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CSCP recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Communicator Ltd to produce 'What Have the Classics Ever Done For Me?' a short video which aims to dispel the worries of students (and their parents!) about the value of Classics-related subjects in terms of their associated career prospects. This work was sponsored by us, the Classical Association and the Roman and Hellenic societies.

Video producer and student of Classics at the Open University, Paul Drew, explains how this exciting resource and partnership came to be:

What Have The Classics Ever Done For Me? is a short video produced by Communicator Ltd and sponsored by the Classical Association, the Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) and the Roman and Hellenic societies. The video is aimed at parents who might consider Classics-related subjects to be ‘soft’ options for their children and of limited value in terms of a career.

It was, however, very nearly never made. I initially set out to find funding for a video that featured school children extolling the joys of Classics. But during a somewhat chance conversation, CSCP’s Director, Caroline Bristow, suggested that it was sceptical parents who sometimes posed the toughest challenge, and that a video featuring adults who studied Classics, but have careers in other sectors, would be more convincing for that audience. The other sponsors agreed with this approach, and the project commenced in the autumn of 2020. 

Our first task was to establish the message of the video, a process guided by Caroline. Communicator then devised questions to help encourage a range of engaged responses from participants. Next came the task of finding the participants themselves, which was not without its challenges. Thanks to the efforts of Caroline and the redoubtable Hilary Hodgson at Classics for All, we identified a range of well-rounded and successful individuals with roles in the city, computer-gaming, overseas development, and journalism, who had all studied Classics at different levels and in different contexts.

Once we had the candidates, we took the decision to record the interviews on Zoom, as in-person filming was unfeasible due to location, time, budget and, of course, pandemic restrictions. Once recorded, Communicator used their Multi-Voice Monologue (MVM™) technique to deliver a quick-fire set of arguments explaining why Classics-related subjects are, contrary to some uninformed opinion, a good academic choice and can be of benefit in a wide range of careers outside of the mainstream Classics sector. The MVM™ technique delivers a single message spoken by several people. Each individual is interviewed separately, after which their answers are broken down and edited together to create a series of high-intensity, sincere and enthusiastic statements, explaining the positive attributes of a given subject. As a script, it would appear as a monologue, albeit one containing emphatic repetition, but on screen you see a sequence of different faces compounding each of the salient points, building a convincing case and a cogent argument. It sounds simple but the process is painstaking, a combination of art and craft.

Our participants  Dr Mai Musié, Guy Alexander, Patrick Ardagh-Walter, Patrick Kidd, Sophie Emler and Xin Zhang  were very strong and eloquent, and we are grateful to all of them. They spoke effusively about how Classics has not only benefited them throughout their careers, but also enriched them as individuals, helping them have more fulfilling lives as a result. We were particularly pleased to feature Patrick Ardagh-Walter, a Master’s student on a computer games development course, who proved the point that Classics can be absolutely relevant in one of the most popular and technologically advanced sectors of the 21st century.

It was a great pleasure to be involved with this project and to get to know the participants involved. Communicator Ltd looks forward to building on this success in the future with its sponsors and Classics for All; the content produced for the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge; and the open access videos produced with Professor Edith Hall. All of this can be found at: https://vimeo.com/user106609726, and news of new releases @C21Classics. Please contact me by email at paul@communicator.ltd.uk for further information.

Communicator Ltd

About the author: 
Since 1987, Communicator Ltd have produced video content for academia, education, museums, galleries and all things cultural.
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