Undergraduate student Adeola Ogunbadewa has benefited from the first Summer Vacation Research Prize to be awarded to the Faculty of Humanities.
Adeola, who is entering her final year of undergraduate study in Spanish and Religious Studies (BA), was one of more than 50 applicants for the Prize which was designed to give undergraduates the opportunity to be involved in original and innovative research. The Prize also provides postdoctoral researchers with the opportunity to design and run a small project and advance a section of research with the intern’s assistance.
Adeola was involved in the project exploring early modern theatre history. During her six week internship, she worked with research associate Dr Callan Davies to explore plays and other entertainments performed at the Curtain playhouse (a longstanding playing venue in early modern London recently excavated). This was connected to Dr Davies’ research for Records of Early English Drama (REED London Online).
By surveying a range of sources, from manuscript transcriptions to plays and scholarly publications, Adeola generated for the first time a working timeline of companies, players, and plays that performed at the venue across its rich history. This led to the publishing of a research blog by Adeola titled ‘Repertory and Reputation at the Curtain’ on Before Shakespeare.
To prepare for the project, Adeola trained with Michael Powell-Davies, a PhD researcher in the School of English, as well as Karen Brayshaw and Tom Kennett from Kent’s Special Collections and Archives team. Dr Davies provided support throughout her time on the project. He said:
‘Adeola did a fantastic job. I think it’s incredible to achieve a level of research competence in only six and a half weeks that can lead to a provisional timeline of performances and an impressive research blog linked on Before Shakespeare.’
Adeola commented: ‘This internship has been invaluable to my future studies. After spending the previous academic year in Spain as part of my degree programme, this project has helped me to develop skills in archiving and referencing in a niche research area. It has built my confidence and opened my eyes to use resources such as social media in different ways. This has been a great opportunity and I feel it has prepared me significantly for my final year and has made me more eager to pursue postgraduate study.’
Catherine Richardson, Director of the Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries at Kent, added: ‘More institutions are recognising the value and importance of involving undergraduate students in cutting edge, real research. Such work allows students to see the reality of research in a university, gain experience and employability skills, and promotes interest in further study.’