Monday, 17 October 2016

Summer to Autumn News

This summer we were busy with The Symposium. It was commissioned by the University of Oxford's Classics in Communities project to create a vase animation that teachers can use in the classroom and which Oxford staff and students can use within their outreach activities. We wish them many happy times ahead doing just that!

We hope you've enjoyed some of the things that have accompanied the creation of The Symposium. As well as telling you a bit about symposium culture, The Symposium page has a set of follow-up reading suggestions for exploring the topic further, and you can also find out more through our recent blog interviews, Symposiums in Focus, with Dr Thomas Mannack and On Symposiums and Vases with Prof Sir John Boardman. You may also enjoy this new find, a short video that examines the cup from The Symposium in detail. It's a great way to see the cup's full shape and depth:

Above, as short video analysis of The Symposium cup by Alastair Sooke of The Telegraph (cup comes in at 1.15mins)

We've been delighted to see some of the artwork done with The Symposium activity sheets. A big thank-you to Fairstead House School in Newmarket who have kindly allowed us to use their work as examples on The Symposium page. Here's a detail from one of them:
Above: Detail from a re-working of The Symposium vase on the theme of 'outdoor parties', by Izzy from Fairstead House School, Newmarket.

Feel free to send us examples from your own class' work (or your own!). We always love to see what you've been making. Likewise, let us know what activity sheets you've found most useful and what ones you'd like to see in future. Through helpful feedback from one teacher, we've added a Beginner's Greek activity sheet for The Symposium. It comes with symposium-themed vocab that's set-up for labelling exercises or practice sentences.

Above, The new Symposium Greek sheet (get the download version from

With the start of a new season, we're beginning an exciting new project. Over the next five years we'll be making a series of animations and a documentary about vases as part of a fantastic international project, Our Mythical Childhood... The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges. As the name suggests, this project will be examining the roles of Greco-Roman myth in children's literature and animations all over the world. It will produce a series of publications and reference works on this topic as well as the animations. Contributors from Poland, the UK, Australia, Israel, and Cameroon, will each explore fascinating aspects of this phenomenon under the guidance of the project organiser, Prof Katarzyna Marciniak from the University of Warsaw. This project has been generously funded by the European Research Council to whom we are very grateful. Our first animation will be an adventure with Heracles. Storyboarding has already begun! More on this as the project unfolds.

October means Halloween, so call back at the end of the month for an exclusive interview on a deathly topic. Dr Bridget Martin will be talking about ancient Greek ideas about death and the afterlife and how she has used vases to gain new insights into this important aspect of Greek culture.