We have a rich heritage handed down from the past; going forward we will continue to cherish and celebrate it.
Fiona Hyslop MSP, IfA Conference speech.
It is hard to believe that nearly a month has passed since the IfA conference in Glasgow took place. We had a fantastic few days, with a great energy throughout the conference from all those who attended - our speakers, delegates, organisers and exhibitors. We hope those who attended enjoyed themselves and - as well as learning a lot (and remembered to record their CPD!) - had time to catch up with friends and colleagues, as well as meeting new people.
We were very lucky to have the conference kickstarted with a speech from Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP, who gave an optimistic insight into archaeology in Scotland as viewed from the highest political spheres of Scottish parliament. that speech is now available in transcript online, and can be found on the Historic Scotland website. We learnt how much interest there is in archaeology from an encouragingly broad perspective. To directly quote Ms Hyslop’s speech
the historic environment provides a platform in the present and future in areas such as education and enjoyment, encouraging exploration of our shared past, and so enabling communities to really engage with their local heritage. We value heritage for its own sake but it also important in securing economic benefits, promoting skills development and in driving innovation.
The Cabinet Secretary went on to congratulate IfA for its hard work in helping develop the Scottish strategy for the historic environment (Our place in time) and highlighted our recent achievement in being granted a Charter. Charter was recognised as a real accolade for the Institute and our members, and Ms Hyslop stated how this should be taken as state recognition for a profession that works tirelessly in the public interest. The Institute was also commended for the work achieved in delivering workplace learning bursaries, and in exploring (through the NVQ) non degree routes into archaeological employment and skills development.
Archaeologists in Scotland were recognised as playing a key role in informing the concept of national identity, in fostering a sense of belonging and nationhood and in contributing the national story - as well as making a significant economic contribution to the country in terms of employment and tourism. We were all encouraged by the Cabinet Secretary to continue engaging with the wider world and building bridges in many directions and we can all feel buoyed by the acknowledgment that archaeology is a profession which successfully brings together academic and public sectors, as well as commercial and voluntary interests. Speaking of the Archaeology Strategy for Scotland, Ms Hyslop revealed that 2017 would be focused on History, heritage and archaeology - providing a year-long opportunity to revel in the wealth of Scotland historic environment.
You can find the full transcript of the speech made on the Historic Scotland website at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ifa-conference-speech.