Welcome to Classics and Class. Today the website goes live! C&C is an AHRC-funded project based at King’s College, London, and led by Edith Hall. Its primary aim is to present and amplify the lost voices of British working-class men and women who engaged with ancient Greek and Roman culture throughout the period between the French revolution and the second world war. We intend to show the richness and diversity of the responses to ancient Greece and Rome among those who are often considered to have been excluded from it. By presenting their stories now, via our growing archive of “classical encounters”, we also hope that their example may inspire a more inclusive atmosphere for participation in classical culture across society today, when the increasing cost of university education in Britain has made it even more urgent to explore the popular perception of Classics as an elitist subject available only to the rich and privileged. You can find out more about the project by visiting the ‘about us’ section HERE, where you will also be able to meet our tireless advisory board. Many of them have already provided invaluable support and guidance, as well as their own brilliant research into related areas of classical reception which have fundamentally shaped the evolution of the project so far.
I’m Henry Stead, the post-doc Research Associate on the project, and I’m going to be keeping you up-to-date with the project’s progress and regaling you, once in a while, with sooty tales from the archival coal face.
So, what is it that we’re launching today? Well, the best way to find out might simply be to head straight to the site and start exploring. But before you go — I’d just to let you know that there’s still plenty of room for improvement — so we’ll be extremely grateful for any feedback on your ‘browsing experience’. Some parts of the website are still under construction, for example, the Learning portal, which will before too long provide a hoard of resources for Higher Education and Secondary-school level teachers and students. The ‘Watch+Listen’ section is also still waiting for its first interview. Here interviews with experts, creative practitioners and enthusiasts about select encounters will be posted. These interviews will help visitors gain a more in-depth understanding of some of the most important and interesting social-class inflected encounters with classical culture, and simply provide another way to engage with the material we’re collecting.
While we’re focusing on class-conscious engagements with classical culture in Britain between 1789 and 1939, we are also collecting material from outside of these parameters. This is so that we can reach more people and also learn much from encounters in other times, cultures and lands. I came across my first 2013 encounter just the other night and quite by chance when I went to see Janice Okoh’s Three Birds at the Bush Theatre, London. You can read the encounter between the 9-year-old Tanika and the shapeshifting Proteus HERE — but please be warned if you’re thinking about seeing the show do not read this now because it contains plot spoilers. The play runs until 20th April 2013 at the Bush, so there’s still time to see it.
I hope you enjoy your first exploration of the C&C archive! If you would like to receive notice of new blog posts please email me and I’ll put you on the mailing list. And if you’ve got any encounters between ancient Greece and Rome that raise issues about social class up your sleeve please do not hesitate to send them in!