There is no learning without research. We try to add the research dimension to all our classes and we treat each research project as an opportunity to teach and learn. We did this in 2012/2013: taking advantage of the project Our Mythical Childhood… The Classics and Children’s Literature Between East and West, supported by the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, we set up an experimental seminar for our students and together we produced the book Polish Literature for Children and Young Adults Inspired by Classcial Antiquity. A Catalogue (2013) available also online.
And again in 2014/2015: within the project Classics & Communism in Theatre we produced with our students the book Classical Antiquity on the Communist Stage in Poland. Ancient Theatre as an Ideological Medium: A Critical Review (2015), available here.
Now, sub aegide Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, we are Chasing Mythical Beasts… in parallel and in concert with the May 12-15, 2016 conference on The Reception of Creatures from Graeco-Roman Mythology in Children’s & Young Adults’ Culture as a Transformation Marker. Students are working this year on the reception of mythological creatures and monsters in the culture for youngsters. We keep asking simple, but striking questions, like: Is Minotaur a monster, or a victim? How to tame the three-head Fluffy from Harry Potter’s adventures? Why do dragons speak Ancient Greek? – and we are trying to answer them during this class. We are reading and re-reading books for children and young adults and tracking the mythical beasts, scary, or cuddly, and we keep reflecting on how mythological image of non-humans mirrors our own humanity.
This time not only University students (see course webpage) were invited. Our Faculty of “Artes Liberales” holds a patronage over Mikołaj Rej’s High School in Warsaw’s Polish-Classical profile class; its students under the guidance of their teacher, Anna Wojciechowska, participate in the project, as well as Barbara Strycharczyk’s students from the group of schools Strumienie.
All participants are supposed to prepare posters in English featuring a selected mythological creature (or monster…) and its reception in contemporary Polish and international children’s and young adults’ culture. They will be presenting their research to the scholars from all over the world – the team members of the project – on May 15, 2016, asking for their feedback and suggestions. The students will also have the possibility to attend the whole conference, listen to presentations, discussions, ask questions themselves and… learn in the most pleasant way – through the delight resulting from our joint endeavour at the University understood as a Community of people striving for knowledge with child-like joy and curiosity.