In Classical Studies we have an annual essay competition. The John Stephen Kassman Memorial Essay prize is an annual award based on the income from a donation given by the late Alec Kassman in memory of his son. Alec was an Arts Faculty Staff Tutor in the London Region and a contributor to Classical Studies modules. The purpose of the prize is to develop and foster study of classical antiquity in the Open University.
We’re delighted to announce that this year’s winner is Westley McCallum.
From Glasgow, Westley has been studying with the Open University since 2013, and is on the Classical Studies degree pathway. So far he has completed the two broad-based level 1 humanities modules, A219 (Exploring the Classical World), and A276 (Classical Latin). Westley is currently studying A330 (Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds) and will finish his degree next year with A340 (The Roman Empire). After that Westley hopes to apply for an MA in the field of Classical Studies.
Westley tells us: ‘I have had a great experience on the OU Classics degree so far. My main area of interest, and accordingly the part of my studies which I have most enjoyed, is Roman social history. I am especially interested in uncovering voices and perspectives which have been ignored or erased; ranging from the socially suppressed voices of women, children and slaves, through to the maligned and crude elements of entertainment forms such as Atellan farce. I also have interest in Roman Scotland, particularly the Antonine occupation.’
Westley’s winning essay was centred on an analysis of one of Cicero’s letters (Fam. 7.1) in which Cicero writes to Marcus Marius about Pompey’s recent shows. The essay explored the contextual and emotional circumstances that shaped the letter, and highlighted the importance of these factors in modern reappraisals of Cicero’s work.
The annual competition is open to all current OU undergraduates, with a notification date usually at the end of June, with submission at the end of September. This year’s winner is keen for other students to enter in future, and says, ‘For me, working on my submission for the Kassman essay competition helped to keep my essay skills sharp during the summer break between modules, and allowed me to begin developing my own interests within the field of classics. I’d encourage any and all OU Classics students to enter next year, because it is a fantastic experience.’
Warm congratulations to Westley from everyone here at OU Classical Studies.