By Polly Toney
After a long hiatus, the Birmingham and Midlands Classical Association is back and ready for (antiquity related) business! With strong links to the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, the re-formed BMCA plans to provide support and inspiration for teachers of classical languages, literature and history from around the region.
What better way to start proceedings than a re-launch lecture with Lindsey Davis, historical novelist and former President of the Classical Association. The event, which took place on the evening of the 13th October, was well received by all, as Lindsey kept everyone thoroughly entertained with anecdotes from her life as a writer, including her annual visit to Rome which she dutifully takes for research. They do say that you must suffer for your art!
In the pipeline for the forthcoming year are a Latin Teachers Network, Sixth Form Conference and Percy Jackson-themed Classics Quest.
Starting in January 2012, we plan on bringing together Latin teachers from across the region to share their experiences, trials and tribulations, hopefully as a means to strengthen the support network for the teaching of classical language in schools. A kind of ‘match.com’ for Latinists, if you will. Inspired by the success of the Cambridge School Classics Project in helping non-specialist Latin teachers to set up extra-curricular language clubs we also hope to encourage non-Latinists to be a part of the Network and to set up their own Latin Clubs, learning along with their pupils.
10th March 2012 will see what we hope will become our annual Sixth Form Conference take place at the University of Birmingham. With lectures by academics from across the country, the event will cater for those taking A-Level Latin and A-Level Classical Civilisation. At the moment the programme is only provisional, however, we anticipate that for the A-Level Latinists the topics covered will be Cicero (In Verrem 2), Ovid (Amores 3) and Tacitus (Annals 14), whilst for the A-Level Classical Civilisation-ers there will be sessions on Greek Comedy, Greek Art and Architecture as well as Greek Tragedy. Towards the close of the day, all students will be brought together for a talk on Virgil, finally rounding the event off with a discussion of classical reception, Classics and Film.
The Percy Jackson Classics Quest is in the very early stages of planning, however, we can promise that whatever its final format, the day will provide much classics-related fun for those involved.
In the meantime, we hope to have our own Birmingham and Midlands CA blog and Facebook page up and running before Christmas and will be launching a competition for pupils to design our new logo.
Polly is a postgraduate student at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. For more details of branch activities, both in Birmingham and across the UK, see the branches page of the CA website here.