This week, you may have heard about the Resonate festival being run by the Warwick Institute of Engagement at Warwick University. Resonate 2022 is a principal partner of Coventry City of Culture 2022, as three days of events across different departments, with plenty of different activities, guest speakers and performers!
I was lucky enough to get to help out with the Resonate Festival. The Classics and Ancient History department along with the Warwick Classics Network hosted a day of activities, themed around Roman Coventry, and Roman Cookery. Honestly, it was so exciting to see people learning about the subject that I love. Classics is quite a small department and in the past people have been quick to label the subject as not being for them, based on old-fashioned stereotypes. So, it was amazing to see the next generation of young children learning about the subject, and their excitement about the subject.
We had all sorts going on throughout the day- from live cookery showcasing Roman recipes to mosaic making, coin displays and symposia. I spent the day teaching people how to make Roman-inspired pots from clay. Truth be told, we think I made around 15/20 snake-style pots as demonstrations to showcase what we were aiming for. It’s fair to say my hands ended up covered in clay, but it was fully worth it.
Something I’m really passionate about is public engagement, which is quite similar to outreach work. It’s about bringing communities together, sharing research, and inspiring the next generation. So, getting to spend my day teaching people who may never have heard of the subject before was an incredible experience.
The department was so busy throughout the day, we seemed to have a non-stop flow of visitors coming to learn more. As with everything in life, each individual had their own different experience and knowledge of classics so far. Some came to us having never come across the subject before, others were massive enthusiasts and every level in between. Our goal was to give people an insight into what Classics is, why it’s fun, and why they should want to learn more. In my opinion, we had such a great variety of things on offer, that I think people really will have got an amazing insight into this.
It wasn’t just Classics at Resonate though! There was such a great variety of activities from all different departments. From robot dogs to aerial silks and circus skills, fartology shows to fake news, the variety was crazy impressive. Wandering around campus, you could feel the excitement in FAB and Occulus, where shows were being held. Seeing the wonder on people’s faces as they moved around, discovering the different surprises around each corner was truly incredible.
I won’t lie, it was quite a long tiring day. But, it was absolutely worth it for the experience I got, and the experience I got to share. I have no doubt that Resonate and the experiences provided got that day will have inspired at least one more child to want to learn more, and left countless others with positive interactions with amazing subjects that they’d never have heard of before. Overall, that sounds like a job well done to me.