The 28th April 2017 should go down as a landmark in the new digital media archaeology landscape as the date of the first community archaeology twitter conference: https://publicarchaeologyconference.wordpress.com/. There were over 50 papers with 15 minute slots spread across 30 hours (with two keynote speakers kicking things off on the 27th April) from the Americas, Europe and the UK. It was a mammoth piece of inspiration and co-ordination by Lorna Richardson of the Council for British Archaeology, and hopefully an event that will be repeated. One of the fascinating aspects of the venture was to see the format of the conference evolving over the 30 hours, with live feedback on how to best link contributors’ tweets, the need to have tweets prepared and ready to go, and the use of images to supplement the 140 character format. Below is my synopsis and 12 tweets, including my slides, from my 9.45am slot on 28th April.
My paper looked at the social impact of Dig Greater Manchester, one of the largest community archaeology projects of the early 21st century run between 2011 and 2016. Running the project were three community archaeology professionals from the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the University of Salford, Brian Grimsditch, Sarah Cattell, and Vicky Nash, without whom the project would have failed. Central to DGM was an assessment of its social value through traditional data gathering such as feedback forms, more recent social media and importantly structured interviews led by Salford University psychologist Sharon Coen. The results are some very detailed data on the role of archaeology in identity forming and social linkages in an urban former industrial area of northern England.
- ‘I Dig Therefore I Am: The impact of the Dig Greater Manchester Project’: DGM builds on earlier Dig Manchester methodology (03-09) #PATC
- DGM, 2011-16, one of larger UK community archaeology projects of C21. Designed with local communities, explored sites on council land #PATC
- DGM aimed to build a long-term base for community archaeology through skills training & field experience using variety of sites #PATC
- 11 sites evaluated in 11 local authorities on land NOT threatened by redevelopment & archaeological sites rarely looked at in GM #PATC
- 2-week digs for volunteers & school children: skills & schools workshops in each borough. 3 spin off digs using same methodology #PATC
- DGM research aims devised in 2011 around (1) significance & practice of community archaeology (2) archaeology of industrialisation #PATC
- Feedback form designed based on Dig Mcr experience. From beginning given to all adult volunteers: 20% response rate: too complex or success? #PATC
- Feedback supported by structured indepth interviews by @SalfordUni psychologist Dr Sharon Coen with 24 DGM volunteers from 5 digs #PATC
- Impact of DGM on engagement: 62%-38% gender split in favour of women: largest active age group 61-80 year olds at 38% #PATC
- Impact of DGM on individuals: volunteering encourages common goals; equal status; breads new contacts; promotes better wellbeing #PATC
- Recognition by @BAAWARDSUK in 2014 & 16 but DGM not all positive: lack of volunteer ethnic diversity<2%; 12% volunteers aged 26-40 #PATC
- Finally DGM legacy: GM Archaeology Federation – 17 local societies; increased advocacy for heritage; new DGM Archaeology Festival #PATC