By Dan Gray 

The internship placement at the The Roman Inscriptions Of Britain in Schools (RIB) project through the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Arts Summer Research Programme has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me that has allowed me to see behind the scenes of an interesting ongoing project. I’ve been able to see the impact that an academic resource such as the Roman Inscriptions of Britain online (part of the LatinNow project) can have on various sectors of society such as the education sector, the museum and heritage sector and the general public.

The homepage of Roman Inscriptions of Britain online

This experience has allowed me to make contact with pedagogy and heritage experts and institutions, helping me to learn key communication skills such as emailing in a formal manner and constantly reporting my finds to the team. Everyone I have interacted with through email and in-person has been extremely helpful in answering my questions, and in encouraging my interest in the ancient world. I have had a brief experience of some of the work that museum staff have to do and have been made to feel like an important part of the RIB in Schools project.

RIB 1319 Altar of Neptune from Newcastle: my favourite object so far!

I have been doing a wide variety of tasks in this placement, given to me by my supervisor Professor Mullen. These have included: helping sort out the respective handling boxes and their objects that will go to local schools for exciting lessons; finding colour images of various prescribed source objects, and emailing the various institutions that hold these objects for permission to use the images for RIB online; creating worksheets for lessons to go with our handling kit; collecting facts for the prescribed sources used by the OCR Ancient History exam board; coming up with ideas for new prescribed sources. Each of these tasks has the goal of encouraging more students and teachers, at all key stages, to take advantage of RIB Online and to explore the diverse and multilingual world of Roman Britain beyond the traditional militaristic narrative we are often taught. 

This opportunity has also helped me learn technical skills as well, for example learning how to use different image editing software, and using excel spreadsheets to keep on top of the status of permission requests for the images to be used in the website. I also got to experience teaching. One of the most exciting parts of the placement was when we tried out our handling box materials out on a group of sixth formers from the Sutton Trust Summer school. It was a bit nerve wracking but really fun in the end and I was really pleased with the positive feedback.

The Roman Inscriptions of Britain in Schools project has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn about the world of research and its impact, while also helping to expand my own knowledge of the Roman World and transferable skills that I can take with me for when I properly enter the job market after finishing my University Degree.