Shakespeare’s Dysfunctional Families: Opening Keynote at the BASPCAN 2018 Congress

BASPCAN: For Child Protection Professionals
BASPCAN: For Child Protection Professionals

I am really pleased to announce that the opening keynote address for the 2018 BASPCAN International Congress will be by Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Paul will be kicking off our congress with a thespian slant from the great playwright himself, bringing a fresh, out-of-the-box approach to thinking about child protection.



King Lear, Hamlet, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale: Shakespeare consistently bodies forth family life as dysfunctional, broken, often violent. In this key-note address, Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, considers some of the portrayals of dysfunctional families in Shakespeare’s plays, relevant aspects of Shakespeare’s own life, and considers why this theme seems especially appropriate to our own times.

Here let us breathe and haply institute Shakespeare

A course of learning and ingenious studies”

  • The Taming of the Shrew, Act 1, Scene 1


Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Paul EdmondsonPaul Edmondson is Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He is the author, co-author, and co-editor of many books and articles about Shakespeare, including: The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (with Stanley Wells for Cambridge University Press, 2015), Shakespeare’s Creative Legacies (with Peter Holbrook, The Arden Shakespeare, 2016); and Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: an archaeological biography (with Kevin Colls and William Mitchell, Manchester University Press, 2016). His Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (Profile Books, 2015) is an overview of Shakespeare for the general reader. He has published work on the Sonnets, the musicality of Shakespeare’s words, the poetry of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s influence on the Brontës, and writes theatre and book reviews. He is Chair of the Hosking Houses Trust for women writers, a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association, an honorary fellow at the University of Birmingham, and a priest in the Church of England. He has lived and worked in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1995.

Registration opens soon

Registration for the congress will open soon. There are special rates for BASPCAN members and for students, the unemployed, those on low incomes and those from low-income countries.

A call for abstracts is now open. We are looking for presentations from practitioners, researchers and experts by experience (both survivors of abuse and users of family services). Click here to find out more orto submit an abstract for the congress.

Click here to find out about the other exciting keynote speakers, to see the programme, and for more information about the congress.


“Get thee before to Coventry. Fill me a bottle of Sack.”

– Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1