Birmingham’s Global Shakespeare Archive: Everything to Everybody and the Shakespeare Census

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of English

Project academic: Dr Will Sharpe

Project summary

This project focuses on the rare Shakespearean holdings at the Library of Birmingham and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Library. It brings together two international collaborative research projects: Everything to Everybody and the Shakespeare Census.

The Scholarship holder will be expected to work, under guidance and supervision, within, and with, these collections, cataloguing rare books, and helping promote Birmingham and its collections to the world.

What you will do 

  • detailed bibliographic examination of each copy, including describing the condition, binding, and any manuscript marginalia
  • researching the provenance (previous ownership history) of each copy
  • confirming details already listed in the Census for each copy and correcting any errors
  • comparing details gleaned from bibliographic examination to previous Census by Henrietta Bartlett to determine intervening changes in the copy
  • locating any digital facsimiles of each copy, and assisting with creating new digital facsimiles where possible

Skills required

(e = essential, d = desirable):

  • Capacity to work independently, and an interest in archival research (e).
  • Attention to, and interest in, detail (e).
  • Sound knowledge of a number of the works of Shakespeare, and an understanding of the chronology of Shakespeare's plays and poems (e).
  • Basic knowledge of the early printed texts of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, though the scholarship holder will be trained on the more complex specifics of what to look for and of bibliographic description (e).
  • Some knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare’s works within appropriate literary, cultural, political, and religious contexts of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods (d).

How will the project benefit you?

  • give them experience of work within both heritage and information services industries
  • introduce them to and develop their scholarly training within archival research
  • experience a collaborative form of work with a cultural research partner in a US university
  • be a part of two exciting projects promoting Birmingham and its collections to the world
  • benefit from one-to-one supervision in project management, archival research skills, and the study of textual bibliography as it relates to Shakespeare specifically

Where now?


Professional Services