At the UROP Showcase this Wednesday, people from across the University and the wider community had the opportunity to learn about the work that 100+ students did as part of University of Reading’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, aka UROP. Each of the selected students was paid for a 6-week experience conducting real research for academics from across the University’s four themes. The three Classics projects noted below, working within the Heritage & Creativity theme, received funding and recruited select first- and second-year students to work with them. At the showcase each UROP student presented a poster explaining their research projects and discussed the results with interested persons.
In the Company of Monsters: New Visions, Ancient Myths.Shona Carter-Griffiths (shown above) and Megan Davies worked with Profs. Emma Aston and Andrew Mangham (English) in preparation of the labels and text for their exhibition currently on display at the Reading Museum, which project uses contemporary visual art to investigate the power of ancient mythology to engage modern audiences and to explore contemporary themes of identity and diversity.
Athenian Festival ware in the Ure Museum Lorena Rodriguez-Tunon (shown right) collected and analyses examples in Reading’s Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology of black-figure ceramics created and used as festival ware in ancient Athens. This was a testbed for a larger project for which Prof. Amy Smith and her collaborator Dr Katerina Volioti (Roehampton) are currently seeking funding.
Public interactions with Lowbury Hill. Working with Summer Courts and Prof. Amy Smith on the Mymerian Project (https://research.reading.ac.uk/mymerian/), Georgia Spriggs (left) gathered, analysed, and interpreted trends in modern and contemporary public perceptions of the archaeology and history of Lowbury Hill, Oxfordshire, through research in archives and print media, in preparation of a journal article on the subject. Stay tuned for this and other outputs!
When we popped by the showcase we caught we caught Dr Sally Fletcher from the British Museum interrogating Shona and Megan, while Georgia was discussing her project with Janice Galvin from the Alumni Office: she was particularly interested in Georgia’s work on Lowbury Hill because this year the University Alumni funded Georgia’s work! We are very proud of grateful to our students and delighted that they all found their research work so fulfilling. The UROP calendar has just begun again and staff are encouraged to dream up exciting projects on which students might research in Summer 2024.
Another highlight is the game pieces and other contents of the Stanway Doctor’s Grave, a first-century AD tomb discovered by archaeologists in Stanway, Essex, in 1996. (NB you may have heard that ‘Doctor’ referred also as ‘The Druid of Colchester’, for indeed it is unclear whether he was Celtic, Roman, or other, Druid or even doctor. Nontheless he was buried with a unique gameboard that still baffles experts. You can learn more about it with this video made by the Panoply Vase Animation Project (created with support from the University of Reading’s Friends and Arts Committee) and of course by visiting the exhibition in the Ure Museum!
We have planned several exciting activities and outreach events to coincide with this exhibition. All are welcome but please note that bookings are required for the first two events:
The British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, today announces the election of Ian Rutherford, our Professor of Classics at Reading, as a Fellow of the British Academy. He is one of 52 new UK Fellows who together exemplify a breadth of SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines. This prestigious accolade is due recognition of Ian’s prolific research in ancient Greek poetry, ancient religion, especially pilgrimage, and contact between early Greece and other cultures, particularly ancient Anatolia (Türkiye) and Egypt. He has published four monographs, nine (co-)edited volumes, and over 100 articles. A strong believer in the benefits of research-led teaching, Ian regularly teaches these subjects to our Department’s UG and PG cohorts.
Professor Ian Rutherford’s election gives Reading Classics two Fellows of the British Academy (FBA), the other being Professor Eleanor Dickey, making it the only Classics department outside Oxford and Cambridge to have more than one Fellow in post. While Reading’s Classics Department is relatively small—e.g. the smallest Classics unit submitted to the most recent REF—the presence of two FBAs in post is a strong indication of its research excellence and international recognition. The British Academy elects only one or two scholars per subject per year, after a rigorous evaluation from internationally recognised scholars in each discipline.
Congratulations to Ian for this well deserved recognition of his outstanding contributions to scholarship.