Research students attending a Thursday seminar at the Shakespeare Institute

Support from the Circles of Influence annual giving fund will allow us to install video and audio recording equipment in the Shakespeare Institute lecture hall, where we host weekly seminars given by internationally recognized Shakespeare scholars each week during term.

These seminars are a vital part of the student learning experience at the Shakespeare Institute and the ability to record them for off-site viewing will open up these important events to our growing body of part-time and distance learning students.

In addition to recording the seminars we also aim to record and even live stream high profile lectures held at the Shakespeare Institute as well as important community events such as the reading of our MA and PhD graduates’ names at our annual graduation party. The ability to connect with students and alumni far away through these broadcasts will help foster new networks of learning and exchange across our ever growing Shakespeare Institute community.

'My name is Hannah Unwin and I have been a distance-learning, postgraduate student at the Shakespeare Institute for almost two years.

I live in a part of the world where modern academia is, somewhat, in its infancy. Therefore, I am fortunate to be studying in an age when remoteness from universities and colleges does not prevent learning. Through the technology acquired and utilised by the Shakespeare Institute, I have been able to complete my studies with far greater ease than one might expect of someone without access to libraries and direct contact with lectures, seminars and tutors. Online discussion groups have even connected me with other students around the globe and enabled me to feel like part of a student community.

However, there is still an aspect of the Shakespeare Institute life that is excluded and lacking from my university experience. Each week upon receipt of the Institute’s weekly bulletin, I learn of all the seminars and events taking place with celebrated and expert speakers that I cannot attend and must miss.

The support from the Annual Giving Fund has provided the Shakespeare Institute with the means to purchase advanced recording equipment that will be installed in the Shakespeare Institute Hall. This generous funding will enrich the university experiences of our students living around the globe who will be able to log into the system and benefit from being able to watch the events in the Hall in the same way as if they were in attendance. The events are additional, but complementary, to our studies, providing not only a deeper knowledge of our subject but a greater enjoyment of the course and the ability to match the faces of the speakers to the names listed in books, journals and weekly bulletins. 

Naturally, the recording equipment will also benefit students studying face-to-face as they will be given greater flexibility with their weekly schedule. Just because they have a family or part-time job to attend to, does not automatically mean they have to miss the events specially organised by the Institute that could be of academic benefit to them. 

Finally, the recordings will also keep Shakespeare in the minds of the Institute’s alumni. Unfortunately, our studies cannot last forever and not everyone secures a career involving Shakespeare. Therefore, the recordings of speakers and other events will be a fantastic, informative, yet informal means of allowing both current and former students keep up with contemporary thoughts and trends in Shakespeare studies from world leading experts.’