By Marcus Bell
On the 18th April, ACE was invited to be a part of the Women’s Classical Committee’s Annual General Meeting. ACE’s Public Impact Researcher, Marcus Bell, represented the Project on a Panel focusing on Outreach as Activism.
The day itself was a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how Classics can productively make a difference within society, but also how we can improve Classics itself by critically examining our own positionality within the discipline. The day opened up important conversations about race, through a critical whiteness workshop, and was bookended by two keynote speeches. Nancy Rabinowitz talked about her work within American prisons and the benefits of using Greek tragedy as a method for outreach and activism. Donna Zuckerberg, Editor in Chief of Eidolon, encouraged us to analyse the ways we interact on social media, and the nature of being a public academic. Her paper entitled ‘Who do we think we are?’ has recently been shared on the WCC’s blog.
The panel on outreach as activism facilitated a discussion about the practicalities engaging in a mode of outreach that does more than just tick boxes. We discussed how we can burst out of our bubbles – to use a phrase deftly coined by Paulette Williams – and shared different ways of finding the ‘sweet spot’ – the productive balance between going outside of an institution and making positive changes in the wider community, be it with an individual school or a marginalised social group.
The AGM was a fantastic opportunity for the ACE project to collaborate with academics, teachers, and other activists who work in the UK and the USA. I’d like to personally extend my thanks to the WCC for inviting us to the AGM. They do brilliant work to support women in classics; promote feminist and gender-informed perspectives in classics; raise the profile of the study of women in antiquity and classical reception; and advance equality and diversity in classics. You can get involved with this brilliant supporter of ACE by joining, or by participating in one of their monthly Wikipedia editathons.