The proposed 4 day field trip to Rome for student participants of the “City of Rome” module in the Classics department at Warwick will allow students a unique to opportunity to experience and interact with the ancient sites of Rome as well as scholars and ongoing research projects in the city. This project is the first of its kind for this module but draws on my own experience in planning and running residential short courses at the British School at Rome (“BSR”). If it proves successful, we would endeavour to make it a regular component of this (biennial) module.
Site visits promote the concept of ‘Student as Researcher’, by offering direct interaction with the archaeological evidence and thereby disintermediating the commentary of secondary sources. By allowing the student to use her senses and her analytical skills in relation to the archaeological evidence in its original context, the site visits will help participants develop intellectual and personal confidence as well as a greater understanding of the analytical process.
The course will have an emphasis on asking participants to develop their own record of their direct interaction with the material evidence:-
- Each participant will keep an archaeological journal, including drawings & descriptions of buildings, texts and objects, and used in research exercises at the BSR. In addition to providing practical experience and an understanding of fieldwork methodology, these journals place students in a leadership position where they choose the objects of their own study and analysis.
- Participants will also be asked to make, present and record on-site video presentations, for their own benefit and those of their classmates, to illustrate the value of an ‘on site’ experience.
- Finally, the students will make a rubbing of an inscription, which will demonstrate not only a field technique but also the difficulties inherent in using this type of evidence.
These initiatives will have a common objective of developing students as scholars, who understand the process as well as the product of academic inquiry, including different modes of teaching and learning. A secondary but equally important objective will be to develop students personally by giving direct experience of preparation, summary and verbal presentation of complex concepts to a wide audience, skills which transcend the academic sphere.
The course will be based at the British School of Rome, and will consist of numerous site and museum visits during the day, but will also have 24-hour access to the excellent facilities of this institution. Tutorials in the library will illustrate how to use these facilities and catalogues for research (including online corpuses). Evening papers from leading academics at the BSR and the surrounding academies, including the Universita di Roma, will expose the students to international scholars and research projects. The dining (breakfast & dinner) at the BSR, attended by in-house scholars from numerous fields of art, literature, history and culture, expose students to a broader world of international and interdisciplinary scholars and initiatives.