The Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies is a collaborative venture between the Trinity Long Room Hub, the Library, the School of English, the School of Creative Arts, and the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The only research centre of its kind in Ireland, it reflects the existing strength of Trinity College Dublin's academic research, artistic practice, extensive manuscript holdings, and public engagement activities involving the works of Samuel Beckett, one of its most famous alumni. The Centre was established in 2017 with the aim to stimulate research interest in Samuel Beckett across multiple disciplines and communities, both internally and externally. Its inclusive structure is designed to provide coordination and focus for research activity and artistic practice involving Samuel Beckett, while increasing the tempo and impact of Trinity's innovative work on Beckett, both at the level of individual researchers and as a partner in larger, international collaborative projects.
The Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies intersects with all five of College’s humanities research themes in such a way as to co-relate these themes in a singular manner. In relation to “Making Ireland”, Samuel Beckett’s literature contributes to the nexus of Irish and European identities, while his rigorous examination of the problems of expressing self-consciousness address central concerns of “Identities in Transformation.” His own artistic and creative process, as well as the interdisciplinary manner in which Trinity has been at the forefront of developing new arts research methodologies, feeds into “Creative Arts Practice.” Because of the complex nature of Beckett’s composition process in multiple languages, Beckett can be considered an “archivist’s author.” His archive, held partly at Trinity College and digitally presented as part of the ongoing Beckett Digital Manuscript Project, makes Beckett a fascinating object of research for both “Manuscript, Print and Book Culture” and “Digital Humanities”. This singular nexus makes the Trinity Long Room Hub, which houses the five humanities-based research themes, the natural home of the Centre.
Current activities include:
- The Samuel Beckett Summer School. Established in 2011 and running annually since, the 2019 dates of the Summer School will be 28 July - 2 August 2019. The full summer programme is announced in the preceding autumn, and applications will open in late 2019. More details here
- The Samuel Beckett Laboratory. Established in 2013 by Nicholas Johnson (TCD) and Jonathan Heron (Warwick), the Samuel Beckett Laboratory provides a space and occasion for fundamental research into Beckett’s work in and through performance. Meeting annually during the five days of the Beckett Summer School, the Lab also offers workshops and consultation in a range of international and interdisciplinary contexts.
- The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project. The BDMP, begun in 2011, aims to reunite the manuscripts of Samuel Beckett’s works in a digital way, and to facilitate genetic research. The project brings together digital facsimiles of documents that are now preserved in different holding libraries, and adds transcriptions of Beckett’s manuscripts, tools for bilingual and genetic version comparison, a search engine, and an analysis of the textual genesis of his works. Trinity has been a key player in this project since its inception.
- Samuel Beckett Reading Group. A number of postgraduate students working on Beckett are running an ongoing Beckett reading group, which has prompted collaboration with early-career scholars from other Irish universities. Around the focal point of Beckett’s birthday in 2016, the reading group gave public site-specific readings at key locations around Dublin. There are plans for further public activities in April 2018.