Dr Marchella Ward

Photo of Marchella Ward
Classics Faculty
College office: 
Tinsley Outreach Fellow; Designated Safeguarding Lead

Dr Marchella Ward (Chella) is the College’s Access Fellow – 50% of her fellowship is devoted to research, with the other 50% reserved for managing the College’s access and widening participation programmes. You can find out about the work that the College does with schools and sixth form colleges, and particularly with groups of students under-represented in Higher Education here. She studied Classics and English as an undergraduate and then did her graduate work at Oxford, at Regent's Park and St Hilda's Colleges.


The majority of Chella’s teaching is in classical reception. She gives lectures and tutorials for ‘The Reception of Classical Literature in Poetry in English since 1900’ paper, and also supervises undergraduate and graduate dissertation work on areas related to classical reception – especially those that concern race, disability, gender and queer theory. She also co-runs Worcester’s Decolonisation Course with Rea Duxbury.

Research interests: 

Chella’s research focusses on classical reception, especially as it relates to bodies. Her doctorate focussed on the relationship between ableism and the classical tradition (looking at blindness in the theatre in particular as an example). The book that resulted from her doctorate, Looking and Looking Back: Disassembling Ableism in Ancient and Modern Theatres is currently under review with Cambridge University Press. She has also written on bodies in myth and the formation of identities / prejudices, on Classics and coloniality (especially in relation to borders and migration), on speculative realism and assemblage theory as models for classical reception, on queer approaches to classical reception and on Classics and Islam. She is currently working on a new project on Classics and eugenics in Europe. She runs the Critical Ancient World Studies research group together with Dr Mathura Umachandran (Cornell), which brings early career scholars together from around the world to find more critical and decolonising approaches to antiquity. 

Selected publications: 

'Why does Classical Reception need Disability Studies?' with Dr Hannah Silverblank, Classical Receptions Journal, 12:4, p.502-520, (2020) - this article was the Editor's Choice and so is free for all to read here

'Assemblage Theory and the Uses of Classical Reception: the case of Aristotle Knowsley's Oedipus', Classical Receptions Journal, 11:4, p.508-523, (2019).

'I am that same wall, the truth is so: Performing a tale from Ovid', chapter in Epic Performances: From the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century, eds. F. Macintosh, J. McConnell, S. Harrison and C. Kenward (2018)

Chella also frequently gives talks and writes for the general public and also for children. You can find her recent article for the Times Literary Supplement on a modern production of Sophocles’ Antigone here, and see her most recent children’s book here. She also provides specialist support to documentary-makers working on topics related to the ancient world – you can see a documentary that she advised on here.