To celebrate the start of the Byzantine outreach programme, thirty-five 15-16yr olds from the local area were selected to attend a day of interactive workshops and activities at the University, as a unique introduction to the study of the Byzantine Empire.
University PhD students lead the day of ‘hands-on’ workshops including a manuscript making session on September 14, to encourage future students to think about further historical study. The group were invited to interact with the University’s extensive collection of primary resource material including medieval manuscripts, art collections and one of the best coin collections in the world.
The Byzantine outreach programme, designed to engage future historians and promote an under-represented, yet significant period of world history, was launched in February 2012 by current PhD students, Daniel Reynolds and Rebecca Day, and is supported by Sandwell council. In line with the latest government guidelines, the programme is designed to concentrate on the relevance of ‘change and continuity’ and ‘religious and ethnic diversity’.
Daniel Reynolds, programme coordinator and current PhD student, said “Byzantium is an important part of our history and provides real insight into how societies interact today. We want to engage future students by telling the story of Byzantium through primary resource material and challenge the stereotype that History is all about studying old books. With people only beginning to study the period in the last 50-100 years, we believe it is a really exciting time to study Byzantium and there are lots of new discoveries awaiting future students and researchers.”
Professor Corey Ross, head of the department said, ‘We are delighted to broaden our outreach scheme in the School of History and Cultures to include some of the less traditional historical areas to engage young minds. Studying History at the University can offer young people real job opportunities and we work closely with the careers and employability services to ensure that students can fully explore the exciting prospects a degree from a world class university can offer.”