BSix is the site of the East End Classics Centre. Located in the Red Room with its own Library and Garden of the Ancient World, the aim of the Centre -supported by a range of partners like universities, Classics for All and the Iris Project-is to promote the study of Classics among teachers and young people in the East End of London. The Centre is led by Dr Crystal Addey who has taught at the Universities of Bristol and Wales and is the author of a forthcoming book on Platonism.
The Centre was recently launched at a spectacular event hosted by University College London. It was opened by Jules Mann of Classics for All. Her opening address outlining the aims of the Centre was followed by four lectures. Edith Hall, of the Department of Classics King’s College London, treated us to a romp through 20 productions of Greek plays in London since 1566.She described how these productions had a changing purpose and appeal over time until, by the early twentieth century, they had become vehicles for political protest.
Maria Wyke then took us though the representation of the ancient world in Hollywood films. She explained how films like ‘Spartacus’ (1960) and ‘Cleopatra’ (1963) used the ancient world to give out messages about the contemporary world. However, cinema can not only convey messages but also it can draw you into another world like Antiquity.
Catharine Edwards of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College London, pursed the theme of weaving and female story-telling in Homer’s ‘Aradne’. Xavier Murray-Pollock of the Iris Project explained that, up to now, they had worked mainly with primary schools but now had the ambition to engage 20 new schools with Classics. Dr Crystal Addey then rounded off the proceedings with thanks to all the lecturers, supporters of the Centre and to the host, University College London
“This is such an exciting project. The Classics and classical history are such fascinating subjects and we want all young people to discover and engage with them”, added Dr Addey.” It is our ambition for the Centre to promote the importance and value of a classical education to all young people in London”.