The following is a list of projects, conferences and activities instigated by or affiliated with the BVSN and its members, including our yearly conferences.

Most of the information below was originally published on the BSDN website hosted by the University of Bergen.


2006 Dubrovnik – inaugural conference

2007 Venice

2008 Malta

2009 Montpellier

2010 Dubrovnik

2011 Cork

2012 Vicenza (with the EMRG network)

2013 Szeged

2014 Florence

2015 Lisbon

2016 Budapest

2017 Cambridge (blog)

Other Activities

2013: Visual Forms in the Age of Shakespeare

PhD Seminar

Published: 13.05.2013; updated: 05.02.2014; republished 20.12.2017

This short residential course brings together some leading figures in the discussion of visual forms of the period (see below), both to discuss the major genres with which the plays and poems might be said to interact and to offer their own guidance to doctoral students working in the field.

Increasingly, critical readings of the plays and poems have explored their location within, around and in debate with visual structures of their age. Discussions of structure, imagery, character construction and direct allusion have become frequent, and the major editions of the plays now often include images from the period as part of their introductions. Finding a balance between the use of such forms as adjuncts to critical and theoretical analysis and preserving their own identities is a major, yet often unstated, issue in thinking of this kind.

The main bulk of the meeting will be given over to the close discussion of short pieces – parts of chapters, overall thesis summaries, statements of critical positions, or other kinds of writing on the topic. In this way, the meeting will operate as a genuine exchange of ideas as well as a means of offering advice and comment for work currently being produced.

The seminar is a joint effort by the research group Bergen Shakespeare and Drama Network at the University of Bergen and the Early Modern Research Group at the University of Agder.

Doctoral students from Italy, India, Uganda, New Zealand and Norway will be attending the seminar.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor John Astington, University of Toronto: Tapestries and Popular Prints
  • Professor Roy Eriksen, University of Agder: Shakespeare, Architecture and the City
  • Professor Helen Cooper, Cambridge University: Shakespeare and medieval drama
  • Dr Charles Moseley, Cambridge University: Shakespeare and the Emblem
  • Dr Marilena Parlati, University of Calabria: Early modern cosmetics
  • Professor Stuart Sillars, University of Bergen: Painting, allegory and drama

2013: Early Modern Literary Studies

Published: 21.06.2013; updated: 24.06.2013; republished 20.12.2017

A special issue of EMLS, published at Sheffield Hallam University addresses the topic of Shakespearean configurations.

Jean-Christophe Mayer (CRNS/Montpellier), William Sherman (CREMS/York) and Stuart Sillars (BSDN/Bergen) were responsible for arranging two conferences on Shakespeare and configuration, which have now resulted in a publication – a special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies, from whose introduction the following citations are taken:

“This collection takes a fresh look at configurations—and reconfigurations—of Shakespeare from the first quartos to the most recent incarnations. It offers new approaches for studying the packaging of the plays and poems through time, between cultures and across media. We have been prompted to explore the potential of the concept of configuration by two sweeping developments in Shakespeare Studies: the sustained attack on the idea of an authentic, original text produced by a single, isolated author; and a corresponding attention to the reformulation and assimilation of Shakespeare’s texts in cultures very different from the one in which they were created. These two areas (the one associated with Textual Scholarship and the other with Adaptation, Performance and Postcolonial Studies) have only recently begun to speak to each other, and together they pose a set of far-reaching questions which the essays gathered here seek to investigate:

  • Where does configuration end and reconfiguration begin? And where, for that matter, does configuration begin?
  • Who or what is responsible for shaping texts and how does the work of printers, actors, editors, and readers relate to that of the author?
  • How useful is the distinction between ‘original’ and ‘adaptation,’ in theory and in practice?
  • If there is no fixed original form that is later subjected to reconfiguration, are all versions equally valid?
  • Do non-theatrical treatments of the plays have a different status and value from those produced for the stage?
  • To what extent do our own scholarly frames reconfigure Shakespeare?


