Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Past Meets the Present: Further Adventures in Warsaw

Kabooom! Good news, ancient world lovers! Your hosts at Panoply, Steve Simons and Dr Sonya Nevin, are recently returned from Warsaw where we witnessed the launch of the Our Mythical Childhood Survey database. This database will prove a big deal for anybody interested in classical reception, and/or children's literature and culture. The OMC Survey is a goldmine (or should I say toy-shop?) of items of young people's culture which feature classical antiquity. There is a lot on children's literature, but also games, toys, oral traditions and more. Each entry features the publication or creation details of the item, a summary, and an analysis of the item's use and representation of the ancient world. So search 'Odysseus', for example, to bring up all the books or young people's TV programmes featuring Odysseus, or search 'Ariadne', to explore all the many ways that heroine has been represented in material for young people. Some entries are for obviously classical items, such as the one I wrote for Tom Kindley's Heroes of the Night Sky. The Greek Myths Behind the Constellations, while others are for items with more subtle classical components, such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Each entry is written by someone with specialist knowledge and then double peer-reviewed, meaning they've been well-checked to keep the standard high. The database is free to use and more entries are being added all the time. Try exploring it yourself:


The database was launched at a meeting of the Our Mythical Childhood project at the University of Warsaw. Frequent readers of this blog will know that at Panoply we're busy making five new vase animations for Mythical Childhood. We gave a sneak peek presentation on the progress of three of the animations: Sappho 44. Hector and Andromache. A Wedding at Troy; Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar; and Iris – Rainbow Goddess. You'll be pleased to hear that they went down very well and we're really looking forward to showing you them in due course. We also made a visit to the National Museum of Poland in Warsaw, home of the vases we're animating. The renovation of the antiquities galleries is coming along well and will be well worth a trip to see come the grand reopening in Sept 2019.
Above, Panoply's animator, Steve, heading cheerily into the National Museum in Warsaw.

Above, Scenes from Sonya's presentation at the National Museum in Warsaw.

Another great delight of the trip was the awards ceremony for Antiquity-Camera-Action, a young people's antiquity-themed film competition held across Poland. Steve and I were proud to have been jurors on this competition and honoured to meet the talented young people who created some really impressive material. More on that in our next post.

Above, as well as winning a stack of books, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Antiquity-Camera-Action won laurel wreaths and Athena-Oscars!

The Mythical Childhood meeting also featured a wealth of presentations and workshops. I'll say more about it when I have a few more pictures. Suffice to say, thank-you to everyone who took part in the Panoply pottery and vase drawing workshop – great work all round. A shout out also to Roehampton's Helen Slaney and Susan Deacy for tremendous workshops on ancient dance and autism respectively. It was also a great pleasure to hear from University of Yaounde 1's Eleanor Dasi on myth and female cults in Cameroon, and Kunnej Takaahaj's presentation on Chyskhaan – the Lord of extreme cold who is experiencing a mythical renaissance in Siberia. Doctoral candidates and post-docs from the Faculty of Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw presented aspects of their research, including Anna Mik who shared her fascinating work on animals and other beasties in children's literature.

Above, some delightful material from the vase workshop; and Eleanor Dasi explaining female cults.... and lastly, since this is a vase appreciation site, a couple of shots of some top house decoration in Warsaw's Old Town...

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