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Recently.... The IfA has began a major new initiative to establish an Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) The IfA Registered Organisations Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "Recently.... The IfA has began a major new initiative to establish an Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) The IfA Registered Organisations Committee."— Presentation transcript:


2 Recently.... The IfA has began a major new initiative to establish an Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) The IfA Registered Organisations Committee is keen to encourage registration of all historic environment educational organisations

3 I would like to explain the background and rationale of these developments

4 The IfA is a professional organisation for all archaeologists and others involved in protecting and understanding the historic environment

5 The IfA,  acts in support of its members  works to improve pay and conditions  represents the interests of archaeology and archaeologists to government, policy makers and industry  keeps members up to date on developments in archaeological practice  sets standards and issues guidelines  promotes and organises training  improves individual career prospects  provides a wide range of membership services

6 Through its Registered Organisations scheme the IfA improves employment practices and raises standards of work

7 When the IfA was established in 1982 as the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) the proportion of academics amongst its membership was much higher than it is today. These academics played a major role in the founding and early development of the IfA. Many of the original members from the higher education sector remain in membership, but over the intervening years the Institute has by and far largely failed to attract the succeeding generations of university staff

8 Today.... Around 10% of the archaeological workforce is employed in education and research by universities Less than 5% of the IfA’s 2,800 current members are employed in such a capacity by Universities (Students make up an additional 7.5% of membership)

9 The perceived reasons for this are that academics  do not see practical benefits in membership, whether in tangible terms (e.g. academic journal) or intangible terms (e.g. a need to join in order to help progress through the world of higher or continuing education)  think of themselves as academics rather than archaeologists  feel that the IfA is not relevant to them since they do not carry out any or any extensive fieldwork  feel they are better represented by other bodies (including learned societies)  resent the prospect of further regulation in the field of higher education which is already highly regulated  fear that the IfA might seek to regulate how and what they teach

10 The immediate challenge the IFA faced at its founding was the development of commercial archaeology with the many challenges it brought. As a result the IFA focused on this sector by developing standards and creating an environment to ensure they were adhered to. Inevitably this came at the expense of priorities of other archaeology sectors

11 It was never the intention of the IfA to neglect the challenge of other archaeological sectors

12 With this in mind the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) repositioned itself  to reflect that it is no longer simply an institute of field archaeologists with membership coming from all over the historic environment  to enthusiastically embrace convergence and integration of historic environment practice and to work for all historic environment professionals  to convince people of how comprehensive archaeological practice is  to convince all archaeologists, whatever their focus or place of work that it can represent them and they are welcome to join


14 It is in this context that the IfA wishes to become more relevant to the academic community engaged in the historic environment and to serve it

15 The IfA believes that  to be effective the academic, curatorial, and commercial sectors of archaeology need to work together  there are real advantages for both the academic community and the IfA to work together

16 Those involved in academic roles have an important part to play in the development of the profession  ensuring that research plays an integral part in all archaeological work; that such work is carried out to professional standards (including appropriate academic standards) and that the results of such work are of academic value  educating the next generation of archaeologists  disseminating the results of archaeological endeavour  working in partnership with the wider profession constantly to develop the theory and practice of archaeology

17 In addition,  through the RO scheme a natural forum exists to further the Knowledge Transfer agendas that are so important to universities  the IfA can be a meeting ground for all academics engaged in the historic environment, not just archaeology  the IfA can act as a forum for university departments and learned societies  the IfA has a number of Special Interest Groups, most, such as the Geophysics SIG, have a strong academic dimension  the IfA can be a meaningful context for students to interact and prepare for effective careers  with its new international agenda the IfA can be a major support to extensive archaeological research and education with an international dimension

18 The IfA would like to engage with the academic community, both universities and learned societies. This engagement can take a range of forms

19 There are two vehicles through which an academic agenda can be advanced through the IfA  individually academics through membership of IfA and its Academic Special Interest Group  organisationally by becoming a Registered Organisation

20 Registered educational organisations have improved access to and a more central position within the wider profession. Registration helps institutions keep abreast of developments within the historic environment, strengthen links between the academic and commercial worlds and demonstrate commitment to professional standards. Access to employers across the sector is a strong selling point with potential students

21 Currently the proposed Academic SIG’s purposes are  to disseminate information and advice with regard to academic or educational issues of concern to IfA members  to provide a forum for members of the Group  to promote a better understanding amongst the academic community of the work of the IfA and of other professional issues in archaeology and the heritage sector  to promote the formulation and application of common standards in all areas of endeavour in the heritage sector  to advise IfA Council and its committees on any issues affecting the academic community and upon how the IfA can best serve the academic community  to advise IfA Council and its committees on issues affecting students and student membership of the IfA  to develop and promote academic agendas for IfA SIGs generally  to develop an interface between the academic community and the commercial sector  to encourage and foster closer relationships between the academic community in the heritage sector and curators, professional organisations and other university departments

22 The IfA invites you to join as members and for your organisation to register as an educational Registered Organisation

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