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Student Spotlight August 2017

Kathryn Thompson

"I am delighted to have won a WATE PGR Award for my work in Outreach and Widening Participation. This work has been an aspect of my PhD experience that I have enjoyed hugely since I occupied the role of departmental Outreach Assistant during the first year of my studies, so it is lovely to be recognised for doing something that I actually get a lot of pleasure and fulfilment from!


The Sutton Trust Summer School, which ran for the first time in July 2016, is an important and exciting programme, and Classics really paved the way last year as the only arts/humanities subject stream on offer. The Sutton Trust Summer Schools are free, subject-specific residential courses for Year 12/Lower Sixth (or S5 in Scotland or equivalent) students from UK state-maintained schools. The summer schools are designed to provide academically-able students from non-privileged backgrounds with the opportunity to experience life at a leading university.


The subject experience offered by our team aims to provide an innovative and stimulating insight into the value of studying Classics and Ancient History at university. Much of the course seeks to highlight the continuing relevance of studying the ancient world to the questions, problems and debates which occupy modern day culture and society. As part of this, we also look to convey the distinctiveness of studying this subject at Warwick in particular, by introducing the students to the areas of research and pedagogy that we as a department are especially strong in. These include Digital Humanities, interdisciplinarity, unique and pioneering research into visual and material culture, and student-lead research and learning.


This year’s summer school, taking place from 7th-11th August, will be no exception. The programme purposefully utilises a variety of task styles and more ‘unexpected’ frameworks for learning – from using floorspace outside of the classroom to organise large pictures of classical reception into different categories, to holding a whole-class debate on whether we can define ‘Love’ based on ancient philosophical principles, or working in small groups to make A1-size academic posters on their own research and give accompanying oral presentations. We also prioritise the handling of ancient artefacts, making full use of the departmental numismatic and vase collections - even holding our seminar on Greek pottery in the manner of an ancient symposium, in order that environment, seating, and activities introspectively mirror the very material being explored. This year’s event will also see the use of virtual-reality software to get up close with ancient coinage, as well as virtual reconstructions of ancient cityscapes to ‘explore’ urban space and architecture.


Ultimately, this programme is all about pushing both those who have and those who haven’t had the opportunity to study either Classics or Ancient History before to go beyond the traditional school syllabus - in terms of content, methodology and independency of learning - and showing these students that they do indeed have what it takes to be successful at university.

• No previous knowledge/formal study of the ancient world required. Students do NOT need to have studied Latin or Ancient Greek.
• The programme is completely free of charge. The Sutton Trust and the university will meet all costs incurred by students, including travel to and from the summer schools, food and accommodation, and all trips and activities.
• For further information on the summer school, including instructions on how to apply, see the Warwick Summer School website:
http://warwick.ac.uk/wstss - or contact outreach@warwick.ac.uk (024 7657 3555). Applications for the 2018 programme will open in January 2018.
• For the report and photographs of last year’s summer school, please visit:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/classics/research/outreach/suttontrustsummerschool/"

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