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Worcester Graduate Secures Top Scholarship to Study Shakespeare in his Hometown

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A Worcester graduate has secured a prestigious PhD scholarship with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Helen Hopkins has just completed her MRes (Masters of Research) in Early Modern Studies at the University of Worcester, which she took after completing an undergraduate degree in English Literary Studies with the institution.

The scholarship is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under its Midlands3Cities STEAMhouse scheme. Helen will undertake her PhD with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Birmingham City University.

“I am delighted, excited, and nervous all at the same time,” said the 34-year-old. “It is an amazing opportunity, which I hope will be the gateway to a research career in an area that I love, whether in the archive, at the Trust in another capacity, or as a lecturer/researcher at an institution. A PhD in Shakespeare studies from Stratford doesn’t get much better – I still can’t quite believe I’ve got it.”

Helen’s project title is International Responses to Shakespeare in the Collections of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the aim is to create an international collection from the archive and investigate the interactions between Shakespeare and the world.

“My MRes supervisor – Nicoleta Cinpoes – emailed me the details of the scholarship as soon as they were released,” said Helen, who hails from Droitwich and now lives in Lower Broadheath. “I immediately arranged to see her to discuss it further and begin my proposal. She and I both recognised it as a unique opportunity to further my studies at the centre of Shakespeare scholarship in Stratford.”

She added: “My proposal addressed the notion of what it is to be international, and how an investigation of Shakespeare as among and between international cultures might be conducted. I was invited to an interview and was offered the scholarship soon after.”

Helen said she’s always had a love of literature, and a teacher at GCSE inspired her love of Shakespeare.

She added: “My children were very young when I started my BA so that was part-time. Now they are older and less dependent I am ready to start a career properly, so it is all very well-timed.

“The MRes has been brilliant preparation for this process, and I’m sure the skills that it has developed, as well as all the invaluable advice from my extremely supportive supervisor here at Worcester will help me to get the best out of this opportunity.”

The University of Worcester has places available for well-qualified applicants through Clearing this year.

The Clearing hotline – 01905 855111 – is now open.

For information on courses at University of Worcester visit www.worcester.ac.uk