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Students as Researchers at the British Museum

Photo of Alison CooleyRoman Culture and Society is the core module in the Department of Classics and Ancient History which is used for skills training for the first years during the autumn term, when the lectures incorporate a reflective and practical session on a different aspect of study skills each week. Through this IATL grant, we shall extend this training aspect of the module further, encouraging the students to develop new transferrable skills and to foster their own research interests.

Students and staff involved in teaching the module will visit the major exhibition 'Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum' at the British Museum in May 2013. This will neatly complement the content of much of the module, where the artefacts of Pompeii and Herculaneum are used as case studies for a variety of topics, including economy, family structures, slavery, burial, public spectacles, and religion. As well as visiting the exhibition, the students will be given the opportunity to engage with what they have seen afterwards, to encourage them more actively to think about the artefacts on display in the museum and to work together collaboratively after the trip in order to engage actively in a research project of their own. On their return to campus, the students will be given two weeks to design an A3 poster discussing one artefact, or a group of artefacts, and what they can tell us about an aspect of Roman Culture and Society. The posters will be submitted anonymously and judged by a panel of students from the other years in the department alongside the academic staff module leader and one other member of staff. Students producing the two winning posters will receive a copy of the exhibition catalogue each as a prize, and the winning posters will be uploaded to the departmental website.

Dr Alison Cooley is Reader in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. She has published extensively on Pompeii, and is involved in an OCR inset day to accompany the British Museum exhibition next spring. More information is available on her staff page.