Gabriel Chanan

Photo by Noel Chanan

Gabriel is a social researcher. He directed research and policy at the Community Development Foundation from 1990 to 2005. From 2005-8 he advised UK government on policies to stimulate residents to be actively involved in their local communities. He carried out pioneering Europe-wide research on resident involvement in urban regeneration, and developed indicators of the strength of local community action. He has written widely on strategies for community development.

At the same time he has maintained a lifelong interest in the arts. He has written plays and stories, was part of a poetry performance troupe for ten years, and was the founding Chair of Windsor Community Arts Centre (now Firestation Arts Centre). Some of his recent writing on community development can be seen on the publications page at www.pacesempowerment.co.uk/wordpress A website of his fictional and critical writing is in preparation.

In his new book for Troubador he brings this wide social and political experience to bear on the interpretation of Shakespeare’s politics. He finds that between the poles of conservative and radical criticism there has been surprisingly little attention to Shakespeare’s implications for democracy, a question which has vital significance in the age of globalisation. He finds a key in the way Shakespeare’s treatment of five issues - later to become crucial to democracy - changes across the plays: accountability of rulers; gender equality; grievances of working people; the rule of law; and justifications for war.

Portrait by Aurora Spain