33rd JACT Latin Summer School, Wells Cathedral School
‘The JACT Latin Summer School has been an amazing experience … translating Lucan Book VII has been challenging but that only made it more rewarding when we finished it. It has also been an amazing opportunity to meet friends who are equally passionate about Classics’ Danielle Carrington (age 17)
The 33rd Latin summer school once again took place at Wells Cathedral School, Somerset. This year 128 students attended the two week course, which was bigger than last year and overall the third largest summer school. Our traditional spread of ages continued, with the youngest being 14 and the oldest being 57. The summer school continues to have an international flavour with students from Luxembourg, Paris, Krakow and Brooklyn. This year we were pleased that over a quarter of students were from the state sector, showing that the summer school is providing opportunities to those from a variety of different educational backgrounds. We also continue to appeal to and provide for students studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
‘Without exaggeration, the Latin Summer School has been one of the best experiences of my life. The people here, both the staff and fellow students, are fantastic. We have been grouped according to ability which has enabled the tutors to maintain a fast paced, intensive programme that has exposed us to an enormous quantity of linguistic concepts’ Miranda Stocks (age 20)
1. Staff and teaching
This year the team included several old hands: Charlie Paterson, David Moyes, Dick Mowbray, Luke Bastin, Lindsey Cullen, and Sarah McNee. However, this did mean that we were able to invite some fresh talent to the tutor team. The University of Liverpool’s Dr Amy Coker, who last year delivered a lecture, decided to risk committing to a fortnight rather than just an evening. We were very pleased to have her and her performance as Erronius in the staff play proves that cross dressing in ancient theatre works both ways! Robert Grant from Nottingham High School also joined us for the first time as did Francesca Wade, who recently graduated from Oxford. We were also pleased to have Olivia Upchurch, an ex-student of the summer school, who starts her teaching career at Brighton College this year. Also joining the team for the first time was Laura Snook and Ellie Nicoll returned to us after a break of a couple of years. Once again we had a new assistant, Emily Strang, who kept us extremely well-organised and the summer school would certainly not have been such a success without her hard work and support.
‘I decided to go to Latin Camp as opportunities such as this are not available in my school. Neither Latin nor Classics are taught, therefore I was intrigued to come here and try something new. I have really enjoyed my experience here; the tutors are really supportive, the people are lovely and I would strongly recommend the course to anyone who would be interested.’ Annapurna Austin (age 15)
This year we had 14 teaching groups including the usual beginners groups (with one group out of the three aimed at Oxbridge students); there was one ‘Pre-GCSE’ group; 2 post-GCSE groups. Post-AS continues to be our largest demographic along with the beginners students. As usual the number of students who attended having learnt Latin off-timetable was especially noticeable and I am pleased that the summer school has been able to continue to contribute to their progress. Our most exciting development this year was the introduction of a group specially aimed at students who were about to embark on their PGCE and a career in Classics teaching. This is an area which we would very much like to develop. The grammar clinics were once again divided into ‘Basic’ and ‘Advanced’ and were organised in an order and format which would help as many students as possible.
‘I have been inspired by the variety of teaching and lecturing I have experienced as one of the students starting the Classics PGCE in September. I have found the lessons extremely useful, and feel the Latin Summer School has been an important first step in my career as a Classics teacher.’ Anisah Hussain (age 23)
We were very lucky to welcome back so many familiar faces for the series of evening lectures. In keeping with tradition, Anthony Bowen gave the first talk andtaught us how to pronounce Latin properly. This year we felt the absence of Professor Matthew Leigh, but hope to welcome him back next year. Dr. Llewelyn Morgan (Brasenose College, Oxford) explained Why Juvenal is Despicable and Why We Have to Read Him. Dr Amy Coker (Liverpool University) who was now on the ‘home team’ delivered her lecture on Ancient Impoliteness: How to make enemies and alienate people in ancient Rome and Greece. On Sunday evening, Dr John Smith once again provided us with a fascinating insight into the life of a Roman Legionary in south west England. Stephen Bird prepared us for our trip to Bath with a talk on Aquae Sulis and as always his support was vital to the success of the trip itself. This year we extended the visit to Bath to an afternoon and an evening, which provided students with the chance to explore the culture, history and shopping of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Dr. Joanna Paul (Open University) talked about Classics in the movies, with particular focus on the films Gladiator and Troy and Genevieve Lively (Bristol University) once again gave an informative and revealing talk on Pompeian pornography.
On the Saturday we held a classical drama workshop, which was very well received, despite being interrupted by the fire alarms being set off by the smoke machines. We also organised trips to Caerleon and Caerwent on the weekend, and just about got away with not getting drenched in the rain storms. The Hellenic Bookservice joined us for a few days and all the students took the opportunity to indulge in a little Classical retail therapy! This year we were lucky to be able to offer the chance to experience Roman cooking thanks to Mark Grant, who very kindly gave a demonstration to a group of students. The results of this were delicious, even if the smell of garlic was a little overpowering at times!
The Latin Summer School would not be the Latin Summer School without the staff play at the end of the two weeks. It is questionable whether this is more for the enjoyment off the staff rather than the students, but once again they very patiently sat through our rendition of ‘Miles Gloriosus‘ and even managed the odd polite giggle.
3. Acknowledgements and thanks
This year we awarded £2756 in a total of 8 bursaries. It is very important to us that we make the summer school and the learning of Latin as accessible as possible. The quotations which punctuate this report are all from those who received bursaries and the financial support is clearly appreciated by those who received it.
The sponsorship we are so generously given by those listed below not only allows us to provide places to those who would not be able to come otherwise but it also helps us keep fees down overall. David and I would like to thank those sponsors whose generosity helps makes this possible:
The Classical Association
The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
The Jowett Copyright Trustees
The Craven Committee, University of Oxford
Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge
Friends of Classics
4. Next year’s course:
The website www.latincamp.co.uk continues to be the first point of contact for those who wish to apply using the online application process.
If you need further information after looking on the website or have specific questions to ask, then please do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
The 34th JACT Latin Summer School will run from Monday 21st July 2014 to Saturday 2nd August 2014.
Co-director of the JACT Latin Summer School