ABOUT THE BRICK CLASSICISTS EMPIRE
ἱστορεῖν παίζειν - To Do History is to Play*
The Brick Classicists Empire or BCE (previously Lego Classicists) is a growing, vibrant community brought together through shared connection to each other and the ancient world. The BCE encourages everyone with a love of the ancient world to celebrate and play!
The BCE project combines pop-art and history to engage with the art and culture of the ancient world and the people who study or are inspired by it. It is a community of scholars and ancient history lovers brought together through a shared desire for and love of play, innovation and celebration. The BCE project was begun in 2016 by Liam D. Jensen, an historical archivist and 4th generation artist, with a background in filmmaking and an interest in pop-culture. It is primarily self-funded project, with extra funding from the general public through PATREON and corporate sponsorship with special projects, aimed at connecting the ancient history community and the general public through a shared love of the subject and a sense of human celebration.
BCE members include scholars, archaeologists, curators, museum directors, conservators, archivists, media presenters and others who play a part in helping us understand the ancient world. Using LEGO® minifigures, individual portraits of scholars and others are created as gifts to the people they depict and honour, and the images are shared with stories about them and their work. The aim is to connect everyone with a love of ancient history together and share that joy through celebration and serious play.
BCE portraits have been displayed in a number of international museums and ancient history institutions including the British Museum, Jönköpings läns Museum, Sweden, The Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney, Australia and in 2018 they were featured in a social media collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum. Brick Classicists figures have appeared on BBC TV, ABC Radio, Australia, in the Greek and Italian press and have taken tours of ancient sites with a number leading scholars and ancient world presenters.
Currently, the British School at Athens is hosting an online BCE exhibition, the culmination of a Virtual Artist in Residency by Liam D. Jensen.
The BCE portraits are not for sale and only two are made: one for the person being honoured and one for the BCE archive. All portraits are sent as presents to the individual subjects. Each portrait is individually and painstakingly designed and researched and they typically take months to produce. The portraits are shared on three social media platforms and this website.
Subjects are chosen in a number of ways including being known personally by the artist, coming to his attention through their work, or through suggestions from others. A deliberate attempt is made to include subjects from many different areas, not just from scholarship, to celebrate the wide-ranging ways the ancient world can be relevant and engaging in the international modern world and to deliberately expand our general understanding of the “classics” and its study and application across gender, culture and medium.
WHAT IS A CLASSICIST?
A classicist is someone who studies the ancient world. The discipline of classics has traditionally involved the study of ancient Greece and Rome (literature, language and history), but more recently it tends to be broadened to include all ancient world studies. The BCE uses the term “classicists” broadly, and BCE members include people who specialise in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Scandinavia and other ancient cultures. BCE members include archaeologists, historians, language, art and culture specialists, museum curators and directors, conservators and archivists and anyone involved in helping us understand and enjoy the ancient world.
"The Lego Classicist" believes that knowing about classics and the ancient world can help us make sense of the present and plan the future and we can all draw inspiration, wisdom, humour and strength from stories about the ancient world.
“Lego Classics” is a term coined by independent curator and scholar Lynette Jensen in 2019 in her plenary address Lego Classics: Serious or Superficial?, delivered at the University of New England, Australia, to describe the serious use of Lego to conceptually understand and explore the ancient world.