As usual we ask members to suggest future activities that they would be interested in attending and / or helping to organise.
At present we try to have a Study Day each year, plus one or two ‘behind the scenes’ visits related to ASTENE’s areas of interest. Recent Study Days included in Oxford in July 2010, on the subject ‘Travellers to the Monasteries of the Levant’. In the past we have been ‘behind the scenes’ in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the library at All Souls College and the Griffith Institute, both in Oxford, and to the Royal Geographical Society. We have also looked at Orientalist art in Birmingham, at Nile travel in Manchester, and at a range of subjects and travellers (including Irby and Mangles) in Exeter. Biennial conferences have been held in Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Southampton.
ASTENE also organises a tour abroad every two years. So far we have travelled to Islamic and early Christian Cairo; to Cyprus, both north and south; through Syria; in 2009 up the Nile on a dahabeeyah and a tour of Greece and Albania following in the footsteps of Byron and Leake; and in 2011, ‘Beyond the Grand Tour’, a visit to Istanbul, Izmir and the ancient sites of Western Turkey, including Pergamum, Sardis, Priene, Miletus and Ephesus. On each tour we hold a short conference of some half-dozen papers by the ASTENE participants and local members. One idea for the future is a tour to Alexandria, with a visit to Siwa and the Eastern Desert.
We would like to consider proposals for activities in other areas and welcome all ideas. Please send suggestions to the Bulletin Editor who will pass them on appropriately.