The idea of a "Shakespeare in Europe", "Sh:in:E" project was conceived over the English Channel/la Manche on a flight from London to Basel in 1997, by Werner Brönnimann and Balz Engler. On 9 January, 1998 it was formally founded at the English department of Basel university. Its purpose has been to pool the interests and activities of local scholars, among them editors of volumes in the Englisch-deutsche Studienausgabe Shakespearesand to promote the study of Shakespeare as an European author. Over the years there have been various activities, among them a cycle of lectures on genius. But it is certainly the website, mastered by Markus Marti, that has had the most lasting impact.
We soon learned about Ángel-Luis Pujante's effort to create and institutionalize a European network of Shakespeare scholars, and joined it early on. We have taken part in all its conferences since 1999, and organized the 2001 conference Shakespeare in European Culture in Basel (which resulted in the volume Shifting the Scene). We were both a bit puzzled and pleased that these conferences tended to be run under the informal Shine label. At the Iasi conference in 2007, the European Shakepeare Research Association (ESRA) was founded.