Wednesday 12 February 2020

In UK, CBA and CIfA Secure Future Advocacy Relationship

In the UK, the CBA and CIfA secure future advocacy relationship (Ed Ardill, Wednesday 12 February 2020)
The Council for British Archaeology and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) are pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out the basis for coordination and cooperation on advocacy between the two organisations. Together, CIfA and CBA represent a strong voice for the sector, bringing sufficient resources, remit and record to provide a partnership for archaeological advocacy. Together, CIfA and CBA act as leading opinion formers and independent advisors to government, heritage sector partners and other decision-makers. CIfA and CBA have mutually supportive but different sector-leading roles. CIfA’s focus is on promoting archaeological practice to professional standards. CBA’s focus is on the public interest in archaeology and its promotion. Together, through these distinct approaches, CIfA and CBA seek to add value to society and improve the recognition of the value of archaeology by society. Each organisation supports the role, remit and focus of the other, with significant areas of overlap on priority issues and strategic approaches to advocacy issues. This agreement will ensure strong, joined-up, advocacy for archaeology in years to come.
Hmm. The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. It "promotes high professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, to maximise the benefits that archaeologists bring to society. It is the authoritative and effective voice for archaeologists, bringing recognition and respect to the profession". That's what they say. They also say "CIfA’s principal advocacy objectives are to maintain or improve the protection and management of the historic environment [...] and to ensure that work is done by competent professionals and to professional standards". In which case we might all wonder just why they are so reluctant to speak out when the public are told by another advocacy group that the public can "do archaeology" ("citizen archaeology") by simply buying a metal detector and a spade. ". CIfA does not often publicly react to any media items about Collection-Driven exploitation of the archaeological record by bodies like PAS that talk of artefact hunting and collecting as "citizen archaeology" (sic), which it is not. So what "recognition" does that promote? Maybe need to sign MOU with the PAS too and establish a common message in advocacy for archaeology, the archaeological record and standards in its investigation and management?

There is no point in these two working together to promote one set of messages, while another body blunders on promoting a whole set of other ones that contradict theirs.

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