I'm a Fresher!!
This week I started a three and a half year journey/adventure - a PhD exploring and writing about the first greatest Shakespeare collection in the world; not in London, or Stratford-upon-Avon but in Birmingham. The Shakespeare Memorial Library was set up as a collection for the people of Birmingham by social reformers who believed that citizens with access to and enriched by culture would thrive in other aspects of their lives. My thesis will be an assessment of that ideal, when and how it did or didn't work, and the societal factors that impacted on its success or failure.
The Arts Council didn't award money to the Theatre Archive Film Project but the PhD will also provide me with opportunities to explore the performance collections and create short films about Shakespeare as performed in Birmingham, using previously undiscovered material. I'm never one to give up on a good idea!
The thesis will lead to the publication of a book and I'm so very excited at that prospect. I want it to be engaging, informative and inspiring - a story as much about the people of Birmingham as about the collection; a story about the importance of art and culture in society.
The adventure begins...