Wednesday 24 April 2013

Weird Stuff from a "Clare" (About this Blog)

A bloke was going to talk in Ipswich in a few days about artefact hunting in the UK and the sustainable management of the heritage, somebody called "Clare" however felt it was more interesting to talk in a comment to the UCS heritage blog about the guy's other activities. She wanted to focus not so much on the upcoming seminar, but the guy's personal blog. She suggests of me that my "personal agendas" (don't we all have them?) tend to "get in the way of real dialogue and discussion of the issues that he tries to elaborate on". She says she will be attending to see me "challenged by those who are better informed and without personal agendas". I replied to her on the UCS blog, but soon decided that was a mistake, the comments section to a post on an upcoming discussion of heritage management on the UCS heritage blog is not the place for answering such things. There were a whole load of personal comments about me posted by various semi-anonymous folk (metal detectorists, probably) on the UCS blog, and it really did not seem worthwhile entering any discussion with such people. So I have moved the text here to my own blog, the one this woman was writing about. She is welcome to come and defend her views here if she likes (come on "Clare", do not be shy):
the title of this seminar is not about “blogging” or “dialogue” but something else. I would hope we can keep discussion there on topic rather than allowing the debate to yet again be driven off-topic by those with their own personal agendas that conflict with the need to have some real debate on these fundamental issues. To take up your point, I do wonder though whether, Clare, you consider my blog (and I stress MY blog) is about metal detecting – or whether it is about presenting some personal opinions (it is a blog) about portable antiquity collecting in a wider context.

As for the notion of engaging in 'dialogue' to which you refer, suppose, Clare, the archaeological record IS indeed being pilfered in an unsustainable way, not just in the UK - what kind of “dialogue” do you then foresee and with whom? If this was happening, despite most archaeologists trying to apply a “partnership” approach, would you continue to plug away at those involved (all busily ignoring, and determined to deflect attention from, the issues)? Or would an alternative solution not be to turn to trying to produce something to inform a wider public about these issues and their broader contexts and get them talked about? It is their heritage too. Why would a blog not be a suitable means of doing the latter?

My blog is about collecting, its effects and wider contexts, not an attempt to reach out to those doing it and causing all the damage. As for the fact that it discusses real cases and what real people do and write, would you advise that I write about invented examples and generalizations? Given their accessibility on the Internet – why not take actual (and verifiable) examples of bad practice and go through why they may be considered to be bad in a readily understandable way? Is that “classism”?

But I stress it is my understanding that my blog is not the subject of this seminar. We only have two hours to discuss the topic which is.

So we know who is who, I am going to sign my full name, "Clare", Paul Barford (medievalist and archaeoblogger from Poland) 
Despite her implied promise, this "Clare" did not turn up at the seminar and make either herself, or her views on the matters discussed, known. 

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