Britain's biggest Classics conference heads for Leicester

Posted by ap507 at Apr 05, 2018 04:25 PM |
University hosts renowned speakers at Classical Association Conference

Issued by the University of Leicester on 5 April

The largest annual gathering of classicists in the UK is to take place at the University of Leicester.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will be among the distinguished guest speakers at the annual Classical Association Conference, which the University is hosting for the first time since 1964.

The School of Archaeology & Ancient History is facilitating the four-day Conference, between Friday 6-Monday 9 April. It draws academics, students, and schoolteachers from across the country and from overseas. This year organisers have achieved a record number of over 480 participants, around 430 coming from outside Leicester.

The Classical Association (founded 1903) is the most important association for Classical subjects in the UK and one of the most active in the world, with some 30 local branches in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and parallel branches under the Classical Association of Scotland (founded 1902). It bridges the gap between universities and schools; publishes several of the leading research journals in Classics; funds major research projects; and organizes programmes of lectures as well as the Conference.

The School of Archaeology & Ancient History has nearly 30 academic staff of whom 9 are ancient historians and 8 are archaeologists with ancient Mediterranean interests. This makes us one of the largest Classical world teaching and research units outside London, Oxford, and Cambridge. The School is also home to University of Leicester Archaeological Services, the field archaeology unit which discovered Richard III in 2012.

Professor Graham Shipley, Professor of Ancient History at the University, said: “The hub of the conference will be the Sports Hall in the Charles Wilson Building, where around twenty Classical publishers and booksellers from around the world will be exhibiting their publications. The recently discovered Stibbe Mosaic (the largest stretch of Roman mosaic found in Leicester since the 19th century) will be on display, together with exhibits of works of art and essays from schoolchildren across the UK and beyond. We will also be showcasing work by Classics clubs in local schools belonging to the Lionheart Trust, with whom we are working in partnership with the charity Classics for All.

“Some of the artworks were designed as entries for our Artefact to Art competition and the Schools Essay Competition run by the Organizing Committee. These will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on Saturday evening chaired by Dr Naoíse Mac Sweeney, director of the Artefact to Art programme. These are linked to the School of Archaeology & Ancient History’s Classics and Archaeology Outreach programme, directed by Dr Sarah Scott (National Teaching Fellow) and generously funded by Classics for All. The School has recently been designated a Regional Hub for CfA.

“We are pleased to have this fantastic opportunity to publicize the work of the School of Archaeology & Ancient History and its staff and students.”

As well as more than 200 academic research papers and teaching-related talks and workshops between Saturday morning and Monday lunchtime, distinguished guest speakers include:

  • Dr Rowan Williams, FBA, this year’s president of the Classical Association (Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury), speaking on Sunday evening about identities in post-Roman Britain
  • Caroline Lawrence, noted author of mystery novels about the Roman world, speaking at the Association Dinner on Sunday about her writing
  • Professor John Matthews, FBA (Hon. D.Litt. Leicester), emeritus professor of ancient history at Yale University, who grew up in Leicester and will be lecturing on Friday evening about ancient biography
  • Professor Clive Ruggles, FRAS, FSA, emeritus professor of archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology & Ancient History, talking about ancient Greek views of the cosmos on Saturday evening
  • Nicholas Cooper, FSA (University of Leicester Archaeological Services), lecturing on Roman Leicestershire on Saturday evening


Notes to editors:

Please note this event is not open to the public

Organizing Committee

Professor Graham Shipley, professor of ancient history, SAAH (chair)

Dr Mary Harlow, associate professor of ancient history, SAAH (programme coordinator)

Dr Naoíse Mac Sweeney, associate professor of ancient history, SAAH (treasurer)

Dr Nikki Rollason, teaching fellow in ancient history, SAAH (administrator)

Mr Richard Lambe, Leicester Conferences

Mr Gus Dinn, operations manager, SAAH


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