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Working Classicists Awards 2023 - The Results Are In!

This year, as Working Classicists continues to grow, we made the decision to run our very first awards ceremony. None of what we do would be possible without the support of the Classics community. We also know that many of the Working Classicists who have contributed to their local area, their school, college, university, or friendship circle might not be getting the recognition they deserve in a discipline that struggles to reward anyone who isn’t already privileged.

With just six categories this year, we put the nominations out to the lovely people of Twitter. We were absolutely overwhelmed with responses, scores of people nominating some wonderful figures in the Classics community, alerting us to some incredible individuals and their tireless work. Today we celebrate those who were selected, via our panel, to receive the following awards: Creative Classicist, Newcomer Classicist, Unsung Classicist, Educator Classicist, Community Classicist, and Working Classicist of the Year.

Here are the winners of the Working Classicist Awards 2023!

Creative Classicist - Natasha Hershaw (Plato’s Fire)

Using her incredible eye for design to create beautiful, wearable homages to the ancient world is a wonderful application of her talent.

Not only does she deserve this award for bringing the aesthetics of the ancient world up-to-date in her Plato's Fire jewellery designs, but also for orchestrating online read-alongs that have no doubt encouraged new readers to explore the Classics in a way that they couldn't elsewhere. She allows a doorway into that world that doesn't require a prohibitive amount of money or time to access (and has inspired our own Jacqueline Munro personally this year with the Metamorphoses read-along). Open discussion and the ability to explore these texts is where passions for the subject are born, and Natasha does a great service to our cause with her work.

Newcomer Classicist - George McAdam-Cross

It was such a privilege to read George’s nominations and learn about their path from attending a state school to becoming the President of the Classics Society at Edinburgh University. They are the blueprint of a Working Classicist, and will no doubt have inspired others as they've flourished on their journey.

For their impressive work, much of it selflessly behind-the-scenes, in improving the website and expanding the social side of the society, as well as the multiple academic achievements under their belt, George’s peers and tutors wished to nominate them for this award and it is so justly deserved. Whatever George goes on to do next, we are sure they will be one to watch.

Unsung Classicist - Justine T. Wolfenden

In Justine’s nominations she was described as inspiring, supportive, and encouraging, and each of these qualities shines through in the work that she does at Durham University and beyond. Justine does tireless work, elevating and uplifting other Classicists, academics, and enthusiasts in so many areas of her life, never asking for anything in return.

Her selfless nature might mean she is sometimes overlooked for praise, but we felt that Justine’s unwavering commitment to her students and the wider community deserves some serious recognition, and hope that this might be one of many such accolades in years to come.

Educator Classicist - Gregory Rowe

Gregory was nominated multiple times with absolutely glowing praise, it seems that so many of his students adore him and are deeply grateful for his work.

Gregory is clearly an incredible asset to the Classics community, and understands the struggles and barriers that may present themselves to students and enthusiasts who don't come from privileged backgrounds. His allyship and ethical standards have ensured that Classicists from all walks of life have found their passion for the subject and been able to thrive under his mentorship. Gregory consistently goes above and beyond for his students, who have made it clear to us that his work towards their education has not gone unnoticed and that they are hugely grateful for his commitment to speaking up on their behalf, offering them unwavering support, and to challenging elitism in the field.

Community Classicist - Peter Wright

The more we read about Peter’s incredible ability to enthuse and engage audiences of all ages - whether through his work in schools, his political efforts, or his friendship - the more we were sure he deserved to win this community-based award.

It was a joy to read his many nominations and to learn about, for example, his primary school Androcles and the Lion performance held entirely in Latin, his hard work for the people of Blackpool through political campaigning and truly walking the walk, and his principles that align so perfectly with what Working Classicists is all about. A Peter in every town would solve any crisis Classics was facing in the state sector.

Working Classicist of the Year - Alexandra Sills

We felt that Alexandra upheld the values of a Working Classicist in so many areas of her life that Working Classicist of the Year had to go to her. Her commitment to public scholarship and the pursuit of knowledge matches (and surpasses) any given PhD candidate or "professional" Classicist, and we are frequently amazed by her dedication and resolve as an enthusiast. Alongside this, however, the academic achievements she has made (and will continue to pursue) as a mature student and working mother are an inspiration to many, and her outreach and demystification of the Classics shows that she has the health of the subject in mind. Alexandra is a tireless worker, an important voice, and a true scholar.

This award is the highest accolade we can offer, and is given in respect of her abilities and efforts in all areas of Classics. It is an honour to know Alexandra and have worked with her, and this award goes to show how many people across the discipline share that sentiment. Her courage in speaking her mind, empathy for others, and consistent efforts to expand publicly available knowledge makes her a clear and deserving Working Classicist of the Year.

Thank you to all our nominators and nominees, we were thrilled to read each one and so many of you deserve applause and respect for your work in Classics. See you next year!

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