CAA Seminar: Contract archaeology and academic research (UCL, October-February)

13/10/14 .-

CAA Seminar: Contract archaeology and academic research

The opening seminar in the new Centre for Applied Archaeology (CAA) Seminar Series on 'The value of commercial archaeology' will take place at the Institute on 17 October.

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is home to one of the UK’s largest commercial units - Archaeology South-East (ASE), the contracts division of the Centre for Applied Archaeology.

Academic and contract archaeologists have different visions of the nature and purpose of archaeological practice, arising from different value-systems and drivers that reflect on the varying needs of diverse customers and audiences. This represents an important challenge for the Institute in the way in which it develops the professional activities of ASE alongside the teaching and research activities of a University department.

This seminar series will explore ways in which contract archaeology works within an academic environment, whilst looking to find new and mutual benefits to the relationship. How do we foster better dialogue between the worlds of academia and professional practice, recognising the positive contribution that each can make to the work of the other? How can our involvement in commercial archaeology deliver better research, teaching and training? How can we exploit contract opportunities to develop innovative practice, expand on the social benefits of community and industry based fieldwork, and push forward the frontiers of our discipline? How can we find and demonstrate public benefit in our work?

Seminar 1: Contract archaeology and academic research
Chair/discussant: Adrian Olivier


Dominic Perring: Crossing the academic/commercial divide
Sue Hamilton: Why the Institute of Archaeology has a field unit

Pip Stephenson & Jim Stevenson: Medmerry, a current case-study in making contract opportunities meet research objectives

Joe Flatman: State, market and academia – some different perspectives on the place of research in archaeological work

Discussion topics:

* What contribution is commercial archaeology making to creating knowledge?
* How can we better use this work to advance understanding, and in turn drive practice into new areas?
* What should be done to improve the research output of ASE staff, and how do we involve IoA staff and students in developing research proposals?
* What scope is there to join forces in developing research initiatives that draw on, and ultimately enhance, both academic and contract work?
* How do we make sure that the research results of contract archaeology are incorporated into what is taught, integrating real, up-to-date, and significant results into the syntheses and texts used for teaching?
* How do we make our research relevant and valuable to diverse clients and communities?
* What big questions should we be asking of the landscapes where we work?

A wine reception will be held at the conclusion of each seminar, encouraging further discussion.

Any enquiries about the seminar series may be directed to Dominic Perring.

CAA Seminar Series Programme 2014-15
The value of commercial archaeology

17 October 2014: Contract archaeology and academic research
7 November 2014: New technologies and archaeological practice
21 November 2014: Working with communities in commercial archaeology
5 December 2014: Impact: making a difference
19 December 2014: Communicating the results of work in developer-funded archaeology
23 January 2015: Not just commercial archaeology: what are the alternative models?
6 February 2015: Training, skills and employment: teaching and learning in contract archaeology

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