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Southport consultation
Stat here with the views you wish to be expressed as part of the consultation

Keep it positive.
I would like the consultation to be explicit (and express in straight forward easy to understand terms) about how it sees the way forward for the heritage profession in the light of PPS5. Whether they favour a Chartered profession, licencing or some other form of accredited professional status AND if so how they intend to handle the question of current or future participants who choose to remain outside the current professional institutes and how they intend to monitor standards amongst non-professional participants.

In doing so, to take all those aspects of community, amateur, wider public involvement scattered amongst the 27 'theses' in the consultation and meld them into a single statement of principle on the subject.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
I would like the consultation to address how they will adapt and amend their vision in the face of rapidly destabilising industry that is haemorrhaging the core support mechanisms that were necessary for the vision to move forward. Lack of support from local and national government bodies coupled with economic down turn are now a major possibly terminal threat rather than an unfortunate coincidence.
Personally, I would like to see more clarity and less spin written into the proposal. I appreciate that at this stage generalisation is needed to account for further input from those concerned. Admittedly I am cautiously concerned that this is an attempt to win over or as some may read "force" those whom have chosen not to partake of IFA membership to join in order to be seen by the industry as a professional archaeologist. At the moment this just doesn't sit well, with all due respect to the Digger Forum (and their efforts to address the shortcoming of the IFA with regard to "heritage practicioners" or diggers). I would be hard pressed to be persuaded that the IFA represents those who choose to dig for a liviing. To my mind, what I find a bit off putting is the phrasology

"Meanwhile commercial and voluntary practitioners should increasingly recognise and comply with professional standards so that all are encouraged to acquire new skills and accreditation"[FONT=&quot]

[/FONT]Perhaps I am niave, but don't many of us do so already? Through my own experience as a student volunteer, to paid heritage practioner (digger), to supervisor, to project officer, project manager, director, and consultant (and now working in the role of digger) since becoming aquainted with IFA standards, these have always been catered for. With that knowledge regardless of what role one is performing, it would be irresponsible to disgard working towards these set standards just because one chooses to dig and not act in a management capacity. Why the need to force people to join? What is wrong with choice? As for new skills and accreditation, as it is I do this off my own back. I value independence rather than having to participate in a micro managed machine. Simply my opinion.

"Development-led research into the historic environment should be a collaborative venture involving commercially-funded, local authority, higher education and the voluntary sector. It should be focused on interpretation, understanding and significance, not record. In all cases decisions should be founded on sound knowledge derived from HERs mediated by expert professionals, and from proportionate and appropriate professional research, commissioned by the applicant, into the interests of a place and its significance."

Now this I can sink my teeth into Smile As it is moving back into a dig role, the view from here up the ladder is that "we" have become nothing more than data collectors rather than archaeologists.

So for the moment, there are some aspects of the proposal that would I like to hear more detail about. As Kevin and Wax (and BAJR) have pointed out, clarity is key. Please please please include a caveate calling for clear and concise phraseology. Enjoy the bank holidays, I'm off to London for the weekend:face-approve:
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
I would like to see the consultation really address Article 3 of the Valletta Convention (1992), particularly 3.ii, and not just gloss over it as EH did in 2001

It took our government almost 10 years to ratify this convention, how long is going to take the Heritage sector to adapt?

Quote:Article 3[INDENT]To preserve the archaeological heritage and guarantee the scientific significance of archaeological research work, each Party undertakes: [/INDENT][INDENT]i to apply procedures for the authorisation and supervision of excavation and other archaeological activities in such a way as: [/INDENT][INDENT]a to prevent any illicit excavation or removal of elements of the archaeological heritage; [/INDENT][INDENT]b to ensure that archaeological excavations and prospecting are undertaken in a scientific manner and provided that[/INDENT]
  • non-destructive methods of investigation are applied wherever possible;
  • the elements of the archaeological heritage are not uncovered or left exposed during or after excavation without provision being made for their proper preservation, conservation and management;
[INDENT]ii to ensure that excavations and other potentially destructive techniques are carried out only by qualified, specially authorised persons;

to subject to specific prior authorisation, whenever foreseen by the domestic law of the State, the use of metal detectors and any other detection equipment or process for archaeological investigation
I see the bad moon rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

may I refer you to
Reason: your past is my past
i would like the consultation to include a forecast for the size and shape of the 'promised land' industry, a model career structure for accredited organisations and individuals, a plan for the wholesale reworking of terms and conditions in the sector to include proper remuneration.
P Prentice Wrote:i would like the consultation to include a forecast for the size and shape of the 'promised land' industry, a model career structure for accredited organisations and individuals, a plan for the wholesale reworking of terms and conditions in the sector to include proper remuneration.

A few years back the IfA came up with a forward plan for the short term improvement of terms, conditions and renumeration to the level of comparable professions....unfortunately suspended in 2009 due to the 'economic crisis'. It would be good to see the IfA announce a date for the reintroduction of the forward plan, (with of course appropriate revision for the time lost and a reassessment of the comparison with other jobs). To my mind progress on other areas of the IfA agenda, chartered status for example, will be hamstrung unless there is progress on the matter of wages, terms and condditions and an overall career structure.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
We as a profession need:

An Institute/guild/union/club/whatever to listen to us and represent us, ALL of US. It should provide a clear career path with clear and agreed pay structures, holidays, conditions etc. It should lay down full specifications and methodologies for ALL parts of our profession. It should be held as a "must" to join. It should support 100% the Valletta terms and agreements. All this should be in clear and concise understandable English. It should not shy away from calling us Field Archaeologists or just Archaeologists for that’s what we are (yes even the pen pushers). Please stop calling me a Heritage Professional...I’m an ARCHAEOLOGIST and proud of it!
I am 100% for community involvement in archaeological excavations through open days, talks, site visits, leaflets etc. etc. The more communication of information the better!

But, I am 100% against volunteer diggers on a commercial site. If someone is doing a job, they should be paid for it. If they are not doing a job.....they shouldn't be there (unless visiting or on an open day.)

I have worked in many different aspects of the heritage industry as a volunteer, a trainee, self-employed and employed. It is clear from my experience that there is a 'misunderstanding' or something going on here.
It is insane, immoral, unsafe (H+S), and probably illegal to use volunteers as commercial diggers.

You cannot run a commercial dig like a research/training dig or vice versa...the two are so different at every level the two are incompatible.

What about insurance? CSCS cards, minimum wage? The multitude of professional standards and guidelines......note the word professional, any union members should be screaming at volunteers undercutting them and stealing jobs from out-of work professionals.

What experienced, capable diggers would agree to work for free? What kind of volunteer would work commercial hours and under commercial conditions, with the same legal responsibilities for the quality of their work as a commercial digger? What kind of volunteer would sign a contract basically stating that they have all the responsibilities as an employee but without being paid?

Have I suddenly woken up in the past and archaeology is only a hobby?

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