Meet The Pompeii Project, one of our student-led collaborative projects
Our 3rd years are leading original collaborative projects
This term, our third-year students are hard at work with a range of collaborative projects. These are part of a new module where they consider the writer’s role as part of a creative eco-system, and literature’s role in the creative economy through working on a collaborative project.
We talked to the The Pompeii Project team about their experience so far.
Why did you choose Pompeii, Italy?
Alex – I have always wanted to go to Pompeii, having visited Rome in the summer I knew I wanted to find out more about Italy’s history and culture. Vesuvius and the Pompeii ruins have always interested me.
Anna – I have a close personal connection to Italy being half Italian. I have never visited this part of Italy before, and the history of the 79 A.D. disaster in Pompeii has always fascinated me. Like Alex, because of this interest, I have always wanted to visit the ruins of ancient Pompeii to learn more about the history.
Amy – Italy is a country I have never been to, with Pompeii being a place that I would have love to be able to go and explore. Pompeii is a very unique environment and it is going to be super interesting to look at its ruins and imagine how things were.
Why did you choose Robert Harris’ Pompeii?
Alex – When we first thought about the project, we were thinking about looking into the mythological side of Roman literature and its influence on modern texts. After reviewing, we decided it would be a lot of work to complete in a the little amount of time that we have been allocated. We decided to sit down and find a relevant text. Harris’ book stood out to all of us because of its historical content and the fictional story that is based in Pompeii around the 79 A.D. natural disaster. We all thought that this book would be more appropriate for our degrees and skill sets.
Anna – Robert Harris’ Pompeii has been a book which has come up many times on my search for a good historical fiction – my favourite genre! When I saw it again when we began researching fiction for the project, I knew immediately it was the one I wanted to read. Robert Harris’ style appealed to us all as it introduced complicated themes of an ancient city in a way which was accessible to a modern audience such as ourselves.
Amy – As soon as we started researching books for the project and Harris’ Pompeii cropped up continuously, I knew that there must have been something there that is relevant. When I started reading it, I got really into it and ended up reading big chunks of it at once, and totally fully immersed myself within the genre and the plot line. Pompeii is a book that has really stretched me in terms of my close analysis and close reading skills that will hopefully serve me well in the future.
Why did you decide to do this for your collaborative project and what do you want to gain?
Alex – I would like to gain travel experience, more research experience and learn more about how location and literature can be linked. I really enjoy literary tourism.
Anna – There is the travel aspect for me, the desire to visit somewhere new and gain an insight into a culture unknown. Collaborating with the other girls also really appealed to me as outside of the project we are good friends, so I knew that it would be enjoyable and rewarding for us.
Amy – The project serves me as a way to push my boundaries both academically in terms of writing and personally as a way of expanding my travel and experiences. Collaborating with Alex and Anna is also a major factor in why I wanted to do the collaborative project, each of them have incredibly valuable skills that I hope to be able to learn from. Overall, I want the trip to be something that I can learn from and grow as an individual.
What are you most excited about?
Alex – I would say I'm most excited about learning more about the history and stories of Pompeii and surround areas and of course, the FOOD!
Anna – I’m very excited to finally see the Pompeii in the flesh. I can’t wait to see if it lives up to my expectations in terms of size and detail which I have read about in my research and in Robert Harris’ novel. And the food, Italian food feels like home, and eating it in the actual country always tastes better I think!
Amy – I am so excited to be able to see how I interpret Pompeii and the different experiences that I will be able to gain from it. I’m so excited to visit a new place and experience a new way of living, and as the other two have said...the food! (Especially the Pizza, ohh Pizza).
What is next for your project?
Alex – I would like to be able to take our research and findings into schools or colleges and present them to the children, hoping that they will gain knowledge on history and literature in a fun and exciting way, like we have done. I would also love to be able to do more trips like this one in mind.
Anna – I would like to use the skills learnt in this project to move on to other projects. Perhaps we could expand our blog to include other locations of interest which have been mentioned significantly in novels or pieces of writing.
Amy – I would love to be able to take this project to other places and see different books in relation to the different locations. I would also love for someone to be able to take some inspiration from our trip and allow them to feel confident enough to overcome their anxieties and go on a trip like this and experience the things I will!
by the Falwriting team