It’s been a long time since I wrote a Friday post. Not by choice… pressure of work has just made it impossible to pull something together most weeks. I’ve been neglecting my emails too, so if you’ve contacted me via the website lately I do apologise – I’ll get there eventually.
But right now I’m sitting on a train. I’ve been on this train for three and a half hours, and I’m only halfway to my destination. About an hour ago I learned that the trainees from Catterick Garrison start their leave today. Everyone else on the carriage learned this too. In their defence, they’re a friendly bunch, and getting steadily friendlier with every can.
So I have the luxury of writing a blog post, from my seat by the window, as chaos rages around me and many songs are being sung in tribute to various passengers on the train (I expect my time to come very soon).
I’m off to Swansea for the Classical Association conference, and it’s really quite exciting. I’ve never been to a big in-person conference before (I’ve never been to Swansea either), so I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m doing, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
I’m going to join the Neurodiverse Classics panel, which has lots of different aspects to it. First we put together a series of pre-recorded videos, which you can watch here:
Does this count as Weekend Reading? Maybe I should change my title to Weekend Viewing, just this once…
Our panelists are talking in the videos about what it’s like to study Classics as a neurodivergent student; how we can build consideration for neurodiversity into our teaching; and what we can do to make the discipline more welcoming to neurodiversity. We’re interested in making constructive connections, by talking about what would make things better for everybody.
As part of that, we’re welcoming comments and suggestions: so if any of the videos spark a thought or idea, please do leave a comment on the video’s page! We really wanted to open this up to everyone, not just to conference attendees, so your involvement would be very welcome.
On Sunday (2-4pm) we’ll be convening a hybrid panel (part in person, part online) to talk about the videos and the comments, in the hope that we can make more connections and generate more ideas. This discussion will be part of the conference; but hopefully we’ll be able to extend it to Twitter to make it more public.
Throughout the conference we’ll also be staffing a table, to share ideas and answer questions more casually with anyone who wants to know more about neurodiversity.
It’s a privilege to be involved in this, with some really inspiring people. Also it’s pretty exciting to be heading into an academic situation where I don’t actually have to pretend to be neurotypical! If people give me funny looks for being overenthusiastic or saying something weird, I can simply point to the table representing us neurodivergent folk. It will have glitter.
I’ll be taking many photos and notes, and will do my best to write a full conference report next week, from the point of view of a complete conference newbie. That’s assuming I make it safely to Swansea without being drafted into the army…
There’s been a lot going on that I haven’t had a chance to fill you in on, and I still don’t have full details. But I can let you know that I’ll be involved in launching a new branch of the Classical Association, called the Hadrian’s Wall CA. It will be an online hub for public Classics in the North, and will also run a programme of in-person events which will be open to anyone with an interest in Classics. Our President will be Professor Edith Hall, who has recently returned to Durham, and who is a tremendous force for good in the area of outreach and open access.
We’re launching in September, with a big event. I don’t know what the event will be, or where, or exactly when, but when I do, I’ll share all the information here. There’ll also be lots of scope for people to get involved in organisational roles – so I’ll no doubt be asking for help too!
Things have gone quiet in my carriage now. After spilling a can over somebody else’s table, several of the lads have headed off to find something to mop it up with; others have headed for the toilet; and I can hear all kinds of fun and games going on in Coach F. But quiet has descended upon me, broken only by a group of strangers at the table in front of me bonding over biscuit preferences (shortbread briefly divided opinion, but chocolate digestives have them back on safer ground).
So I will try to grab a quick nap – and will be back with a full report next week!