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INRAP - crisis in French Archaeology continues
#1
Les arch?ologues de l'Inrap contestent leur d?m?nagement ? Reims

LE MONDE | 21.01.10 | 16h03 ? Mis ? jour le 21.01.10 | 16h03



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Quote:Une part des espoirs de la communaut? scientifique et des personnels de l'Institut national de recherches arch?ologiques pr?ventives (Inrap) repose d?sormais sur les ?paules d'un jeune ?narque. Arnaud Roffignon, 36 ans, ancien conseiller des ministres de la culture Christine Albanel puis de Fr?d?ric Mitterrand, a ?t? nomm?, par un d?cret pr?sidentiel du 11 janvier, directeur g?n?ral du principal organisme de recherches arch?ologiques fran?ais.


A portion of the hopes of the scientific community and staff of the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) now rests on the shoulders of a young technocrat. Roffignon Arnaud, 36, a former adviser to the Ministers of Culture Christine Albanel and Frederic Mitterrand, has been appointed by a presidential decree of January 11, Director General of the main body of archaeological French
Quote:Cette nomination intervient dans un contexte d'inqui?tudes et de tensions. Depuis fin novembre 2009, le d?m?nagement de l'institut ? Reims est en effet de nouveau au go?t du jour. En conclusion d'un discours prononc? dans la capitale champenoise le 19 novembre, le premier ministre, Fran?ois Fillon, avait en effet confirm? que l'Inrap "s'installera(it) bien ? Reims prochainement, comme le gouvernement en a pris l'engagement".

This appointment comes at a time of anxiety and tension. Since late November 2009, the relocation of the institute in Reims is indeed back on the table. In concluding a speech in Champagne on November 19, Prime Minister Fran?ois Fillon confirmed that Inrap "will be installed very soon in Reims, as the government already has taken the commitment."

Quote:......Les d?tracteurs du d?m?nagement craignent en particulier le d?part de nombreux cadres et la perte de comp?tences. Ils redoutent aussi que les liens tiss?s avec le CNRS et les universit?s parisiennes ne se rompent ou ne se distendent. ...........

Critics fear the move and in particular the departure of several executives along with the loss of skills will break the ties with CNRS and the Universities Paris.


Read more here: from Le Monde Newspaper

http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/20..._3246.html
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#2
I am guessing that there is more behind this declaration of crisis than the mere 'departure of executives' and the decentrilisation of INRAP. Is there anyone on the ground who can provide more detail?
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#3
I agree Kevin, it doesn't exactly sound like a crisis to me yet, but perhaps there is more to this story.

Relocating the office and culling the management structure might be good for the organisation. I suspect that they'll have some of the same problems of UK government institutions relocating outside of London. Often about a third of the people leave, as they won't leave London. Decentralisation sounds like a great idea, particularly in a country as big and as populated as France. Surely they must have regional offices already? I wonder if this is due to commercial companies breaking their monopoly? I heard that previously developments can be held up for years by waiting for the state to have capacity to dig a site.
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#4
I have now taken the trouble to read the full article in Le Monde and have a much clearer idea of this particular problem.

INRAP has 2000 staff members. The article says that of these 95% are already decentralised and outside of Paris. This particular 'crisis' affects the 130 staff who are still left in the central Paris directorate of the organisation. Opponents of the proposal claim that the move to take the remaining 130 Paris posts to Reims is politically motivated and an attempt by the ruling party in Reims to encourage the voters in forthcoming elections. Many of the 'learned' persons interviewed are of the opinion that moving the directorate of INRAP away from Paris would be bad for French archaeology both nationally and internationally (?) as it would be seen as removing the close links between INRAP and the French academic bodeis based in Paris.

I suppose they have a point to an extent. Reims is about 130kms northeast of Paris (about the same distance as London-Southampton) and I am sure as we know in the UK (with Southampton being a very good case in point!!), intellectual ability does seem to diminish with a commute of about that distance......Also Reims is the capital of the champagne district....and probably a very bad area in which to base any centre concerned with archaeological excellence!!

Kevin - currently not drinking, but certainly thinking.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#5
Well, I'm not on/in the ground there at present but I think the fairly new competitive tendering thing isn't going down too well either. I can't say I'm surprised. Oxford are expanding and no matter what country you're in that could be seen as a bad thing. That is, of course, a personal opinion coloured by the fact that I live there and can't get any work!

Ben - not drinking but slowly stopping thinking...
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#6
I read this as: central government agency staff are disgruntled over having to move the office base. Any move of this kind is likely to be unpopular with the workforce, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing in the long run. France is a highly centralized country already, so I don't see it as a bad thing to be moving agencies out of Paris.

It's the kind of thing that happens in this country quite a lot - many department of Health civil servants are based in Leeds, HMRC in Shipley, DfID in East Kilbride etc. It's a good way of spreading the wealth if you ask me.
?He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself?
Chinese Proverb
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#7
I agree Windbag...that pretty much sums it up.

Although a French based colleague tells me that the INRAP decentralisation question is a smokescreen behind which deeper structural changes are being effected, in particular the opening up of the French archaeological 'market' to competitive tendering. This is causing great concern to French archaeologists. Very few are convinced that the model upon which a revision of the French system is being based i.e how archaeology works in the UK, is viable, and is likely to be of little benefit to either the archaeology of France or the career aspirations of French archaeologists.

They could have a point......!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#8
Quote:Very few are convinced that the model upon which a revision of the French system is being based i.e how archaeology works in the UK, is viable, and is likely to be of little benefit to either the archaeology of France or the career aspirations of French archaeologists.

Do you mean that nearly 20 years of PPGing has shown more holes in the system rather than benefits.. Wink:face-huh:
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#9
BAJR Wrote:Do you mean that nearly 20 years of PPGing has shown more holes in the system rather than benefits.. Wink:face-huh:

I take that to be a rhetorical question......
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#10
Can anyone give a brief description of how competitive tendering does actually work in France?

As far as I'm aware, all evaluation and testing work is undertaken by state archaeologists, ensuring that commercial concerns do not limit the archaeology that's actually found, and then the market is opened to competition for excavation phase. Does anyone have any direct experience of this process that they would like to share, particularly in comparison to the exclusively commercial framework of PPG16?
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