Friday 12 June 2020

British Public "Don't Want To Learn"?

Continuing the discussion with all those colleagues that think that the PAS is "amazing" and in answer to my question, why - when we are investing millions of quid into public outreach by the PAS about portable antiquities - is the whole issue apparently so unfamiliar to the person in the street? (see below) Tony Liddell (Vindomora Solutions Ltd) suggests that the answer
also lies in the fact that unless things directly impact on folk, 99.9% of the population don't care. So while PAS does an excellent job, they can only educate those that want to be - so those already interested or impacted by archaeology and heritage.
I find this motif that keeps cropping up in this thread that the public only have themselves to blame for their ignorance a troubling one in the context of having an outreach organisation set up with public money and functioning (allegedly) as such for 23 years, providing of course lots of jobs for archaeologists. This reply suggests that the PAS don't do what they were set up to do because allegedly 99% of the British public "don't want to learn". So, I would ask, what is the point then of persisting with the PAS, why is 100% of the public paying for something that only 1% of the public (and the 50 or so people that have jobs from it) will get the benefit of?

As for the notion that out of a population of 56 million people, only about 560000 of them "want to be" educated about the past, and they are the ones that are "already interested or impacted by archaeology and heritage", I find that a bit of a broad generalisation. I would hazard a guess that in that total, Dr Liddell includes all 27000 of the latest estimate of the number of active artefact hunters, when it comes to metal detectorists, we will have to differ on how many of them are actually capable of learning anything at all, let alone wanting to. But, I wonder who Dr Liddell thinks the other 533000 "already interested or impacted by archaeology and heritage" are and how they differ from the rest of British society.


Brian Mattick said...

So PAS "can only educate those that want to be"?

What an insult to landowners and politicians. Properly informed, both would be opposed to detecting.

Paul Barford said...

Well, it's a cop-out argument, "we cant do it because the British public don't want it, so just give us their money and we'll ignore them and just get on with doing our thing with our mates the metal detectorists".

Brian Mattick said...

I guess the subtext of the claim is that PAS can only educate METAL DETECTORISTS that want to be. I agree, and that's the problem.

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