Academus Founder Emily Shead reflects over the past 12 months for Academus
1201 Students, 18 Events and Summer Schools, 64 articles and over 400 hours of live teaching.
What a year it's been, I find myself using this expression a lot when it comes to Academus, but it is always because I am amazed by what triumphs volunteers can achieve when they are truly passionate about something.
Academus is a testament to the goodwill of a group of people who share a common interest, in this case, the Ancient World. Over the past 12 months we smashed every target we made for ourselves, achieved more than any annual plan could have accounted for and we are now only dreaming bigger and better for 2022.
What's the mission?
For those of you who may be reading this as your first introduction to Academus, welcome. Academus might just be a social media presence that you've seen across your timelines, but behind the scenes, we are a finely tuned machine of volunteers all working towards a greater goal of providing free education to students aged 11-18 who are keen to learn more about the ancient world.
Our dream is to make sure there is equality in education and that regardless of where you went to school you will still be able to access any subject you wish to study. At the moment, the current educational landscape does not reflect a system where you can follow your passions at your will, as it is limited by where students live, their families finances and other factors which mean that at its core- education is not fair.
Our aim is to bring back a degree of fairness to ensure that our students leave our courses and programmes feeling equal to their colleagues at other schools and institutions - ready to tackle higher education.
How did 2021 go? From Winter to Spring
From start to finish this year has been filled with people putting in so much hard work and effort to ensure that we stuck to our mission and achieved our goals. I am astounded by the dedication of our team and our wider network of supporters.
We began the year with our Digital Think Tank series being revived and some excellent talks on Thebes taking place and we were so thrilled to see some of our events getting turnouts of over 250! Over the year we held seven think tanks on an array of topics from Greek Theatre to LGBT History in the Ancient World. We were able to allow academics from across the field to share their research and work with young audiences.
2021 also saw the launch of our first school's workshop Cyclopeia, aware that many schools hadn't returned to normal and there was a notable absence of guest speakers due to Covid, we developed a workshop programme that could be held completely remotely. We were delighted to hold this workshop with over 60 students throughout the year, with great feedback. If you would like to explore this option for your school in 2022, please get in touch.
As momentum began to build in the year we hosted our first crash course in the Easter Holidays for beginner students aged 14-18 to get their first glimpse of the Classical World. We were joined by 119 keen learners who enjoyed a variety of different lectures from our tutors on subjects like Minoans and Mycenaeans, Epic Poetry and the Age of Alexander alongside the Roman Empire and Rome and the Alt-Right.