The University’s recent celebration, Shakespeare 400 Melbourne, led by Dr David McInnes reignited community interest in the storyteller’s works. From the Australian launch of the new Oxford Complete Shakespeare to the Shakespeare On Film festival in conjunction with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the British Film Institute, Dr McInnes curated a program with something for everybody.
2016 marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death making it a memorable year for Shakespeare scholarship and appreciation worldwide. Dr McInnes, Gerry Higgins Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies, steered the University of Melbourne’s celebration of Shakespeare, for which he has been granted the Award for Excellence in Engagement – Public Value 2017. Under the Shakespeare 400 Melbourne banner, Dr McInnes curated a series of interlinked events involving the local and international community, the University’s alumni and key partner institutions.
Through engagement the program strengthened ties with various organisations in the local community, including the Bell Shakespeare Company, the Melbourne Theatre Company, the State Library of Victoria and ACMI. These collaborations generated a diverse program for the University’s staff, students and alumni and the greater public including various screenings, performances and lectures.
Dr McInnes notes a signature event that marked the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, which saw Boisbouvier Chair Richard Flanagan in conversation with singer-songwriter Paul Kelly AO, who performed sonnets set to music before a crowd of 500 people. This event exemplifies the benefits of diminishing the old fashioned separation of ‘town’ and ‘gown’ and collaboration’s role in the production of well-rounded research.
Dr McInnes considers the University’s staff privileged to work within a fantastic research and teaching institution with access to incredible resources. It is a key responsibility of the academic to acknowledge the importance of engaging with the wider community.
Shakespeare died over 400 years ago on the other side of the world, but his legacy is all around us: in the language we use, in our education system and in the stories we tell in our cinemas, theatres and newspapers. Dr David McInnes
Engaging in activities with the public fosters a reciprocal relationship for staff at the University, as Dr McInnes believes the “quality of academic research and writing improves when presented to a variety of audiences”. For Dr McInnes, this award “sends a strong message about the value we place on this essential element of modern academia”.
Banner image: Boisbouvier Chair Richard Flanagan, Dr David McInnes and Mr Paul Kelly