Public Archaeology 2015, seeks to explore different kinds of archaeology producing different kinds of engagement with different kinds of public. Certainly within archaeology itself, public archaeology, or ensuring public engagement with archaeological themes, practice or results, is central to the future development of the field. After years of discussion of public archaeology on Twitter, at conferences and in the pub (and, in particular, once on the way to the pub with Lorna Richardson) I have become intrigued by the role of non-archaeologists in this relationship. In my own work, I have always seen the potential for archaeology to incorporate a conception of itself as a ‘way of seeing’ that can be of use to all people in everyday situations.
This project expands on that theme, by replacing the expert-provider-audience model with one more fluid where non-archaeologists are afforded the space and encouragement to develop their own public archaeology projects. Effectively, we are attempting a year of public engagement with archaeology wherein all of the central terms are up for debate (although we have defined an archaeologist as someone who produces, has produced, or aspires to produce formal archaeological products).
Thus, our public means any person other than yourself and/or multiples thereof. Our engagement is that person or people thinking, however briefly, about a thing you did or said. As for impact, the formal measure of most public projects, we give responsibility for that to the engaged public and will not be attempting to measure it.
The project will facilitate 12 public archaeology interventions over the course of 2015, half led by archaeologists, half by non-archaeologists. The whole process is open for people to get involved in shaping how it runs; regular posts on individual projects will be available for discussion from 16 July onward. See you there.