CIfA has now commented on the publication of the report Reflections on Archaeology, by the British Academy on 29 March and generally welcomes the content.
The report calls for
‘action to safeguard the future of UK archaeology, so it can continue to lead the way in groundbreaking discoveries … [and address] the biggest challenges facing archaeological research and study today’.
In their rather polite response, CIfA endorse the report’s lucid analysis of the important role archaeology has to play in informing responses to some of the great challenges facing the world today. They also agree with many of the report’s findings on the challenges faced, especially in some UK counties with the loss of expert advice to planning authorities and the potential for this to lead to a loss or at least, decrease in developer funded archaeology.
The CIfA are encouraged by the proposal by the British Academy to engage with other stakeholders in the sector in a shared endeavour to present the value of archaeology more effectively to potential students, governments, media and other opinion-formers and decision-makers.
However, both CIfA and BAJR are less than convinced of a clear path to structural reorganisation which will improve the sector’s marketing and advocacy success, and are also troubled by the report’s categorisation of archaeology into either ‘academic’ or ‘professional’, which risks reinforcing the divisions that elsewhere it rightly seeks to overcome.
That archaeologists must work together in the pursuit of our discipline we all agree, and CIfA stands ready to work with the Academy to promote a stronger culture of collaboration in the sector.
David Connolly of BAJR however, feels this is not enough , and would echo the concerns of those on the BAJR Facebook page, that to work with other stakeholders means just that, working with ALL those who represent the archaeology and archaeologists of the UK along with the specialists, curators, museum and archives professionals and also the grass roots supporters of the heritage industry. The challenge is to find effective leadership that has an understanding of the interests, issues and complexities of the whole profession.
Perhaps a reasoned and measured addition to this report from those that feel they were not consulted in the stakeholder stakes would be a sign of collaboration, without conflict.
If you are interested in this proposal, then please contact David Connolly (firstname.lastname@example.org)