Denise Hillier - Theresa O'Mahony bursary recipient

I was thrilled to receive the Teresa O’Mahony bursary to enable me to attend the CIfA conference online this year.

I began my ‘change of career’ journey in 2011 when I attended the University of Bristol, and obtained my first ever degree, in Archaeology (BA Hons) at the age of 48. I am just completing my MSc thesis at Cranfield University (Forensic Archaeology & Anthropology). In 2013, I discovered I am neurodivergent and have developed chronic pain and fatigue conditions, which left me feeling I should give up archaeology because no one would want to employ me. I felt ashamed and a fraud.

Sessions at this year’s CIfA conference included projects showing the value of archaeology for enabled archaeologists and local communities, proving barriers to participation can be overcome. It was so positive and uplifting. The Enabled archaeology session discussed about producing a new methodology within archaeology for all levels of disabilities of those working in the field. Exploring neurodiversity in archaeology: past and present shared more about the work that CIfA has been doing for the last two years and Celebrating academic and early research was fascinating.

I am pleased to have been able to attend and have added it to my CPD log.