A community centre to bring classics to a wider audience has been launched in Oxford.
The East Oxford Community Classics Centre is run by the Iris Project, an educational charity which promotes classics in state schools, in association with the University of Oxford's Faculty of Classics.
Undergraduates, postgraduates and academic tutors from the University will deliver weekly themed workshops and talks at the centre to children and adults who want to learn more about the classics. The events will be held at Oxford's Cheney School.
The centre was launched last week at an event in Oxford, which was attended by around 300 people. Talks were given by Professor Mary Beard, the Cambridge University classicist and television presenter, and Dr Armand D'Angour of the University of Oxford.
The event included Roman and Greek inspired food and drink, a Delphic Oracle making predictions, Roman games, face-painting and mask-making.
Mai Musié, outreach officer in the Faculty of Classics, said: 'The Faculty of Classics is delighted to support a wonderful local initiative such as this in bringing classics to the masses. It is hoped that the East Oxford Community Classics Centre will act as a hub for those interested in the ancient world, local pupils from neighbouring schools, the adult community, staff from schools, colleges and HE institutions. We sincerely believe that classics should be open to all, and we have designed our university courses to reflect that.
'Not enough people are aware that you can pursue a classics degree at Oxford without prior knowledge of ancient Greek or Latin. The Centre will provide a link between the local community and the University of Oxford. The Iris Project is a marvellous charity organisation which has helped thousands of students and adults to engage with the classical world.'
Dr Lorna Robinson, Director of the Iris Project, said: 'I was so delighted to see so many people enjoying the launch event. It's taken many months to get the centre off the ground, and now that workshops have begun and the festival kicked off with a real buzz, I'm really excited at what the future holds for the centre and its role in the community. I'm already planning the workshops and events for after Christmas, since there have been so many requests for new classes. It shows that there's a real enthusiasm locally to learn about the classics, and I'm so glad to be able to open the centre and respond to that.'
The full programme of events can be viewed on the Iris Project website.