With the help of bursaries from CIfA and the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Program I was able to attend the CIfA conference, this year titled Pulling together: collaboration, synthesis, innovation, for the first time. I am extremely glad to have had this opportunity, as the conference was unlike any other I have attended either at home or abroad.
In particular I felt this conference provided a strong focus on CPD far beyond that of many other conferences. Within three days I was able to improve my report writing and data management strategies and was confronted with the necessity of, and then equipped with the skills to produce, selection and retention guidelines for archives. I can see all of these experiences helping in my progression to attain CIfA membership and each has helped me develop further as an archaeologist.
Just as valuable as these skills however, were the new perspectives I encountered during the conference. Some of these came from presentations, such as in Geoff Mulgan’s view on archaeology’s history of embracing innovation, upon which I am still reflecting while writing this piece, yet many others I discovered simply by discussing archaeology while queuing for tea between sessions. These conversations were often eye opening for someone who has only limited commercial experience and I am excited to see what collaborative partnerships will develop from them. As such I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to CIfA, I had a great time and look forward to attending future conferences!