Our People

Professor Judith Buchanan

Professor Judith Buchanan

Professor Judith Buchanan

  • The Master

As Master of St Peter’s College, I support the pursuit of scholarly excellence in College and the vibrant, thoughtful and inclusive life of the community. I oversee our good governance and represent the College in the rest of the University and beyond.

I follow students' academic progress and interests closely and, less formally, enjoy hosting them for social events, music recitals and sporting celebrations. The central privilege of the role is seeing our students thrive, academically and personally, and go on to become confident, creative, thoughtful and responsible contributors to the world.

Another pleasure of my job is welcoming back old members of the College and hearing their stories. These testify again and again to the very many lives that have been enriched and changed for the better through their time at St Peter’s. As such, these stories form a touching, entertaining and inspiring part of the pulse of the place - and I am always up for hearing more!


In my academic life, I am a Shakespearean. My primary research is on Shakespearean textual and performance histories. I speak and write frequently on Shakespeare, both to academic and to public audiences. I also work with external partners across arts and heritage sectors nationally and internationally, including at Shakespeare’s Globe, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Auckland Globe, the Beckett Theatre in Dublin, Sotheby’s New York and BFI Southbank. My own work moves between academic and creative worlds and I have had the privilege to work on creative collaborations with wonderful actors, directors, musicians and dancers. I co-adapted and was Shakespeare Advisor on a British feature film of Macbeth released in 2018 and have been a frequent contributor to BBC Radio arts programmes. I am a committed advocate for the value of work and conversations that move between academic and non-academic spheres. I also work on film history, with a specialism in the silent era. I run ‘Silents Now’ bringing silent cinema to contemporary audiences in fresh and creative ways. I am a member of the Oxford English Faculty.

In and beyond Oxford

I sit on the Advisory Council for the Humanities Cultural Programme, on the University’s Research and Innovation Committee, and on various international boards in support of academic-based projects. I chair the Cameron Mackintosh Drama Fund Board and the Electoral Board for the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, bringing in people of experience and distinction to inspire the next exciting generation of theatre-makers. Our 2022 elected professor is Adjoa Andoh. I am a Government appointment on the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission and a Council member for RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). I hold an Honorary Fellowship at Worcester College and am a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.


Having worked as a school teacher for a few years, I then returned to University for graduate study in 1991. I did my DPhil at Worcester College, Oxford, during the course of which I also went on a Fulbright Scholarship to the US for a year. Through the late 1990s, I then taught in the English Faculty in Oxford and held the Wilkinson Research Fellowship at Worcester College. I moved to the University of York in 2000, where I worked until 2019. At York, I was Director of the Humanities Research Centre and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. While at York, I also held visiting fellowships at the University of Lausanne and at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC and sat on the Executive Board for the worldwide Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes.

Where to next?