Weekend Reading: All Meetings Should Involve Ice Cream

This week has felt very long indeed! When the final marking for all the modules hits at once it’s a bit of a nightmare. I don’t mind the marking itself at all (it’s lovely to see people completing their modules!); but it’s so endless and I get so focused that it squeezes out everything else. So the emails stack up, and the requests for extras, and the interviews, and the admin, and unimportant things like eating and sleeping…

But there have been some bright spots in the murk of this week. One was the arrival of my consolation prize for not quite winning the Antigone Competition – which turned out to be a fabulous addition to my collection of old books! Not only that, it had a verse dedication inside, addressed to me, which elevates it to even greater heights of Book Collector Perfection. So thank you to the lovely folks at Antigone for knowing me far too well…!

Another bright spot was an afternoon out with two lovely fellow classicists: Justine from Durham University and Steph from Newcastle. Between us, and with the involvement of Classics for All, we’re hoping to come up with ways to make Classics more accessible to people in the North East of England, in places where Classics is entirely absent. It was the first in-person meeting I’ve had in a year – and it involved ice-cream, which in my view should be a component of all future meetings!

A third happy thing was the announcement of my election to the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK, along with fellow OU classicist E-J Graham. I’m still a bit startled that anybody voted for me, to be honest! But I reckon it was less a vote for me, and more a vote for the statement I made about wanting to make online options and activities available post-pandemic. We’re all zoomed out now, and I for one am desperate to go back to stuffy meeting rooms with uncomfortable chairs and bad coffee, just to be around people… but the shift to online working has brought huge accessibility advantages which we shouldn’t just drop when they’re no longer needed by the majority.

Today, for instance, was the WCC AGM. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be able to go to such a thing; I couldn’t afford the travel costs, or the childcare, or to drop my work for the days it might take to get to and from the venue. It would simply be out of my reach. But today I walked my son to school, came back and attended the morning meeting and talk, used the lunch break to attend a CUCD EDI Committee meeting, went back to the WCC for the afternoon sessions, and logged off in time to pick my son up from school. And throughout most of that I got to wear comfy slippers and eat biscuits, and have my marking up on my second screen. The world has changed this year, and I’d like a few of the better changes to stick.

I’ve got a few other projects in the pipeline; several design projects, a Masterclass next month, a possible overseas trip, and a really big project which I’m hoping to get off the ground in the next couple of months. I’ll keep you updated, in case anything is of interest to the people who read this!

But that marking won’t do itself… and sooner or later I’m going to have to do some housework before the dust clumps come to life and start lecturing me…!

This week from around the Classical Internet


Pliny’s rescuer identified? – BBC

Mary Beard’s retirement present – BBC

Archaeologist training in Bradford – Yorkshire Post

More on Scarborough’s Roman finds – YorkshireLive

Comment and opinion

Gilgamesh and universal grief – Psyche

The good bits of Nero – The History Girls

The Colossus of Rhodes – The Historian’s Hut

Colour, reading and writing – History From Below

10 myth-inspired books – Publisher’s Weekly

Classics and white supremacist Metal bands – Pharos

Teeth of fallen soldiers – The Conversation

Vase animations and autistic children – Autism and Classical Myth

Catullus and book covers – Antigone

Islamic reception of Greek philosophy – Antigone

Helen and magic names – Antigone

Tacitus on the thrill of writing – Antigone

Podcasts, video and other media

Farewell to the Roman Achilles – The Partial Historians

David Lewis: Lost Slaves – The British School at Athens

Boudicca – Hares and Foxes – Ancient History Fangirl

Ancient Afghanistan – The Ancients

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