A step forward for the profession: CIfA launch and AGM

Tuesday 9 December 2014 saw the formal launch of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists - a momentous occasion for both the professional body and the profession of archaeology. CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeology in the UK and its successful application for Chartered status, winning an order of grant from the Privy Council in February 2014 and the Charter itself in June, provides recognition from the state that the profession of archaeology is working in the interests of the public and that the Institute is the proper body to regulate the conduct of the profession.

The AGM and event, attended by over 200 members and interested parties, introduced CIfA's new Board of Directors and Advisory Council, both of which will begin their new cycle of meetings in 2015. The Board of Directors, up to 12 strong, has legal responsibility for CIfA; and the Advisory Council comprises up to 20 elected accredited members up to 20 representatives from CIfA's Area and Special Interest Groups.

Those attending the event heard reflective and visionary talks from Diana Murray (Joint Chief Executive, RCAHMS and Historic Scotland and former Chair of IfA), from CIfA Chair, Jan Wills, and from Natalie Ward and Ben Jervis, founding committee members of the CIfA New Generation SIG.

Peter Hinton wrapped up the event by thanking former Chairs of the organisation alongside those individuals who were instrumental in the Institute's successful application for Chartered status. Peter reminded delegates of the Institute's vision for the future, and that CIfA's work over the next few years will continue to be underpinned by the Strategic plan published in 2010.

The plan sets out CIfA’s six strategic objectives

  • to increase understanding of the role of archaeologists in society and improve our status
  • to inspire excellence in professional practice
  • to strengthen the relationships between archaeologists across the historic environment and other sectors
  • to make CIfA membership and registration essential demonstrations of fitness to practise
  • to develop a stronger influence on historic environment policy
  • to give archaeologists a credible, effective and efficient professional institute

The plan's aim is to ensure that by 2020 all professional archaeologists will have the skills, integrity and versatility to ensure that the study and care of the historic environment brings real benefits to people’s daily lives. Chartered status will greatly help the Institute work towards that vision. You can find a copy of the plan at www.archaeologists.net/mission.

In a session preceding the AGM, the first CIfA Professional Practice Paper (An introduction to providing career entry training in your organisation) was launched as part of a wider discussion of structured workplace learning. The model has been piloted through the Institute for Archaeologists’ Workplace Learning Bursaries Scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, and has already been adapted for use by English Heritage and the Council for British Archaeology. The paper is supported by online materials at www.archaeologists.net/trainingtoolkit.