‘Be Curious’: The Debrief

I can’t believe a whole week has passed since Leeds University’s ‘Be Curious Festival’ – time flies! As anyone who turned up will know, it was a fabulous, fun day with loads of interesting things going on across the university campus. Although my input was metaphorical drop in the ocean of the event, I had a really wonderful time talking to all of the people who came to visit my stall and, from the feedback I received, the visitors seemed to enjoy themselves too. However, for those who couldn’t make it, I thought I’d share some of my resources here with you…

Connecting to my research into medieval disability, my stall (Treating Eye Impairments: A Mini Medical Marketplace) aimed, as its title suggested, to create a ‘mini-medical marketplace’, discussing three ways in which people might try to cure eye impairments during the Middle Ages. The stall itself was a desk split into three, with each section presenting some information and activities about different kinds of treatments. The first section introduced the idea of saints through a colouring sheet of St. Lucy; the second considered secular surgery with the option of making an origami eye; and the third was ‘aids’, i.e. glasses, with a ‘make your own pair of rivet spectacles’ activity. You can see me briefly chatting about it below!

However, whilst my craft activities went down a treat with younger visitors, I wanted the opportunity to engage those who were interested that little bit further, and consequently designed three A3 posters, each relating to a different method of treatment. The posters were a great talking point and provided a wonderful opportunity to work some medieval imagery into my stall. Not surprisingly, one of the most discussed points was the later medieval narrative of St. Lucy’s self-mutilation in order to dissuade a suitor! I feel like, for the most part, the posters are self-explanatory, so I’ve included them in a slideshow below – if you do have any questions though, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message, a comment or a tweet!

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All in all, my stall seemed to be successful with adults and children alike, primarily, it seemed, because many visitors had first-hand experience of needing glasses, contact lenses, or corrective eye surgery themselves. As a result, this led to a lot of interest from the public about how and when glasses were invented and how somebody like themselves might have fared in the Middle Ages.

For more exciting things happening at Leeds University, keep an eye on our events calendar!

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