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Seeing, experiencing, doing: Learning the methods of ancient art through performance and participation

Photo of Zahra NewbyThis fellowship is being used to redesign and run a pilot version of the existing module 'Art and Architecture in Asia Minor', incorporating a series of guest lectures and practical sessions focussing on the techniques and practicalities of ancient art, including stone carving, fresco painting, bronze casting and building techniques. Through access to specialist knowledge and active participation students will gain an in-depth understanding of the constraints and practicalities of the production of ancient art which will complement their study of artistic development and iconography. This pilot year is designed to test out the possibilities of a range of different workshops and site visits, to see which are most effective in encouraging participative learning. The aim is to integrate practical and academic learning and to encourage collaborative learning. It draws on the model of open-space learning to offer a space in which the traditional barrier between lecturer and students is broken down and all become active and equal participants in a collaborative learning experience. My own expertise lies in the interpretation and contextualisation of ancient art; in this pilot year I will place myself alongside my students as a participant in practical workshops led by experienced craftspeople, aiming to challenge and broaden my own understanding of ancient art, as well as that of my students. The project will also embrace the different skills and aptitudes of students, drawing on their creative potential as well as their intellectual skills.

Dr Zahra Newby is Assistant Professor (Reader) in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. Her research and teaching interests focus on Greek and Roman art, and the roles played by visual culture in the history and society of the Roman Empire.