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Dig Where We Stand


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Archive for May, 2013

Presenting your Research training

Sarah B Dhanjal17 May 2013

Last Saturday (11th May) we held our second workshop.  The theme was ‘Presenting Your Research’ and focused on thinking about exhibiting and interpreting your research to a wider audience.  The first talk was by Sarah, in which she encouraged the participants to think about who their audiences will be and how best to cater for them.  This was followed another talk by Sarah on taking interpretation outdoors, using interpretation panels, trails and other methods.  After lunch, Chris talked about how to research historic film and images, including an interesting and entertaining clip of Morecambe in 1901.  Anna presented OMEKA as a method of curating and sharing archives, using her own PhD research as an example.  Our last presentation was from Subhadra Das, Curator for UCL Teaching and Research Collections.  Subhadra shared her experience of curating the Disposal exhibition at UCL, using it as a way of walking us through the exhibition process.

Slides for the presentations can be found here:

Anna’s Presentation

Sarah’s Presentations

Chris’ Presentations

Subhadra’s Presentation

Last week, Sarah and Gabe met Roger from the East Finchley Community Trust to discuss how the test pit activity at Martin Primary went.  The activity was received positively by the school and the pupils and included the discovery of a ‘mysterious bunker’. For more info see this – http://bit.ly/10tNwld  We also discussed the Est Finchley Big Dig, coming up in July.

Anna and Sarah at Paddington Arts

Tina and Sarah visited Valence House on Friday to discuss the Catch-22 project and helped to formulate three days of archive and oral history training for young people in Becontree.  DWWS will be providing special sessions for the training days.

Anna, Tina and Sarah also went to Paddington Arts on Monday, where they helped Steve and his work experience pupils to work

through the exhbition process to create a mock up of the project exhibition, to be displayed in late June.

We also had some excellent film training on Wednesday – another busy week!

Doing Historical Research!

Tina Paphitis10 May 2013

Last Saturday (4th May) was the first of three workshops we are holding for our groups to assist them with undertaking their projects. The theme of this workshop was ‘Doing Historical Research,’ and featured talks by the Dig Where We Stand team, as well as provided an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, discuss issues and relate their own experiences. The day started with an introduction to conducting historical research by Gabriel, who also talked about how archaeological research is carried out and how this might be incorporated into heritage projects. This was followed by two talks by Andrew on Oral History, discussing what oral history is, why it is done, how it is conducted, and how it can be used. Andrew also went through the kind of recording equipment that can be used for conducting oral histories, and the ethics involved in this kind of research. This was followed by two talks by Anna on Archives, thinking about what they are and how they can be used, and referring to case studies working through how archival material can be interpreted. We hoped that this day provided some useful pointers for project members, but it was also great to see attendees getting to know each Anna presenting on archivesother during the tea breaks and lunch, exchanging stories and creating new networks!

Slides for the presentations can be found here:

Andrew’s Presentation

Anna’s Presentation

This week, Sarah and Tina also visited Liat at the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) on Wednesday to hear about what has been going on there, the progress of the new Centre being built in Swiss Cottage, and to think about the many exciting possibilities for taking the project forward. It was wonderful to hear about the JCC’s success with their project, and prospects for the future. Sarah also followed this meeting with one with Martin Primary, and Tina will be visiting Valence House on Friday to discuss the Catch-22 project, so a very busy week!

Community Archaeology on the Edge…

Sarah B Dhanjal2 May 2013

reykjavikLast week Gabriel, Sarah and Tina went to Nordic Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) in Reykjavik, Iceland.  The theme of the conference was Borders, Margins, Fringes: Archaeology from the Edge.


Sarah organised a session with Suzie Thomas (University of Glasgow), entitled ‘Community Archaeology and the University’.  The idea of the session was to explore the role of universities in community archaeology and to encourage participants to think about some of the issues involved.  We are really grateful for all the thought provoking papers contributed and the responses that we had from those attending.


The session began with a paper called ‘How (not) to research community archaeology’ by Gabriel.  In this paper, he discussed the development of community archaeology and the models which are used to understand it at present.  He suggested that the principles of participatory action research could be used to help plan and understand community archaeology.


The next two participants presented papers discussing two very different projects, both based in Manchester.  Hannah Cobb presented the Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History Project and demonstrated how the University of Manchester, as a strong presence in the area, acts as a part of the community.  Adam Thompson discussed the Dig Greater Manchester project, in which, by contrast, the University of Salford aims to engage with communities in 10 local authorities in Manchester.  The papers usefully contrasted projects which differ in both scale and approach.


Next up, Sarah gave paper on Dig Where We Stand looking at some of the ways in which the funding framework has affected the way in which the project has worked.  Sarah raised the question of altruism in community archaeology, asking whether the motivations of universities have to be linked to funding, research outcomes and impact.


Tom Dawson explored the interaction between the University of St Andrews and local communities on Scotland’s coastline.  Researchers monitoring coastal erosion are engaging the public in editing and updating the records of sites at risk via an interactive website and mobile phone app.  Tom raised important points about the need to incorporate community work into research frameworks.


Suzie drew the session to a close by presenting the new Journal for Community Archaeology and Heritage, to be launched in 2014 by the academic publishers Maney.  The journal will provide a new platform for community archaeologists of all backgrounds to share their research.  The journal will feature academic papers.  One of many innovative features will be the ‘Reflections’ section, in which community participants will be invited to reflect on their experiences of community archaeology and heritage projects.  We certainly hope to contribute in the future!