#CA14 Nottingham – a two-paper booking on my PhD road show

A gratuitous picture of the beautiful Nottingham University campus, taken on my iPad mini

So … I’m just quickly reporting on my appearances at the Classical Association Conference held at the beautiful Nottingham University campus between 13th and 16th April 2014.

The conference was, as ever, a real treat.  Lots of old friends to catch up with and some really exciting new ones to share interests.  Plenty of wine to help the conversation flow too, whilst of course maintaining a keen intellectual focus on Classics in all its forms.

My involvement this year was in two newish areas which are gaining a solid foothold and increasing popularity at the event (as you will see from the number of live-tweets about each).  My first paper was given jointly with Dr James Robson, Head of Classical Studies at the Open University.  We have formed a very productive partnership working together on the Council of University Classics Departments Survey, and organising the very successful #iLeG conference in February.  Our double-act at Nottingham covered interim results for the survey, and exploration of the benefits and pitfalls of eLearning at the Open Uni.  This slotted into a two-part eLearning panel convened by @banatoli, aka Dr Bartolo Natoli, currently at University of Austin, Texas but soon to be at Randolf-Macon college, Virginia.  The panel ranged over various areas of research and practice in eLearning with honest assessment of successes and failures.  The atmosphere throughout was enthusiastic, happy and supportive.  A lovely, friendly group of people has gathered round this field and its future looks to me to be in excellent hands.  The Twitter community came out in force to support this, and their presence added a great deal to the collaborative feel of the gathering.  Here is a flavour of that involvement:

New Approaches to eLearning:
Part 1: [View the story “#CA14 eLearning Part I” on Storify]
Part 2: [View the story “#CA14 eLearning Part II” on Storify]

I was also part of a panel called ‘Defining Classical Scholarship: the Research / Teaching Interface’, convened by Dr Jonathan Eaton of Newcastle College.  Here, I did a solo paper called ‘Theory and Practice in Ancient Language Teaching in UK Universities’.  I spoke about the lack of a sound theoretical basis for some ancient language pedagogy and explored the possibilities of benefiting from engaging with modern language theories and practice.  This might help make ancient languages more accessible to a wider group of students and also enable Classicists to ‘read’ rather than ‘translate’ ancient texts.  I focussed on the possibility of using Latin actively and this provoked some lively debate from the audience.  The whole panel was really well-received and a clear joint message about the positive effects of connecting research with teaching emerged.  Again you can sense the enthusiasm and support from the twitter story:

Defining Classical Scholarship: The Research/Teaching Interface:
[View the story “#CA14 Defining Classical Scholarship” on Storify]
photo (1)
Another iPad mini image of the beautiful Nottingham campus

I was delighted to be in the company of some very erudite and energetic people on both panels and I enjoyed the experience immensely.  I will hope to be back for more at #CA15 and to see more new and enthusiastic faces emerging in my areas of research.  It has certainly enriched my PhD experience and reassured me of the value of my efforts.  Thanks Classical Association! Thanks Nottingham! Ad proximam!

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