Almost a month has passed from AntCom Induction Week. Beginnings are always something to look forward to, and this one was no exception. It was thrilling to finally meet our ten researchers in person after so much preparation – for us and for them. Still, beginnings are never only beginnings. It takes time, knowledge, and resilience to come up with an idea big enough to accommodate passions and ambitions shared by so many people. Nor working together and sharing minds is an easy task when culture, characters, and work-schedules differ. Yet, all of it becomes much easier when the goal is to train ten people to look at ancient heritage with different lenses. There is a special thrill knowing you are part of a team that strives to do things differently. I guess the one word summing up all the feelings of the induction week is ‘hope’. Hope that the energy of the doctoral students is kept alight throughout the project; that they will be able to find support and vigor in each other, and beyond their research; hope that we have laid down a good foundation to build trust.
When planning a kick-off week, a lot of things are measurable. To be fair, most things need to be quantified, from the nights at the hotel to how many chia puddings we need to book per person. What cannot be quantified, however, is what remains even after some time has passed, the light in the eyes of the students when discussing oral history, the unquenchable thirst for knowledge behind questions about parchments and binders, the curiosity for the life of communities past and present. It is the heartfelt gratitude when realizing that we all probably are biased in what we do – sometimes not for the best, and we better do something about it. It is the shared understanding that classics and humanities are not subjects to be kept secluded on top of an ivory tower, but that they ought to be opened up and given back to a wider audience. Then, at the end of the the day, our AntCom induction week was like just one of many “widening circles that reach out across the world”.