The Cambridge MCA Exhibition: Illustrating Ancient History- bringing the past to life

This week my colleagues, Dr Javier Martinez Jimenez and Sofia Greaves and I were thrilled to launch an exhibition we have been collaborating on for quite some time at the Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology: “Illustrating Ancient History: bringing the past to life.” The exhibition runs from Nov.3 2020 – Jan. 30 2021 and is now fully online!

As a way of reconstructing the past in Vita Romana, which I’ve discussed on this blog before, I worked with the specialists on-site whose scientific background in the materials I was representing informed much of the illustration work. Intersecting with the aims of the exhibition, the work done at Roman Aeclanum exemplified the way that collaboration between artists and different archaeological specialists can be translated into artistic work that help the public understand the archaeological site and material culture more contextually. I have recorded a podcast with my co-host, Liam, for Two Friends Talk History which allowed me to discuss the public outreach programme I coordinated and created in Aeclanum.

Listen here :

Dysfunctional Families Two Friends Talk History

In this week's episode, Liam delves into 'The Anarchy' of 12th century England when Empress Matilda battled her cousin King Stephen for control of the English throne.  Meanwhile, Zofia navigates the twisted tale of some terrible Ptolemies: Cleopatra II, her daughter Cleopatra III and the husband they shared, Ptolemy VIII. The 2nd century BCE ruling dynasty of Egypt known for murders, mayhem, matricides and more!Find us on InstagramSupport us through PatreonBuy our merch on RedbubbleMusic by the wonderfully talented Chris Sharples
  1. Dysfunctional Families
  2. Lands of Ice
  3. Archaeological Aeclanum
  4. Mostly Magic
  5. Killer Queens

Sofia’s work brought together ancient spaces with exploration of the layers of building over time through water-colour and mixed media. Sofia and Javier work together on the Impact of the Ancient City project at the University of Cambridge which is a project that has involved a lot of site visits to ancient cities that have inspired her work.

The opening of the exhibition was scaled-down due to Covid safety protocols, with numbers carefully regulated through registration. The exhibition will be in-place until January 30th, and with luck, as many people as possible will be able to explore the museum’s famed collection of plaster statue casts which frame our exhibition images. With these considerations in mind, the museum moved quickly to create a fully online version of the exhibition which you can see here: CHECK IT OUT!

We would love to hear from YOU!

Please take a moment to scan the QR code below with your smartphone for a brief online survey about your experiences with archaeological sites and illustrations. We would like to hear about your experiences!

All data is anonymised and will be used for further research questions related to this exhibit. Surveys also in French and Spanish.

Thank you for checking out my blog! If you are interested in requesting commission art or educational outreach material, you can check out some examples of my work here and please like and subscribe to Two Friends Talk History!

Two Friends Talk History Podcast Launch

A podcast where two friends…talk history! My good friend and fellow historian, Liam Gale, and I have started a podcast about global history. We wanted to work on a creative project together where we could explore and learn more about the peoples, places and events that have shaped our world…all with a strong helping of laughter, tears and many twists along the way!

Two Friends Talk History: 2 friends/ 2 topics

With each episode we start with a theme, we separately research a topic and only reveal our stories to each other at the time of recording. This way, we get to keep it spicy by investigating topics that peak our interests and having genuinely authentic responses during recording! Both Liam and I are interested in many historical periods and places, though we both went to school for ancient history. With this podcast, we wanted to explore global histories, landscapes, objects and less represented groups.

Dysfunctional Families Two Friends Talk History

In this week's episode, Liam delves into 'The Anarchy' of 12th century England when Empress Matilda battled her cousin King Stephen for control of the English throne.  Meanwhile, Zofia navigates the twisted tale of some terrible Ptolemies: Cleopatra II, her daughter Cleopatra III and the husband they shared, Ptolemy VIII. The 2nd century BCE ruling dynasty of Egypt known for murders, mayhem, matricides and more!Find us on InstagramSupport us through PatreonBuy our merch on RedbubbleMusic by the wonderfully talented Chris Sharples
  1. Dysfunctional Families
  2. Lands of Ice
  3. Archaeological Aeclanum
  4. Mostly Magic
  5. Killer Queens
  6. Where they Fear to Tread
  7. Isolated Islands
  8. Greed & Grift
  9. Patrons of the Arts
  10. Plagues & Pandemics

Two Friends Talk History Art

With each episode, I wanted to find a way to include my art into our project, since that gives me life. One of the coolest parts about our podcast is that we each come to the recording with two very different stories within the same theme, so making some wild mash-up episode art seemed like the perfect way to bring these loves together. I have been challenging myself with creating the mash-ups in my own digital drawing style but, where appropriate, using the historical style the original image was made in. These episode images are available as mugs, tees and postcards on our Two Friends Talk History Redbubble Shop!

Join us on Patreon!

We have set up a PATREON page where interested parties can sign up for a monthly pledge to support our pod (the cost of a pint) and have access to a bunch of exciting stuff: episode art, additional content (maps, images and related goodies), Hundred Word Histories, and lots of other content in support of our Pod. We also post to our INSTAGRAM account to accompany the episodes.

We are so excited to learning new things and growing together in this project! It’s a totally wild ride creating a podcast, so please bare with us while we get our sea legs! We hope you check us out on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and anywhere else you listen to your podcasts. Ratings and reviews are fundamental to gaining any visibility, so please check us out and give us a review!