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Children given weird and wonderful lessons in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 21:00 11 December 2011

Ten year old Oscar Stevens, left entering the weird world of the Chldrens Christmas Lectures at the UEA. photo : Steve Adams

Ten year old Oscar Stevens, left entering the weird world of the Chldrens Christmas Lectures at the UEA. photo : Steve Adams

Hats, broomsticks, skulls and skeletons were on show in Norwich as children were transported back to a time when witches, ghosts and magic were widely-thought to be real.

The children, aged between eight and 14, were at the University of East Anglia for some ‘weird and wonderful’ Christmas lectures.

The annual lectures took place at one of the university’s lecture halls with the aim of supporting a new wave of students from a young age to experience university life and get a taste of further information.

Historian Prof Malcolm Gaskill presented the ‘weird’ side as he took his young audience back in time. He focused on the world inhabited by our ancestors, with an exploration of the Tudor and Stuarts.

He said: “I wanted to show the kids that all the spooky things they love at Halloween – witches, ghosts, and magic – were once real in the minds of their ancestors.”

Dr Rob Grant from the School of International Development spoke about the ‘wonderful’ world, discussing the changes that have taken place globally over the years and investigating why some countries remain poorer than others.

He said: “Maybe bad news will always be big news, but when we think about world development it is all too easy to talk only of problems. Of course, there are many very serious problems to talk about – the terrible extent of poverty being the most obvious.

“However, we would do a disservice to the amazing efforts and achievements of poor people if we did not recognise the many positive gains they have made.”

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