The articles and approaches brought together in this collection grew out of two recent conferences on the topic of “Shakespearean Configurations.” The first, in 2009, was hosted by the University of York (UK) in association with the University of Bergen (Norway); and the second, the following year, was hosted by the University of Montpellier (France). We would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsors, including York’s Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies, Bergen’s English Department, and Montpellier’s Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l’Age Classique et les Lumières (IRCL). We are also grateful to the speakers whose work does not appear here but who did so much to make these meetings so productive (including Ilaria Andreoli, Erin Blake, Judith Buchanan, Dympna Callaghan, Russell Jackson, Florence March, Alan H. Nelson, Marcus Nevitt, Varsha Panjwani, Erica Sheen and Emma Smith).”

This special issue of EMLS contains articles by Professor Sillars and Svenn-Arve Myklebost (PhD), from the BSDN/Dept. of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen.

The journal is online and free to access at:

2011: EMRG conference

Published: 26.09.2011; updated: 04.03.2013; republished 20.12.2017

The first Nordic interdisciplinary Early Modern conference was held at the University of Agder in Kristiansand from the 20th to the 23rd of September.

The conference brought together art historians, linguists, literary scholars, historians, musicologists (and musicians), including five specially invited keynote speakers, presenting and discussing a plethora of subjects from the psalms of Petter Dass to the plague in Florence, from the presence of ghosts in Milton’s poetry to Early Modern notions of Utopia, from genre-oriented corpus analysis to Michaelangelo’s biography. Local music professors and practitioners lectured on and performed Early Modern lute music. Please consult the conference website for more information.

The conference organising committee consisted of three former English students from UiB: Gard Jenset, currently employed by Bergen University College (HiB), John Vinje, currently a research fellow at the University of Agder, and Svenn-Arve Myklebost, BSDN acolyte and Research Fellow at the University of Bergen. Other BSDN members and associates that also attended the conference include Stuart Sillars and Katherine Belsey. The latter performed the closing keynote address, a fascinating account of ghosts in Milton’s sonnet 19.

2010: Shakespeare Configured

Published: 22.06.2010; updated: 04.03.2013; republished 20.12.2017

From the 29th of September to the 1st of October, the second Shakespearean Configurations symposium will be held in Montpellier, France.

Shakespearean Configurations is a follow-up from last year’s conference held at the University of York (UK) during which participants took a fresh look at configurations—and reconfigurations—of Shakespeare from the first quartos to the most recent visual incarnations. They also offered new materials and new approaches for studying the packaging of the plays and poems through time, between cultures and across media.

The theme of last year’s conference was prompted by two sweeping developments in Shakespeare studies: the sustained attack on the idea of an authentic, original text produced by a single, isolated author; and a corresponding attention to the reformulation and assimilation of Shakespeare’s texts in cultures very different from the one in which they were created.

Participants in this year’s conference are invited to continue investigating these themes. They are also encouraged to explore more specifically the relation between the editing and/or configuring of Shakespeare’s works through time and the various ways in which these works were appropriated by readers and audiences.

Several members (including founding members) of the BSDN are involved with the SC symposiums. From the University of Bergen, the participants will be professor Stuart Sillars (who will be joint chair together with professor William Sherman of York University) and Svenn-Arve Myklebost (who will present a paper).

2009: Shakespeare, Transmediation and International Identity

Sillars et al.

Originally published: 06.01.2009; updated: 04.03.2013; republished 20.12.2017

University of Bergen. The interweaving of Shakespeare’s plays into the cultural vocabularies and identities of nearly every nation has much to reveal about the interaction between texts and cultures, at the same time offering a model of cultural transmediation that is applicable to many other transnational exchanges. Just as, in their earliest forms, the plays absorb, transform and redefine elements of international Renaissance culture, so they have themselves become absorbed and redefined as components of a great range of global cultural forms. The essence of this study is to explore both processes, but particularly the latter, and to reveal within it elements of the processes by which nations take possession of dominant cultural forms from other sources, making them part of their own identities as mature, independent nations. In this way the study contributes to the reconfiguration of literary and cultural movements within a global frame, many of which are still explored within the category of ‘postcolonial’, despite the contested and outmoded nature of the term. The project thus combines historical analysis with theoretical exploration, to offer a genuinely new approach to the transfer of forms between cultures.