In Carmen Talbot

An Alternative Fresher’s Week

On the MA in Heritage Management here in Elefsina we had no Fresher’s Week pub crawls. We don’t have a societies fair. We haven’t dressed up as ‘Angels and Devils’ and gone on the rampage through Athens, à la Carnage UK. What we have done is perhaps more useful and relevant to us as a small cohort of future Heritage Management professionals.
Assessment for our course is grounded in group work, and the Field Study Project we produce as a practice-based thesis hinges on our ability to identify in other students the leadership/management/team-working qualities that will ensure the project’s success. With this in mind, at the end of two weeks of Greek language lessons (for non-Greeks) and pre-sessional modules in either Introduction to Management or Introduction to Archaeology, we began a weekend of team building exercises. Personally speaking, I was initially mortified. Being British I have an aversion to any kind of organised group activity, even more so if it means that strangers will be touching me. However, despite being obstinately sure that I really wouldn’t enjoy the weekend, it was surprisingly a lot of fun, and we all learned about each other in a way that didn’t become tiring or (moreover!) involve any PowerPoint presentations.
We have also visited the archaeological site of Elefsina, which is in the town that the MA teaching is based. One of the great things about the course being jointly awarded by Athens University of Economics and Business (as well as the University of Kent) is that we have a Greek student card, which allows us into many sites and museums for free or substantially reduced (a clear benefit to students of a Heritage Management course, as museums and sites will utilised heavily over the next year). The card also makes most travel on buses, trains and ferries in Greece half price.

Elefsina Archaeological Site

Elefsina Archaeological Site, visited by HERMA students 01/10/2013. Photo: Carmen Talbot

Regarding the site of Elefsina, it was interesting to see the various phases of use at a site that I personally have only really studied for it’s archaic/classical Greek significance. We also learned that there are people in Greece ‘still’ (although there probably hasn’t been a continuum of worship…) celebrating the twelve Olympian gods (see this BBC News article on their practices). At Elefsina we saw pomegranates wedged into the rock in various places in the ‘cave’ on-site.
So, will our academic experience suffer for not experiencing the hormone-fuelled crush of a Traffic Light Party (a link provided for any non-UK students that may not have had the dubious experience of one of these)? Only time will tell. Follow our progress here…

Carmen TalbotCarmen Talbot is a student in the 2013 cohort of the Heritage Management MA, and Kent Scholar. Previously studying Ancient History as an undergraduate, she is interested in adult education in heritage and encouraging the wider adoption of digital solutions.

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