A Fabulous Fifth

At the Association’s annual Celebration Afternoon, branch chair Katrina Kelly reports on the LSA CA’s activities as it celebrates its fifth birthday:

In 2018-19 we celebrated our fifth anniversary year with a special lecture programme, a fantastic array of outreach events, and exciting news (see Current Programme) that is a testament to the branch’s growth in its first five years and looks forward to the next five to come! I’m so proud of our ever-growing classics community, united by a keenness to learn, as well as by a remarkable love of cake; the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our band of dedicated volunteers who have become even more of a family over the past year; the standard of work by both student ambassadors giving votes of thanks or writing blogs and by entrants in our Classics Competition and Bursary Awards; and of course each and every member of our audience, some travelling for several hours to come to our events, who love listening to the lecturers who have taught, inspired and encouraged people of all ages to continue learning and find their passion, and without whom we would not be able to delve into the ancient world at its most fascinating.

We began in September, welcoming one of the greats, a familiar face from his TV shows What the Romans Did For Us and Science Shack – Adam Hart Davis, who wowed us with his enthusiasm, eloquence and own Roman inventions: https://lsaclassics.com/2018/09/23/what-the-greeks-and-romans-did-for-us/

In October, we were joined by bestselling author Dr Simon Elliott who introduced us to a lesser known Emperor, but one who deserves the modern attention for his fascinating life and career – Septimius Severus – and we were gripped by his journey through ancient Scotland. To find out more: https://lsaclassics.com/2018/10/21/severus-marches-on/

In the last lecture of 2018, Peter Stewart from Oxford University’s Classical Art Research Centre encouraged us to broaden our horizons and explore some of the links between Roman art and the iconography found in Gandhara (modern day Pakistan) – read https://lsaclassics.com/2018/11/25/we-need-to-talk-about-gandhara/ for some truly amazing discoveries!

We began 2019 in the way we always do – with a fabulous Presidential Lecture and Celebration Dinner with our President Prof. Michael Scott. A record breaking audience of 310 were treated to an expert’s guide to both ancient and modern Delphi, of which Michael is himself an honorary citizen, in https://lsaclassics.com/2019/01/13/where-eagles-and-goats-dare/. Afterwards, more than 100 members and students headed to Gusto Restaurant in Lytham for a lovely dinner, classics quiz and great company.

February saw the much-awaited visit of Prof. Armand D’Angour as he shared with us his ground-breaking research on the sound of ancient Greek music; it was also the grand final of our nationwide Classics Competition, which was judged by Prof Scott and won by Thomas Hewitt of Kirkham Grammar School https://lsaclassics.com/2019/02/10/classical-connections/

Our penultimate lecture was delivered by Manda Scott, author of the bestselling series Boudica and Rome, who gave us a fascinating insight into pre-invasion Britain and into her own writing experience. She was followed by another author, this time of historical narrative, broadcaster Tom Holland, who shared his passion for Herodotus, whose Histories he has so adeptly translated in a long term passion project, in an engaging lecture https://lsaclassics.com/2019/04/06/holland-on-herodotus/ closing our programme with the spark to read widely, explore anecdotes and to ensure that the colour of the ancient world is not lost forever!

I would like to formally thank the committee – Liz, Michael, Peter, Monica and Gerry for all of their work out of lecture-hours, so much goes on behind the scenes, and of course to Jayne’s incomparable industry as our superwoman secretary! My thanks of course go to AKS again for providing us with an excellent venue, so often praised by our visiting speakers and audience; for the lovely accommodation provided by the Clifton Arms Hotel; and the tasty food and Mediterranean vibe of EGO restaurant as well as to Gusto for the beautiful setting for our Presidential meal in January. To the individual members who have taken the time to support the branch by storing books, distributing flyers or promoting the branch in other ways, thank you, as well as to John for running the Latin Reading Group and Andros for starting the Philosophy Group this year.

Thank you also to the Classics Library, ZPQ Designs, Lytham Life and Style and the LSA Express, and many local businesses and charities who have all helped us to publicise our programme throughout the year. This year we have expanded our social media, using some advertising to reach new people, gaining support and even future lecturers via twitter, sharing our stories and photos on Instagram and encouraging students from all over the country to get involved with our competition via our Hall of Fame of ancient artefacts.

We have also been involved with other organisations such as Classics for All (of which our President has recently become a Trustee) and Advocating Classics Education and it is great to be able to build up a network of associations with like minded people who are also committed to improving and enabling access to classics at all levels and we look forward to more collaborative work in the future. We are working even more closely with the Classical Association at the moment as we plan for Mary Beard’s visit in November and we are delighted that the branch has this level of recognition as Mary chose us as the location to host her Presidential Address. Our special thanks go of course to our esteemed President, Professor Michael Scott (the cover photo of this blog features him with LSA CA members at his inaugural Presidential Address at the University of Warwick), without whom we would not have had such a successful and enjoyable year, and we are very excited to see him again in Lytham St Annes this autumn.

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Professor Scott with his special 2019 Calendar!

We would love to welcome you to our #ClassicsCommunity – do peruse the website to find how we can interest and involve you in uncovering the ancient world, whether it be through writing for our newsletter (we accept articles from everyone!), joining us at a lecture, supporting our students, taking part in our Latin Reading Group, becoming a volunteer, or simply meeting new friends and enjoying chatting about the topics we find fascinating. Here’s to another great year together!

©KatrinaKelly