For the last four weeks I was in Ancient Olympia studying at the International Olympic Academy as part of their 18th Postgraduate Session. The sessions were split by weekly topics (week 1: Ancient Greece/Olympics; week 2: Revival of the modern games/social, economic and sports management; week 3: Philosophy and Ethics; week 4: Conclusions) and at the end were asked as groups of 6-8 to prepare conclusions that would be presented during the final ‘closing ceremony’ and would be published, and eventually shared with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Although my work is closer to topics presented in week 2/week 3 (Philosophy and Social Sciences), I was included in Group 1 on Ancient Greece – so far removed from new media and social technology. However, one of the main things that I took away from the IOA was home much I enjoyed the lectures on the classics and ancient Greece, a subject area that I have never been exposed to or would have had any access to as a student in my field. The link between *being there* – walking around the ruins & seeing the artefacts first hand, as well as being in conversation with international professors was really inspiring. So much so, that I found that the most valuable session for me was definitely the one that I had the least amount of experience with.
During the closing ceremony, I created and presented the presentation below on behalf of the group, which was organised around the topics that were shared as part of the participant’s subject area papers (gender studies, nutrition, art history, media studies, linguistics, history etc.) We drew out three common themes – the links between the ancient and modern games, ideology and representation of ideology in history and the important of space and place – and framed our conclusions around these core findings. We concluded that there was much to learn from seeing and living closely to ancient sites of Olympia, Nemea and Delphi – but we shouldn’t lose sight of the spectacle and observing such ideas through a modern capitalist lens.
Below is the prezi used – and the preliminary document that contains more details and descriptions of the week’s work.