Classicists inspire in Liverpool

robot andy kelly unsplash

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash


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Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

The Faculty of Classics was delighted to return to Liverpool this November to engage over 100 more young people in the classical world.

Following on from our successful outreach talks last year, two Oxford academics were thrilled to speak at Aspire Liverpool’s first event in this academic year for a new cohort of Year 12s.

Aspire Liverpool works with young people from across Liverpool to provide information about Oxford and Cambridge and show that applying to these universities is within reach.

The Talks

'Is a Robot a Human?'

Marchella Ward

Technology is becoming an increasing part of all of our lives and shifting our perceptions of who humans are and what they can do. We think of this as a uniquely modern problem, but this talk will show that the question of how to define a human being was a topic of intense debate for the ancient world just as it is for us. Featuring artificial intelligence (ancient and modern), sirens, deer-that-were-once-women and the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. 


'Eating People Is Only Sometimes Wrong'.

Ben Cartlidge

Would you eat a person? Who would you eat first in this room? Would that change if you were hungry? What does "person" mean in this context? These are some questions that Greek and Latin texts confront when they talk about cannibalism. In this talk, we will explore How, Why and When these themes arise.

What the students said

“The topics such as cannibalism are subjects never talked about in school, so it is very interesting.”

“Opened doors that I never knew existed. Made me think about the moral and ethical meaning behind life. And whether we are able to draw that blurred line between robots/technology and humanity!”

“I found it interesting to learn new topics that I have never had the chance to study yet, intriguing me into possibly researching into these topics.”

What next?

The talks definitely whetted the appetite for classical subjects with students asking for:

“A taster session for learning ancient Greek looking at Greek and Roman myths.”

“Learning Latin and Greek and talking about classic literature”

“More online talks about different classics topics.”


Event organisers Alice and Harry were equally enthralled:

“Thanks for 2 superb talks last night that worked really well together and were thought provoking and engaging for everyone …. It is always tough to reach out to potential Classics students when very few schools teach it here, but I do think we have found a great formula here to encourage some of our city’s brightest and keenest students to just look a little bit more broadly and enquire a little bit deeper, so thank you to all at Oxford Classics for the support.”

Alice Case, Classics for All, Liverpool Hub


“I just wanted to say a massive thank you for this evening… What an interesting topic! I was really pleased to see the level of engagement in the chat so thank you for bringing that out of them. We really do appreciate your support!”

Harry Doyle, Aspire Liverpool