By Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson

On 18th and 19th May, Professor Hall and Dr Holmes-Henderson attended the annual conference of the Historical Association in Stratford-upon-Avon. ACE has been collaborating with the HA over many months and we were grateful for the opportunity to showcase Ancient History at the event attended by 250+ History teachers and enthusiasts.

Exploring historical significance through coinage

Dr Holmes-Henderson led a 1 hour workshop for teachers on numismatics: ‘Exploring historical significance through coinage’. This session helped teachers grapple with the notoriously challenging concept of historical significance and provided a range of examples where coins could be used to enrich students’ understanding of historical periods under study. Highlights from this session included the ‘Eid Mar’ coin as well as coins from Aegina, Athens, Syracuse, Rome and North Africa. The session was fully booked and teachers left feeling better informed about the opportunities available to them for using numismatic evidence in their History teaching.

Professor Hall delivered the keynote address on ‘Classical education in the wooden O: Shakespeare’s groundlings go to Rome’. In her lecture, she argued that Shakespeare was heavily influenced by his study of the Roman Republic and Empire and that the plots of both Cymbeline and Coriolanus highlight his framing of contemporary events in historic settings e.g. the food riots across Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire as a result of the enclosure of common land in 1607.

Her keynote included the acting out of Act 3 Sc. 1 of Cymbeline on stage to bring the Roman context to life. Ably assisted by teachers Steve Mastin (Cymbeline) and Richard Kerridge (Cloten), Leadership Fellow Edith Hall (Gaius Lucius) and Research Fellow Arlene Holmes-Henderson (Queen), the quartet made their Stratford stage debut. Professor Hall referred to the ACE project in her keynote address, and promoted the study of Ancient History in schools. It is hoped that an article on Shakespeare and Roman History will appear in a forthcoming issue of Teaching History.

We would like to thank the Historical Association for allowing us to showcase Ancient History at their annual conference. We hope that our continued collaboration will yield positive results in widening access to the study of Ancient History in multiple educational contexts.

Prof Hall’s keynote address