MA English (1996), PhD English (2003)
Dr Farah Karim-Cooper is Head of Courses and Research at Shakespeare’s Globe. She provides the academic voice to the theatre, has published several books about Shakespeare’s theatre, convenes an MA course in collaboration with King’s College London and oversees many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with other universities.
"I did my undergraduate studies at California State University and I came over for my MA intending to spend a year in the UK. Then I took a year off and I started my PhD. I had fallen in love with the country and the literature and wanted to continue to study. I also met my husband at Royal Holloway!
"I enjoyed meeting other PhD students here and working with Kiernan Ryan who was Head of Department and my PhD supervisor at the time. Kiernan wouldn’t just advise me about my thesis – he would talk to me about conferences and advise me about jobs. Kiernan was also instrumental in me being published. I also got my university teaching experience through the English Department during my PhD. After I completed my studies I stayed as a visiting lecturer for a couple of years and taught quite a few courses.
"Every day at the Globe is different. In the autumn my MA students are here so I work with them in the mornings. Then I might have a management meeting to talk about logistics. I’m in the middle of project managing the build of an indoor Jacobean Theatre. As chair of the research committee I co-ordinate all the research projects that are associated with the build. I might have seminars in the afternoon and I also run three or four conferences a year. Yesterday I had a meeting with Top Trumps because they want to create a series of cards about Shakespeare’s plays!
"My advice to aspiring academincs would be that you don’t have to limit yourself to the university corridor. At the moment there is more emphasis on research having an impact on the wider community. That results in a lot more collaboration between arts organisations and universities. For example, being curator of the British Museum is an academic job though perhaps not a typical academic job. I’d advise you to think more broadly about what an academic career is."