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Study information

Dialogues with the Past: Creative Interpretative Project

Module titleDialogues with the Past: Creative Interpretative Project
Module codeCLA3267
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Emily Hauser ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Ever imagined what it would be like to recreate Achilles’ shield? To tell a mythical tale in textile form, like the blanket in Catullus 64? To capture the thrill of Odysseus’ encounter with the Cyclops in clay-animation? Or write a musical interpretation of the Sirens’ lost song…?

This is a module which appeals to the inventive, the creative, the experimental… and the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. It offers you a unique opportunity to engage critically with the ancient world specifically through creative and imaginative practice. The module will consist of a combination of specialist workshops which are designed to stimulate and enhance your creativity and to provide an intellectual framework for your creative enterprise, and work-in-progress seminars to support you in your individual project.

This is an opportunity not just to write about the Classical tradition, but to become a living part of it, and to bring the ancient past to life in provocative new ways.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • To deepen our understanding of the ancient world through critical practice, on the principle that we can more intensely understand the remote worlds of the past not just by writing about them, but by engaging directly with them through creative means. Deep questions which will preoccupy us throughout include: What is the role of art in society, both ancient and modern? What is the importance of creativity and the imagination in scholarship and education, specifically in the study of other worlds and societies? How do we communicate and enhance meaning through artistic expression? The module will also stimulate reflection through practice on the creative and critical value of engaging with the ancient world in the modern context.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of ancient Greek and Roman resources (including literary and visual material) and the ability to evaluate and discuss their significance from a variety of perspectives
  • 2. Demonstrate awareness of the extent to which creative interpretations of ancient material are shaped by changing contemporary concerns
  • 3. Demonstrate an individual imaginative and critical response to selected ancient material

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate critical and analytical skills which can be applied to the analysis of material resources from any culture
  • 5. Demonstrate appreciation of the methodological and ideological issues which are involved in using the ancient Greek and Roman world as a resource for modern creative and critical expression
  • 6. Demonstrate ability to (re-)interpret material within different socio-historical contexts, including our own

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Through researching the project, develop basic academic and library skills as well as a critical ability in assessing scholarship and interpreting other receptions of the ancient world
  • 8. Through writing a critical interpretation of the project, demonstrate ability to present a strong, coherent argument in written form
  • 9. Demonstrate skills in project-planning and execution
  • 10. Demonstrate ability to respond constructively to feedback gained from formative work-in-progress seminars

Syllabus plan

The module will be taught through a combination of one-to-one supervision and taught sessions which are designed a) to stimulate and enhance your creativity and b) to provide an intellectual framework for your creative enterprise, in addition to regular work-in-progress seminars which will support you in your individual project. 

Level 2 students who wish to take this module must attend the information session which will be held in the spring semester of the second year or arrange a meeting with the module convenor. At this stage, you should have basic ideas about the medium or area of practice with which you wish to work, e.g. whether you wish to make a film (animation or live action), to produce a dramatic or dance performance, to create a sculpture, painting or model, work with music, textiles, clay, digital technology etc. You will need to spend the summer thinking about your project and complete a brief plan (around 250 words) that includes the following information:

  • Brief outline of the project, including the medium or area of practice and the primary source material you will use
  • The resources which you will require in order to complete your project, and how you plan to acquire them. (For example, what artistic materials, tools, equipment or venues will you need to acquire? Can you find these resources in the university?)
  • Any support required from your peers (for example, as actors in a play). (If needed, how do you plan to arrange this?)
  • A budget, should you require any funds to complete the project. (NB Be sensible and realistic about this. Your project will be assessed on its critical and creative interpretation of the ancient world, and its communicated message, NOT on how lavish it is!)
  • A realistic schedule for accomplishing your project. This should be detailed, e.g. you should include a breakdown of specific landmarks along the way
  • Any potential problems which you might encounter, and a plan of action for dealing with these? (NB Stumbling blocks and obstacles are an inevitable part of the process! You will demonstrate your creativity and organisation skills in how you plan to deal with them when they arise)

Your outline will not be marked, but you will have the opportunity to discuss it in detail with the module-leader, who will provide feedback and further advice.

NB If you fail to submit the outline in the first week of term, you will be assigned to another taught module.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching221 x 2 hour seminar per week
Guided independent study128Independent study and project execution project-dependent

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Outline of project (to be submitted in first week of autumn term, third year)250 words1-7, 9-10Comments and feedback from lecturer
Updates on project in work-in-progress seminars5-10 minutes1-7, 9-10Comments and feedback from lecturers and peers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Creative Interpretative Project60Equivalent of 2500 words, depending on medium1-10Mark, written comments, individual feedback from lecturer
Critical interpretation (to accompany Project)402000 words1-10Mark, written comments, individual feedback from lecturer

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Creative Interpretative ProjectCreative Interpretative Project1-10Referral/Deferral period
Critical interpretationCritical interpretation1-10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Beard, M. and J. Henderson (1995) Classics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Butler, S. ed. (2016) Deep Classics: Rethinking Classical Reception. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Cox, F. (2018) ‘Generic ‘Transgressions’ and the Personal Voice’ in S. Bär and E. Hauser, eds. Reading Poetry, Writing Genre: English Poetry and Literary Criticism in Dialogue with Classical Scholarship. London: Bloomsbury. 172–86.
  • Ebbott, M. (2017) ‘Seeking Odysseus’s Sister’, Michigan Quarterly Review 56: 268–84.
  • Hardwick, L. (2003) Reception Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hardwick, L. and C. Stray, eds. (2011) A Companion to Classical Receptions. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hauser, E. (2019) ‘When Classics Gets Creative: From Research to Practice’, Transactions of the American Philological Association Volume 149, Number 2 Supplement, 163-177.
  • McConnell, J. and E. Hall, eds. (2016) Ancient Greek Myth in World Fiction since 1989. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Richardson, E. ed. (2018) Classics in Extremis: The Edges of Classical Reception. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Sanders, J. (2006) Adaptation and Appropriation. London: Routledge.
  • Venuti, L. (2008) The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Creative project, Classical reception, ancient world

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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