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Shakespeare Disrupted

Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny

Shakespeare Disrupted ProjectOverview

Creative (arts-related) approaches to research and educational practice are emerging as an integral component of scholarship in the social sciences, education and humanities (Lea et al., 2011, Barone & Eisner, 2012).

Integrating arts-related methods and methodologies within research and education practice brings forth fresh approaches for creatively, enlivening, translating and sharing knowledge with reciprocal benefits for those involved (Lea et al., 2011; Barone 2000, 2008; Savin-Baden & Wimpenny, 2014) Further, creative pedagogy is a means of transforming any subject (discipline, course, and programme) into a creative teaching process, to ‘produce’ creative learners. This transformation of the traditional classroom into a creative space is used as a means of enabling students to meet the growing demands and complexity of graduate readiness for an uncertain world (Florida, 2003). As Jackson (2004:1) asserts: ‘Creativity is integral to being an historian, biologist, lawyer, engineer or any other disciplinary field of endeavour.’

Creative arts pedagogy presents a distinct proposition in the DMLL; an educational vision for developing creative understanding, creative participation and creative confidence, heightening self-esteem and encouraging learners to be inventive so that they may contribute to shaping and improving the world in which they live (Dewey, 1934).

This innovative pilot project in creative arts pedagogy is currently exploring how Shakespeare can be used in new disciplinary areas in Higher Education (HE), in particular when dealing with complex course concepts (relating to messy real-world problems) that tend to defy classroom resolution. Further, we want to explore how students studying in higher education, out-with the arts and humanities, can get ‘fired up’ about Shakespeare, and how the rich scripts and plays can support and augment pedagogy and the classroom experience.



An Education Associate Practitioner from the RSC Stratford is currently working with final year Law and Occupational Therapy students and academic staff, to examine how examples from Shakespeare’s plays; namely, Othello and The Merchant of Venice, can be used within the teaching and learning experience.  This project is being evaluated, with the project participants, to explore how Shakespeare has promoted the learning of disciplinary course concepts, theories and skills, including communication, teamwork and risk taking. The findings from this pilot will be used as a springboard for wider project initiatives to explore:

  • How the proposed work can set new standards or examine new methods of teaching and learning using Shakespeare and the arts in HE.
  • How students, academics, artists and researcher creativity can be harnessed through stepping outside of disciplinary comfort zones.


Additional Resources


Project Timeline:

Start date

March 2015

End date

July 2015



Phase 1: 
Preliminary meetings with the RSC Education and Associate Practitioner with CU research and academic staff to discuss pedagogical ideas and suggestions for the student workshops

Phase 2: 

  • 2 x Workshops for Law and Occupational Therapy students at CU delivered by RSC Actor and educationalist (May, 2015)
  • 2 x Workshops at the RSC delivered by the RSC Education Associate Practitioner (May, 2015)
    • Pre and post survey to capture project participants perspectives
    • Feedback session with students in seminar groups to capture post workshop reflections on the learning experience

Phase 3: Students, staff and researcher to attend RSC performances of Othello (health students) and Merchant of Venice (Law students) (dates tbc during May & June, 2015)

Phase 4: Write up of the project and evaluation. Dissemination internally with project participants (for example, project presentation at the Teaching and Learning Conference, CU, 25th June, 2015)


Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):

  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Business and Law
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