Professor Catherine Richardson

Professor of Early Modern Studies,
Director, Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries
+44 (0) 01227 824656
Professor Catherine Richardson


Catherine Richardson joined the University of Kent in 2007 from The Shakespeare Institute. She is Professor of Early Modern Studies, and Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries.

Research interests

Catherine’s research focuses on the relationship between texts and the material circumstances of their production and consumption – on the movement between living and writing, between experience and narrative, in both the past and the present. Central to this work has been understanding early modern material culture – the way it was produced and consumed, and how the material qualities of cultural life shaped its other aspects. She has researched the birth of the creative industries, in drama and other performance cultures; in the development of skilled craft practices and the way they were shaped by international patterns of migration; and the way those cultural practices have evolved from the sixteenth century to the present. Recently, she has become fascinated by the access technology gives to engagement with the past, and with the new forms of making and doing that we create in relation to it.

In April 2019, she began a major new AHRC project 'The Cultural Lives of the Middling Sort, writing and material culture 1560-1660'. It aims to transform our sense of the way reading and writing fitted into the everyday cultural lives of a very important but under-researched group in early modern England – the middling sort – the literate urban households whose members often wrote for a living. With her Co-Is Tara Hamling (Birmingham) and Graeme Earl (KCL), and project partners The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Weald and Downland Living Museum, she is developing a series of digital resources that explore questions of inclusion and exclusion, writing and cultural practice, including a digital room, an online exhibition of middling objects and a schools resource pack. Catherine has recently featured on The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust podcast to introduce the project and its initial findings.

Other projects:

General Editor (with Rory Loughnane and Sarah Dustagheer): Oxford Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, Oxford University Press

Editorial Board: Privacy Studies Journal

Series Editor (with Lena Orlin, Helen Smith and Lynne Tribble): Arden Studies in Early Modern Material Culture, Bloomsbury


Catherine welcomes graduate students in any areas of the dramatic, social and cultural history of the early modern period, and is particularly interested in supervising interdisciplinary projects. She has previously supervised students working on many aspects of Shakespeare and early modern drama, account books kept by women, German and Islamic domestic books, military culture, portrait miniatures, tythe dispute, scribal culture, fairy kings, the construction of urban community, ecclesiastical court depositions, urban medicine, object biographies, Aphra Behn, and middling maritime cultures.


Leadership roles:

  • Director, Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, with responsibility for setting up the Institute and developing its strategic vision, 2019-present
  • Associate Dean for Research and Innovation (Humanities) with responsibility for the REF submission and the establishment of Kent’s Signature Research Themes, 2017-20
  • Deputy Head of School of English, 2014-7
  • Director of Research, School of English, 2012-7
  • Director, Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2007-10

External roles:

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2018
  • AHRC Peer Review and Strategic Review College Member, 2017- 22
  • The Malone Society, council member 2002- and Orders Secretary, 2002-22
  • Pasold Research Fund, Governor (Expert Member since 2019), 2021-present
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