Our Research Projects

Shakespeare Reloaded supports various research projects relating to Shakespeare, literary studies and education. 

Creativity, Collaboration and Shakespeare in the Classroom - Linzy Brady 

My project focusses on the pedagogies and collaborations that create spaces of authentic, creative exploration of Shakespeare in the secondary school classroom. I am interested in the spaces of engagement with the plays that are shaped by local contingencies yet open to broader possibilities of interpretation and actualisation shaped by collaborative experiences beyond the classroom.  I also have a particular interest in the way the poetic and rhetorical nuances of language can merge with students’ experiences of embodied exploration. This research also focusses on the way creativity and innovation from collaborations, performances and classroom resources can impact on classroom engagements with Shakespeare.

Reimagining Literature - Will Christie

My project concerns itself with the ceaseless, often impatient reimagining and rewriting of past literature that goes on both in literature itself and in literary criticism, using Shakespeare’s changing reputation and influence from the Elizabethan period to our own as an example and a paradigm. From the unapologetic rewritings of Shakespeare’s plays for the Restoration stage through to the savage resistance to Shakespearean orthodoxy that we have seen in some of the criticism and performances of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, different critical and cultural versions (or metamorphoses) of select Shakespeare plays will be used in this part of the project as a way into the literary and cultural priorities of different periods during the last four centuries. Changes and conflicts in the plays’ critical reception and evaluation, adaptations and revisions of their stories, their performance and textual histories, and their transformation into different artistic forms – into other plays and novels, for example, but also into opera, ballet/dance, film, and television – will be used to explore the different priorities and sensibilities prevailing in different historical periods, and in different classes and cultures.
As well as giving us the opportunity to study the artistic and ideological significance of the changes that literary works undergo, the critical and creative reimagining of our chosen texts will be used to investigate such controversial issues as the institutionalisation of ‘English’ as a subject at school and university, the canonisation of literature, ‘high culture’ versus ‘popular culture’, and ‘cultural studies’ versus ‘literary criticism’. Special emphasis will be given to literature and criticism at the high point of ‘bardolatry’ in the British Romantic period, and the often ingenious adaptation and appropriation of Shakespeare in the past will also be used as a stimulus to creative adaptation by the students themselves.

Shakespeare in Performance - Penny Gay

I have several ongoing projects exploring Shakespearean performance in Australia and the contemporary world. This means analysing how the Shakespearean text is actualised by creative artists, directors, actors, designers, musicians, etc for Australian audiences. More widely, I seek to unpack the way audiences of all sorts understand and receive Shakespeare; I work on theatre criticism and performance history as it reflects the underlying nexus between Shakespeare and society, both now and in the 18th and 19th centuries. I have a particular interest in a central aspect of Shakespeare’s genius: the affective qualities and varieties of rhetoric – the spoken word.

Complexity theory and Shakespeare - Claire Hansen

I am exploring the theory and practical reality of ‘shadow systems’ within formal learning environments. Complexity theorist Ralph Stacey hypothesises the existence of ‘shadow systems’ within formal learning contexts that upset, contest and enrich the ‘dominant systems’ that are explicitly authorised by the authority (Complexity and Creativity in Organizations, 1996). My research is focussed on considering how legitimacy operates in the classroom and how novelty, authenticity and the emergent may be provoked and developed by educators. I am also interested in how universities can relate to (and be relevant to) wider, non-elite, clientele, how we measure and understand the 'value' of Shakespeare inside and outside our educational institutions, and how teachers might respond to and benefit from interaction with their peers across institutional divides. This research is contributing to the final stages of my PhD and will lead into an intended postdoctoral project that will extend these ideas. 

Student engagement through creative pedagogies - Jackie Manuel

I am researching the role and impact of students’ creative writing and representation on motivation, engagement and achievement in secondary English education. I am interested in the continuities between the creative and critical domains in responding to, interpreting and producing imaginative literature. The project explores the extent to which students’ confidence and accomplishment in creative writing may influence their writing abilities more broadly and their reading-for-pleasure practices and preferences. The project concentrates on students’ creative writing in English, Years 7-10, with attention to the creative and critical writing required of students in the senior secondary years. 

Ardenspace and the Construction of the Neoliberal Student - Liam Semler

I am researching the construction of the neoliberal (i.e. marketised and corporatised) student at school and university. I am interested in how current managerial teaching and learning systems are not only redefining all the key terms of education, but also seizing the moral high ground over the educator in the classroom. What is the place of learning, teaching and creativity within such audit-obsessed systems? What stake does Literary Studies have in this morphing landscape? How do we understand the neoliberal student’s development and the pressure this imposes on the educator’s practice? My project explores formal strategies of resistance to, and destabilizing enrichment of, neoliberal educational systems via the concept of ‘ardenspace.’ An ardenspace is a semi-structured space of educational experiment that provokes the emergence of unpredicted learning and novelty.