Reading students enjoy the opportunity to teach Minimus Latin

In June Alex Keane, Karim Bhaluani and I attended a Minimus training day. For those who don’t know, Minimus is a book that brings the joy of Latin to the primary classroom. Karim and I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity of teaching Minimus to a lively home schooled group, whereas Alex will be teaching in a local primary school next academic year.

We were delighted to meet Barbara Bell and the team that created Minimus to learn not just how to teach it, but also the story behind it.  It was truly inspirational to see how Barbara Bell, upon visiting the Roman site at Vindolanda, created the entire story around evidence found there. Listening to this creative process was a fantastic way to learn how to engage the pupils when going through the course and some of the thinking processes involved when attempting to reconstruct the past. We were also treated to an example of a very interactive first lesson, with emphasis on inclusion, pronunciation and drama.

The resources of the Minimus course are simply astounding and we found out about some great ideas such as singing ‘Senex MacDonald’ (Old MacDonald had a farm), as I’m sure the Classics Department heard some days ago in the resources room. The whole day was a great experience on how to teach Minimus, Latin and primary school children in general with a whole plethora of old and new teachers sharing their own experiences.”

Rachael Hopley

Ure Move: young curators at the Ure Museum

Ure Move, the latest of a series of projects curated by local secondary school pupils, under the tutelage of University of Reading undergraduates, celebrated its conclusion last Saturday with the Grand Opening of a new exhibition. The event hosted by the Ure Museum and the Department of Classics and funded by Universities UK as part of Universities Week 2014 has been an occasion for giving thanks to all of the participants in the project.

In a series of 18 workshops during the Spring term, both in the Museum and at the local schools — Kendrick, Maiden Erlegh and Addington  — the Ure Museum’s Student Panel engaged with pupils in the curation of the Museum’s collection. The University students have used knowledge and skills gained from their various areas of study (Classics, Archaeology, Business, Fine Art, Psychology, etc.) and a fresh approach to education to inspire the pupils of local schools to innovate in bringing the ancient world to life. The resulting creations — animations, an iPad application and other related artworks — engage visitors with new and original interpretations of the collection. The involvement of the panel in Ure Move has touched every aspect of the project, from the planning to the design of posters, supporting pupils during workshops and making voice recordings for the iPad application.

This is the third yearly project in which students and pupils have worked together in curating the Ure collection. In the first two — Ure View (2011-12) and Ure Discovery (2012-13), funded by Arts Council England as part of the Stories of the World Project, the use of animations to express pupils’ ideas wowed visitors far and wide. The animations, realised by digital artist Steve Simons, are all viewable on

In Ure Move this year the student panel, responding to feedback from the previous years, put more emphasis on the active participation of the pupils not only in the planning of the animations — drawing story-­boards and writing scripts—but also in their realisation, using stop-motion animation technology. Their creations explain in a narrative and immediate way the pupils’ reinterpretations and the digital tablet application gives an interactive experience of curatorship to the visitor.

Continuing collaboration with the iMuse project of a local charity, AACT (, enabled the use of iPads for Ure Move — also positively received by visitors to Ure Discovery as way of bringing visitors inside the collection and allowing them to view the animations alongside the artefacts and related museum information. The expertise and enthusiasm of Annette Haworth, trustee of that charity and visiting fellow of the University of Reading, enabled a focus on accessibility and also involvement of the Addington School, a special needs school, in this project. The Student Panel also encouraged Ure Move pupil participants to use media and techniques of their own choice to creatively express their interpretations of the collection and their involvement in the project. As well as painting and sculpture, they used also videos, voice recordings and photos.

The iPad application and the other art works of the pupils will be displayed in an exhibition in the University of Reading Main Library, from Tuesday 17th June 2014 through the end of August. The Ure Move exhibition will also move (!) to other locations. The Museum has been invited by arts charity JELLY ( to have a pop-up exhibition of Ure Move at Reading Revival, a Reading town centre arts event the first weekend of July. Look for dates and locations of this and other pop-up exhibitions on the Ure Museum website, facebook page and twitter feed. The project Blog gives some insight into the making of the animations.

Guja Bandini

Athens 2014 Study Trip

Going to Athens has been one of the highlights of my time so far at University. The trip combined academia and socialising to create a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable experience.

One of the first things we did was dine in a local taverna in the evening. In doing so we experienced a slice of typical Greek life. The food throughout our brief time in Greece was always of a high quality, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course not the entire trip was eating and relaxing, hard study and learning had to be done (as well as a fair amount of walking!).

On day two we went to the Acropolis Museum. Being able to view Ancient Greek sculptures in person, after studying them for years, brought the whole thing to life. I was taken aback by the beauty of the caryatids. Later that day we went up Philopappou Hill, this optional climb was a must to see the incredible views of Athens.

On Wednesday, day 3, the stand out activity was visiting the ancient site of the Acropolis. We got to see the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. The main reason I enjoyed this so much was because of my avid interest in Ancient Greek architecture, but I would challenge anyone not to be amazed by the sheer beauty of the temples here.

The following day we went to Thorikos. By now you may be getting the impression that the trip consisted of a lot of climbing. Whilst it is true that we were active for a lot of our time in Greece the gains from these incredible views far surpassed the exhaustion of the excursion its self. The second hill we visited that day, Sounion, was much smaller. More importantly it is the site of Poseidon’s Temple, as well as having incredible views of the sea. This temple for me was the most aesthetically pleasing, and the fact that it was situated close to ground level was appreciated by my tired legs.

On our final full day in the afternoon we got a hands on session in the museum at the British School of Athens. Mr Robert Pitt, the director, allowed us to handle some of the artefacts in their sublime collection. On our last evening we had a group meal where we reflected on the incredible experiences we had shared throughout this trip.

My thoughts on the final day as we travelled home were positive for my whole time in Athens. I made lots of new friends on my course as well as getting closer to those I already had. Whilst my legs do not miss the walking, I certainly miss Athens!

(Text – Rose Lloyd; Photos – Kelly van Doorn)

Fellowship in New York awarded to Doctoral Researcher, Laura Robson

Former Reading doctoral student, Dr. Laura Robson, who obtained her PhD in 2013, has been awarded a prestigious Helfand Fellowship in the History of Medicine and Public Health at the New York Academy of Medicine.

Laura, who was also an undergraduate in Classics at Reading, will spend a month in New York exploring how sixteenth-century medical works used images and texts from Andreas Vesalius’ anatomical treatise, the Fabrica.

She will use Geminus’s Compendiosa (1545) and Raynalde’s translation of The byrth of mankynde (1545) to demonstrate the complex relationship between anatomical image and text and to unite the history of the book with the history of the representation of the body.

Many congratulations to Laura!