I’m delighted to be launching the new blog of the Institute of Classical Studies (ICS). As the national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in Classics and related disciplines throughout the UK and abroad, we’re one of nine humanities research Institutes within the School of Advanced Study in London; the ICS plays host to a whole range of Classics-related events and activities. As well as holding regular seminar series and conferences the Institute is home to a number of research projects (with a particular strength in digital humanities); we also disseminate some of the latest research in Classics through our publications, and are home to a world-class specialist library which is run in partnership with the Hellenic and Roman Societies. In addition the ICS welcomes academic visitors and visiting fellows from around the world, as well as supporting a number of research associates who are at an early stage of their academic career in the UK. We’ll be using this blog as a way of sharing with you more about ICS people and projects; from time to time we’ll also be inviting colleagues from other institutions to talk about their research here too.
One important – and developing – area of the ICS’s remit is the sharing of university research in Classics with the wider public, and it’s this which will be my own particular focus during my time here, as I’ve recently taken up a new role as Public Engagement Fellow in Classics. I’m looking forward to discovering more about the mutual benefits which come from fostering conversations between researchers and those outside universities (for example through building partnerships with community groups, creative practitioners, schools and other organisations like museums and galleries); I’ll be reporting back here on some of the projects and people I encounter along the way. You can read more about the way in which public engagement features more widely within the work of the School of Advanced Study here; one key element of this is the annual Being Human festival, which is the UK’s only national humanities festival. I’ll be talking to colleagues on the Being Human team to learn more about what the key ingredients are for successful engagement projects.
I’m also working to find ways in which the ICS can support academics elsewhere in the UK who want to do more to engage the public with their own research; one recent development here has been our launch of a seed fund which offers small grants to facilitate classically-themed engagement projects. Meanwhile I’m currently putting together the programme for a workshop day to allow researchers to share the public-facing elements of their work with one another, and to discuss their ideas for engagement activities based on their research. Watch this space for more details.
In addition, I’ll be arranging a series of public events hosted by the ICS; for a taste of the kinds of things we’ll be doing take look at the coverage of our recent public event ‘Why do we need monsters?’ There’s a video available here, and you can also read the Storify of tweets relating to the event; we’ll be sharing more news on the blog soon about ways in which we’ll be continuing the conversation about classical monsters which began at the event.
You’ll find regular news updates on the blog about our work – do consider subscribing if you’d like to be notified whenever we post something new. You can also follow us on Twitter @IcsDirector. See you again soon!
by Emma Bridges
(Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)