The central notion of this project is that the future of public archaeology must factor in the potential for archaeological work – broadly defined – to be undertaken by non-archaeologists, without archaeological supervision.
Whether or not this can be practically realised will be revealed over time. If it is in some way possible, it will be realised by archaeologists inspiring non-archaeologists to action. This will take place through the creation of work with strong impacts beyond the immediate field and through the consideration of the concerns and interests of non-archaeologists centrally within archaeological thought and practice.
This project seeks to undertake a year of public engagement led equally by archaeologists and non-archaeologists, aimed solely at the creation of public engagement with archaeology, where the definitions of all central terms remain open to debate for the duration of the project.
The project will be undertaken by 12 separate individuals or groups, 6 archaeologists and 6 non-archaeologists, each taking responsibility for 1 calendar month in 2015. An archaeologist is defined as a person who produces formal archaeological output, has done so in the past, or aspires to do so in the future.
What the project will produce
The project aims to create and explore different kinds of public engagement with archaeological themes and practice. It is anticipated that the impact of each month’s work will be all that remains upon its completion, leaving the public engagement with archaeology to ‘speak for itself’. In short the project, unlike so many in recent times, will not be aimed at making archaeological products – academic papers, conferences, books, reports – but simply at doing archaeology in ways that make meaning for others. The level of documentation that will remain after 2015 will be decided by the project’s participants.
How the project will run
Participants will be recruited to the project over the course of summer and autumn of 2014 and invited to submit a proposal for how they will use their allotted month to create an archaeological project of some kind. Proposals will be assessed by the whole group with suggestions made for improvement or expansion. The project will maintain a central web presence, initially to discuss ideas and set-up the project, thereafter to document the project’s actions through the year. Public engagement and impacts will be defined by individual participants, but it is central to the project that meaningful public engagement can happen right down to the level of one-to-one conversations. The creation of the greatest possible impact is not one of the project’s aspirations.