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Dr Stephanie Holton

Profile summary

Professional biography

I grew up in a small seaside town in Northern Ireland then headed off to the 'mainland' to study at university: first at Edinburgh (MA Classics & MSc Classics), and then at Royal Holloway (PhD Classics). Before joining the Open University as a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Classical Studies in March 2024, I spent nearly six years at Newcastle where I was a Senior Lecturer in Classics. Having come into the discipline as a first-generation student from a working class background, I'm a firm believer that it should be more accessible to everyone. In 2024, I gained Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy for my extensive work on curriculum redesign, inclusive pedagogy, and authentic assessment across Ancient Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies. 

Research interests

My research focuses on ancient thought - especially the interactions between literature, philosophy, and medicine in the Archaic to Classical period. A core interest is the soul and its associated activities both during and after its time in the body. My most recent monograph Sleep and Dreams in Early Greek Thought: Presocratic and Hippocratic Approaches places the theories of the Presocratics and Hippocratics on both phenomena within their full cultural and intellectual context for the first time. I continue to work on ancient ideas about sleep and dreams alongside newer projects on death and the afterlife in both the Greek and Roman worlds.

I also actively work on a number of pedagogy projects, especially around the accessibility of ancient languages. I previously undertook a three-year funded project ('Applied Ancient Languages') in which I researched and implemented alternative pathways, learning activities, and assessment for post-intermediate Latin and Ancient Greek. My current projects build on this to explore language acquisition and co-created learning opportunities in different contexts, including at museums and in home education settings.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are wide and varied, and I have extensive experience in the successful design and delivery of Latin, Ancient Greek, and Classical Studies modules across all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate study. At Newcastle, I led over twenty modules including the award-winning research-led options 'Dreams and Dreaming in the Ancient World' & 'Exploring the Underworld' as well as popular text seminars on Homer, Greek tragedy, the Hippocratic Corpus, Plato, and Lucretius. I also contributed to teaching in English Literature and Archaeology. I often deliver curricular and extra-curricular workshops for Primary and Secondary schools and home education groups, as well as CPD on ancient world topics for teachers and museums.

At the OU, I am currently involved in A340 The Roman Empire and A112 Cultures. 

Impact and engagement

A large part of my professional career is devoted to outreach and public engagement, and I often work in collaboration with local schools, arts and heritage partners, and national charities. I have extensive experience designing and facilitating creative public workshops for adults and children: recent projects have included investigating local Roman history through inscriptions, journeying through the Underworld, adventuring in the Ancient Egyptian afterlife, and even an evening of Ancient Greek necromancy. I recently designed and curated my first museum exhibition, PSYCHE: Where does the soul go?, which combines ancient objects and creative practice to more playfully explore the question of life after death. If you have an classically-themed project you'd like to discuss, get in touch!

External collaborations

  • Classical Association Teaching Board: Subject Advisory Group (Ancient Greek)
  • External Examiner for Greek Language and Literature, University of Manchester
  • Classics for All Trainer (Newcastle/NE)
  • Hadrian’s Wall Learning & Engagement Forum member
  • Trustee, Helix Arts
  • Group for Education in Museums
  • International Association for Presocratic Studies 
  • International Association for the Study of Dreams


Sleep and Dreams in Early Greek Thought: Presocratic and Hippocratic Approaches (2022-03-18)
Holton, Stephanie
Medicine and the Body in Antiquity
ISBN : 9780367209162 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK

Prognosis and psyche: the medical dream before Aristotle (2024-05)
Holton, Stephanie
In : ONEIRATA: Sleep, Dreams, and Divination in Aristotle and his Predecessors (22-23 May 2024, University of Durham, Durham, UK)