Westerly Centre

Monumental Shakespeares: a transcultural investigation of commemoration in 20th-century Australia and England

This collaborative research project is co-ordinated by the Chair of Australian Literature at UWA, Philip Mead, in collaboration with Gordon McMullan from King’s College London, and involves researchers working in London, Perth and Sydney.

  1. Summary
  2. Type of grant
  3. Period
  4. Funding


The project aims to elucidate the processes of commemoration in Sydney and in London for the Shakespeare Tercentenary in 1916, an occasion that gave rise to significant debates over the best ways to memorialise England’s ‘National Poet’ in the British Isles and across the Empire. The project seeks to juxtapose two material outcomes of the Tercentenary: the National Theatre in London – the eventual product, decades after the event, of fractious arguments over the appropriate way to mark the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – and the Sydney Shakespeare monument – also the result of debates about appropriate forms of public commemoration and, as an inevitable counterpart to engagement with England’s ‘national poet,’ about the politics of imperial relations.

It also examines each within the larger contexts both of the varying forms of Shakespearean memorialisation and of the history and theory of commemoration. A comparison of these two drawn-out commemorations and of the debates and contexts from which they emerged will provide a focus for analysis of cultural heritage across nations and across time.

A work-in-progress colloquium, “Monumental Shakespeares: Remembering Shakespeare in 1916 and after” was held at King’s College London on 10th December 2011

Type of grant

The project is funded by an ARC Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC).


The funding runs over three years, from 2010 – 2012.


The amount received for the three year period is $214, 000.

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