Ancient History reaches out to pupils through Olympics-themed visit days

The South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership (SWWRWP) is running five visit days for Year 10 pupils from South West Wales this month, on the timely theme of the Olympic Games.

Olympic visit days1 The visit days, which are organised in collaboration with Swansea University's Department of History and Classics, got underway yesterday (Wednesday, May 9) with the first session attended by pupils from Cymer Afan Comprehensive School in the Upper Afan Valley.

Pupils from Birchgrove Comprehensive School will visit tomorrow (Friday, May 11), with pupils from Cwmtawe and Morriston Comprehensive Schools and Dylan Thomas Community School taking part later this month.

During their visit to Swansea University the pupils learn about the history of the Olympic Games, tracing them back to their roots in Ancient Greece.

They also explore the Games’ place in modern society, through participating in several hands-on activities, including staging the Olympics, making mascots, and taking part in a ceremonial event to end the day’s activities.

Student ambassadors from the Department of History and Classics will also be on hand throughout the day to speak to the pupils about studying at University, student life, and degrees on offer in the Humanities subject areas.

Olympic visit days2 One of the organisers, Dr Evelien Bracke, from the University’s Department of History and Classics, said: “Interest in ancient Greecehas been in steep decline, especially since the economic crisis, with schools and universities focusing on immediately ‘relevant’ subjects – although the words economic and crisis both derive from ancient Greek!

“But in an Olympic year, the Games again prove that ancient Greek heritage is relevant in the modern world.

“We are delighted to offer pupils the opportunity to engage with many aspects of ancient Greek culture, from learning some ancient Greek to spotting ancient themes in modern films.

“We hope the visit days will be thought-provoking for pupils, making them think about the way we are influenced by the ancient Greeks on a daily basis.”

Mai Musié, SWWRWP Project Development Officer, added: “As the build up to the London Olympics gathers pace, this is a great opportunity for pupils to get involved in the spirit of the Games.

“These five one-day events will hopefully inspire pupils to learn about the ancient Greek roots of the Games, whilst at the same time understanding the values behind what makes an Olympiad in the context of our modern world.

“I also hope this will encourage pupils from non-traditional backgrounds to pursue higher education in subjects such as Classical Civilisation and History at university.”