The work based learning of creative artists : the case of William Shakespeare
This thesis applies work based learning concepts to understanding Shakespeare's professional development and the relationship between his work roles and works. The purposes of this are to enhance understanding about Shakespeare, develop the argument for work based learning as a field of studies and investigate the relevance of the approach to historical and contemporary creative practitioners. To meet these objectives the following research question was formulated: as a creative artist, practising in an evolving occupational area in a period itself fraught with social change and questions about the nature of work, social status and the performing arts, what was the relationship between Shakespeare's work roles and the production of his works. What was the nature of his work based learning? In construing Shakespeare's career in this way the thesis explores previously researched issues in original and illuminating ways. In applying work based learning thinking to Role Theory methodology new instrumentation for collecting and analysing data has been invented; the Time Chart, Map of Role Sets and a three-dimensional analytical framework. This has been necessary to analyse work based learning holistically, acknowledging the importance of the social, historical and cultural context. Shakespeare's career is analysed against key work based learning questions providing new understanding of the work role of sharer and principal playwright. The thesis concludes that the methodology is of value because it can mediate between individual learning and an organisational environment that is specifically contextualised. A major conclusion is that understanding Shakespeare's work based learning as exemplary, through planned and opportunistic projects, in collaboration with his professional peers and supported by socially sophisticated patronage networks were fundamental to his unique success. The considerable implications for further research as a major means of identifying and analysing the work based learning of historical and contemporary creative artists are given.