The second East End Classics Summer School at Wadham College, University of Oxford, took place on Monday 25th – Friday 29th August 2014. Over 40 students from across London applied to attend the Summer School – 23 students were selected from BSix Sixth Form College, Newham New Vic Sixth Form College, Havering Sixth Form College, Leyton Sixth Form College, Greig City Academy, Mossbourne Community Academy and Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form and attended the summer school at Wadham College.
The Classics Summer School began with a lecture by Dr Stephen Heyworth, who delivered an introduction to Classics and to the main texts which were studied at the Summer School (with a special focus on ancient Greek drama, especially Aeschylus’ Persians and Aristophanes’ Archarnians), as well as an examination of Roman poetry in the Augustan Age, including an introduction to the Virgil’s Aeneid. The theme of the Summer School for 2014 was ‘race and ethnicity in the ancient world’ and many of the lectures and seminars centred around this theme, including Mr Chris Mallan’s lecture entitled ‘Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans’, which examined ancient constructions of notions about the Germans, and Professor Chris Pelling’s seminar entitled, ‘Herodotus the Racist?’, on Greek constructs of ‘others.’ Dr Peter Thonemann delivered an excellent lecture about racial stereotypes in Greek art, while Dr Llewelyn Morgan presented a lecture entitled, ‘Juvenal on Not being Roman’, which examined attitudes towards non-Romans in satire. Ms Lucia Nixon presented a seminar entitled, ‘Whose Past is it Anyway?’ looking at gender bias throughout history.
Students had the opportunity to learn ancient Greek and attended ancient Greek classes every day and by the end of the week were translating passages of Classical Greek. In order to give students a taste of student life at Oxford and university life in general, they had to complete a tutorial essay and received a one-to-one tutorial after completing their essay, replicating the tutorial system at Oxford.
Activities also included a visit to the Ashmolean Museum and a workshop there, as well as a visit to the famous G & D’s ice cream parlour. Students had an opportunity to attend a Higher Education Workshop about Classics admissions and the process of applying to study Classics and related subjects at university. The Summer School concluded with a formal dinner in Wadham Hall and a Prize-giving ceremony.
One of the students commented that the Summer School “has enabled me to get into Classics and ancient history; doing the reading and the essay assignment has helped me to prepare for A2 (A-levels) and for university, especially getting used to reading lists, research and writing essays.” Another student told us that, “The ancient Greek classes were the best part of the Summer School – I have studied a bit of Latin but I have found ancient Greek much easier. I think learning Greek will help with learning more Latin in the future.”
For the gallery of the summer school visit the BSix Facebook gallery here