CIfA Conference 2014 - Seminars

S1 Improving the ways we govern and develop our landscapes: heritage research and practice in collaboration


Chris Dalglish (chris.dalglish [at], Alan Leslie (aleslie [at], Kenny Brophy (kenny.brophy [at], Gavin MacGregor (gmacgregor [at]

Landscape is a concept which helps to translate sustainable development into action in particular localities and regions. Here, sustainable development – often a poorly defined problematic concept – is taken to denote a long-term and integrated approach to the maintenance and generation of social, cultural, economic and environmental gains. Landscape – a network of interactions involving people and their environment – bonds sustainable development to particular places and links it to planning, land management, conservation and other practices.

This session is founded on the idea that engagement with the landscape’s past is a crucial part of a long-term, integrated approach to landscape governance and development. It can generate a critical understanding of the landscape’s present character, values and needs. It can inform the production of visions and actions for the future. The past has bequeathed particular affordances, constraints and opportunities, and it takes on particular meanings in the present; working with the landscape’s past can help us to achieve integrated and collaborative governance and development. And historic landscape and other heritage work can help to deliver concrete social, cultural, economic and environmental gains.

Realising these gains requires practice- and policy-relevant research – undertaken by universities, research institutes, professional practitioners, NGOs and public bodies, often in collaboration – which:

  • analyses current policies, practices and processes;
  • develops ethical and conceptual principles and frameworks;
  • designs, pilots and evaluates new methods and practices.

This session will open with presentations which describe concrete case studies, ongoing research & development projects and emerging and future directions in research and practice. A workshop discussion will then allow the exchange of knowledge, information and ideas.

S2 The graphic image in current archaeological research


Steve Allen (sallen [at], Graphics Archaeology Group

Archaeological research draws on many different resources during the course of a project and not all of these resources are text-based. Images are used in the course of a project to record data, to try out alternative ideas and to analyse the information we collect. Similarly, the output, the end result of the research, is expressed in visual as well as verbal terms. Graphical images are powerful tools which are often treated by the unenlightened as absolute statements- and sometimes even as nothing more than the product of the imagination of the artist. We intend to show that this is not the case. Any archaeological image is the result of the research and experience carried out by the practitioner and their interaction with their colleagues. The work is as capable of interrogation as any other form of archaeological research. The presentations in this session will show this process and emphasise how important it is to follow best practice in the collection, preparation and utilisation of images of whatever type. We aim to show how images are (i) the product of research and interpretation and (ii) help to drive and define future research and interpretation.

S3 Creating research communities for Maritime Archaeology; bridging the gap


IfA Maritime Archaeology Group: Katy Bell (katy.bell [at] and Hanna Steyne (hanna_steyne [at]

This session explores a common problem in archaeological research: As practitioners working across a diverse sector, archaeologists can work in many places – commercial companies, universities, local government, museums and third sector organisations. Even within a well-defined area of specialism – such as maritime archaeology – practitioners find there are still hurdles to providing accessible results, synthetic analysis and in finding opportunities (and support) for collaboration. Case studies will be provided from the leading practitioners across the sector. We seek to open discussion of how different strands of the profession approach and undertake research, publish and disseminate results and seek opportunities to collaborate and add texture to archaeological research.

Two key areas will be addressed in this session: how different organisations in the sector work together in order to achieve research objectives and how they work with wider communities. While considering how a well-run research project can be published or otherwise disseminated and an archive created accessible to all: this session will come up with models of best practice for Maritime Archaeology.

S4 Foresight: researching the future of the past


Dave Batchelor (dave.batchelor [at] and Pete Wilson (pete.wilson [at]

Policy, practice and priorities for those engaged with the protection of our collective past are informed by many things. As a Sector we are well-versed in utilising the results of past investigations, not only to weave complex and multi-layered understandings of aspects of our past on national, regional and more local scales, but also as tools for informing the curation of the historic environment. However we are less well-versed in the skills and tools that might allow us to get ’upstream’ of issues that may impact on the historic environment in the medium to long term, despite a widespread recognition of many potentially devastating issues such as climate change, the austerity agenda and population change; equally we are not well-placed to anticipate potential opportunities for the historic environment – as a profession we are generally tied into a reactive mode of operation whether as curators, consultants or contractors. The establishment by English Heritage of a Historic Environment Intelligence Team specifically tasked with leading on the development of horizon scanning and the assessment of threats and opportunities, working with Sectoral partners, government departments and agencies and commercial organisations, represents the first coherent attempt to address this area of research in the historic environment sector. This seminar will seek to introduce the concept of ‘futures research’ and its relevance and potential for the historic environment sector, as well as seeking to establish what may already be being done less formally, and the potential for such research to influence future funding priorities and possible responses to emerging issues.