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Ukrainian education and culture have been under huge political, ideological and military pressure due to Russia’s invasion and the ensuing war in February 2022. These require an adequate understanding and response through active involvement of the Humanities community, including Shakespeare scholars. A workshop in Budapest is a timely opportunity to galvanise the collective expertise and experience of the participants at the ESRA conference on the ways Shakespeare has been used and abused in diverse socio-political contexts, both as a tool of propaganda and as a site of resistance, in Western and Eastern European countries.

This workshop will put into practical dialogue and synergize the expertise, experience and potential of Shakespeare educators and practitioners from Europe to support Ukrainian teachers, researchers, students, and practitioners. It aims to make an urgent and critical intervention to support Ukraine in the following directions:

  1. making education sustainable during the war 
  2. opening up education and theatre practice to future collaborations
  3. assessing critical paradigms of education 
  4. new curricula as a vehicle of articulating and fostering Ukrainian identity
  5. re-thinking cultural paradigms

Our general focus is Shakespeare as a cultural presence shaping reading and interpretive practices, university curricula in the Humanities as well as theatrical and critical practice both within and outside Ukraine. Ultimately, the goal is to enable both the Ukrainian and the larger scholarly community to reframe collectively paradigms, such as the colonial expansion of Russia and its use of culture as soft power, and the role of teaching non-native literatures in national contexts.

Workshop Logistics The conveners will elicit and circulate in advance of the workshop: (1) a short review of Shakespeare’s Ukrainian reception which was for a long time determined by imperial ambitions of Russian and Soviet totalitarianism; (2) an update on Ukrainian Shakespeare teaching and theatre practice, which are in a process of major transformation; and (3) identified priorities elicited from Ukrainian colleagues. Having selected 3 areas of intervention, convenors will facilitate hands-on work with participants to share know-how, resources, brainstorm collaborative projects, produce action points and timeline to assist Ukrainian colleagues.