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Research interests

Dr Ailsa Grant Ferguson's research is interdisciplinary, focusing across early modern English literature and cultural history and their afterlives in 20th and 21st century contexts. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a current AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellow. Her work focuses on literary histories, especially Shakespeare in performance and cultural contexts, performance and gender, literary commemoration, heritage and cultural memory, and early modern women’s writing and its afterlives and mediation. She is widely published on the afterlives of early modern texts, images and ideologies, Shakespeare in cultural memory; histories of Shakespeare and the First World War; appropriations of Shakespeare for counter-cultural expression, such as in the women's suffrage movement; early modern mothers’ legacies and the idea of posthumous writing.

Her most recent major project uncovered the full history of the Shakespeare Hut, a First World War building for New Zealand ANZACS on leave in London that contained a purpose-built theatre and was created to mark Shakespeare's tercentary in 1916. She is currently PI for a major research project, in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, focusing on Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna and her home, Hall's Croft, and the mediation of early modern women in heritage presentation, public engagements with history and cultural memory.

Dr Grant Ferguson is Co-Director of the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories and leads the Performance and Communities Research and Enterprise Group.

Scholarly biography

Dr Grant Ferguson joined the University of Brighton in 2014, following working as the National Theatre's first academic in residence, consulting on the National Theatre's pre-histories, and a post at King’s College London. In her early career, she taught at the University of Bristol and is also a PGCE-qualified and experienced teacher with keen interests in pedagogy and widening participation, having spent time as Head of Department (English, Media and MFL) in an FE College and as an experienced A Level examiner before taking up her previous post at King's.

After receiving the Society for Theatre Research Award in 2013 for her historical research on a first world war London performance space, her first monograph, Shakespeare, Cinema, Counterculture was published by Routledge in 2016, which was followed by co-authoring a collaborative monograph with an international group of scholars, 'Antipodal Shakespeare' (published by Bloomsbury in 2014), exploring the history of Shakespearean commemorations and national identities in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Grant Ferguson's second monograph, The Shakespeare Hut was published in 2019 by the Arden Shakespeare (Bloomsbury). With Dr Kate Aughterson, she co-authored a core, research-led textbook for the Arden Shakespeare series, Shakespeare and Gender, setting texts alongside historical sources, which was published in August 2020. She is currently an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellow (2022-3) and was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of her contribution to historical research in 2022.

With a particular experience and interest in public engagement and media communication, her recent engagement and consultation includes work with the National Theatre, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Royal Shakespeare Company, YMCA, Chawton House Library and BBC Radio Three & BBC Radio Four. She speaks regularly on Shakespeare and early modern literature, especially women's lives and writings, in the national and international media.

Supervisory Interests

Dr Grant Ferguson's current doctoral supervision includes projects on Aphra Behn, the Lucrece narrative in Early Modern literature and culture, performance and queer histories. She is always happy to hear from and advise prospective doctoral researchers, particularly in early modern literature, cultural history and its afterlives, including gendered cultural memory; early modern women's histories, writings and afterlives; Shakespeare studies (particularly appropriation, cultural memory and commemoration); early modern literary histories, gender and heritage.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Shakespeare, University of Bristol

Award Date: 15 Aug 2009

External positions

UKRI Talent Panel

15 Dec 2022 → …

Honorary Fellowship Award Board

11 Oct 2022 → …

Keywords

  • PN0441 Literary History

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