Doug Lanier as “the Coca-Cola of canonical culture.” How relevant is Shakespeare today? And how far has the playwright’s ingenuity resonated across generations and disciplines? The enduring popularity and influence of Shakespeare is a clear testimony to his relevance and contributions to the English language, the arts, and even people’s behaviour. Shakespeare still has a significant presence in contemporary culture, ad is ever-present within fields of art across all genres and disciplines. Looking at the impact of Shakespeare, we see that he has greatly contributed to shaping society in various ways while inspiring a new generation of contemporary artists and filmmakers!

From coining thousands of words in English, to new concepts, grammatical structures, and phrases, Shakespeare had shaped the language we still use everyday (“all’s well that ends well”). He offered timeless themes, and his plays live on again and constantly evolve and remake themselves through modern adaptations in art, theatre, film, and literature, not only because of his fame, but also because of the universality of his themes and characterization.

The conference invites academics, creatives, practitioners, and postgraduate students to look at different interdisciplinary approaches to Shakespeare and the arts and to explore Shakespearean influences in today’s cultural scene. We will look at the interstices between Shakespearean texts and contemporary performances, artwork, literary pieces, music, film, and the ways in which these interact with history, politics and culture.

We welcome 15-minute presentations on topics including (but not limited to):

  • Shakespearean archetypes and universal themes
  • Ideas of space and place
  • “All the world’s a stage”: Shakespearean models in characterization and/or drama
  • Shakespeare as a brand
  • Concepts of dreams and surrealism
  • “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep”: Shakespeare-influenced perceptions of different layers of reality
  • Shakespearean influences in today’s fiction (romance, history, thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.)
  • Innovative ways of teaching Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare and film
  • Shakespearean plays as pedagogic tools
  • Presentation of the environment and climate change
  • “All’s well that ends well”: Words, phrases, and aphorisms
  • “Be not afraid of shadows”: Jungian theory and therapy regarding shadow work
  • The magical and supernatural
  • “Cruel to be kind”: Shakespeare and psychology today
  • Shakespeare in visual art
  • Shakespeare in tourism
  • “the lady doth protest too much”: feminist takes on Shakespeare

Held in London at the University of London, Birkbeck (as well as online), this conference will take place on 28–29 April 2023. For those attending in person, the conference offers a unique opportunity to explore the Shakespearean/Elizabethan culture in London and Stratford-Upon-Avon, and even the chance to dine at The Swan. In addition, attendees will have the chance to watch a play at the Globe theatre!

Presenters may either share academic papers and/or creative work (poetry, prose, photography, music, painting, etc.), as we highly encourage arts-based research. Please send abstracts of 250-words and brief biographies to by March 15, 2023. We aim to notify participants of accepted proposals by March 20, 2023. We will be announcing our keynote speaker in a few weeks, and the full programme of the conference will be ready after the presenters are selected.

Registration fees:

  • In-person participation: £150 for two days (including refreshments). The fee does not cover tour costs, as those will be paid separately by anyone who opts for them. Please let us know of any access needs or dietary restrictions.
  • Virtual participation: £90 for the two conference days

Conference organisers:

Dr. Roula-Maria Dib (LABRC)
Dr. Alan Hickman (American University in Dubai)

We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts—see you in London soon!

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

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