by Jodie Thompson, Project Coordinator
Now that the (archaeological, Roman-era) dust has properly settled on our exciting touring exhibition and all its warm-up events– I, LatinNow’s Project Coordinator, wanted to reflect on what exactly just happened on my own LatinNow anniversary – one year on the job!
Our exciting and elaborate tour of six different European countries finished its first outing in October and the end of the year was marked with two exciting finales – our PI, Dr Alex Mullen has introduced a beautiful new baby to the world, and I went on an all-inclusive, beach holiday – fireworks all-round, I think!
In the office, having a go at putting together our Gallic helmet
It was an unbelievably ambitious task putting ‘VOCES POPVLI’ together. Artifacts were loaned to us by the University of Nottingham’s Museum and famous and large finds such as the Leiden Lancaster Rider and the Nehalennia goddess altar were carefully photographed on-location and expertly 3D printed and reconstructed. A unique, six colour, six-sided, collapsible table was designed and built to accompany the six sections of the exhibition. Six different versions of the backdrop displays were produced in English, Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, French, German and Dutch by our multilingual team. T-shirts and highly addictive sparkly scratch tablets were ordered, the exhibition layout was planned, our fabulous tour driver Alex was briefed, and I worked on the mammoth task of working out the logistics of transporting the exhibition and our very international team around 12 European locations. So many hotel bookings! So many postcodes! And SO many parking restrictions!
The ‘essentials’ box
I’ve been particularly pleased that in this role, I’ve managed to flex my artistic muscles for the first time in my day job by fabricating the VOCES POPVLI case. It did take a few goes at the lettering, but that’s because as the ONLY member of the team who doesn’t know Latin, I had to learn that the capital letter ‘U’ has no place in our exhibition. In our office, you can’t spell ‘SUCCESS’ without…V!
Planning the layout of the handling case
The night before the exhibition set off saw me sat crossed legged on the Nottingham office floor, in front of LatinNow’s Sulis curse shrine, polishing our beautiful replica Roman helmet, surrounded by pieces of artifact protective foam and empty packets of crisps (healthy lunches went out the window at this point). It was a fun chaos. The day after the exhibition was packed up and sent off on its international mega-tour, I looked around the much emptier Nottingham office like a parent when the kids have moved out.
The kit all packed up and ready to set off
And now, it’s back!
I must admit having a major case of FOMO (that’s “Fear Of Missing Out” in student lingo) on not going on tour with the exhibition. I’m really proud to be part of a project that has travelled to so many interesting and important heritage sites around Europe. I imagine it was a unique experience for our driver, Alex Wallis, to have a fluent speaker and native expert accompanying each leg of the tour. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Michael Palin’s experience’s on ‘Pole to Pole’ – expect this time it was ‘Dig Site to Dig Site’!
My favourite part of my 12 months on the job, however, has been getting the visitor comments scroll back in the office and seeing in front of me what all those countries and visitors thought of LatinNow.
The team did also help alleviate my FOMO by sending me a lovely souvenir from the tour. A memento from Brugg, which is now hanging up in the project office in Nottingham!
In 2020, we will be working on bringing VOCES POPVLI to more locations and events in the UK. If you work with a school/museum/festival and want to host LatinNow, please do get in touch! Until then, I’m very excited (and in all honesty, a bit nervous) to have the Sulis curse shrine back in my office.