One of my colleagues (Hilary Orange) is involved in organising the conference outlined below and they are calling for papers:
November 14-16, 2008
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
Hosted by Atkins Heritage, English Heritage and UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture
Concern for heritage of the recent past has long been confined to the particular interests of a sub-set of architectural historians for whom listing post-war buildings (notably of the reconstruction years) was a clear focus. Archaeologists are also now taking an active and enthusiastic interest in the modern period; the only surprise is that it has taken so long. After a steady start, and an almost inevitable concentration on industrial and military sites and landscapes, it has quickly become more than the fringe interest it perhaps once was, a side-show to the main attraction. In local planning authorities, archaeological units and trusts, as well as national agencies and universities, the heritage interest in contemporary and historical archaeology has now emerged with strength and alacrity. English Heritage’s Change and Creation programme, in partnership with Atkins Heritage, and the universities of London and Bristol is evidence of this, as is the Images of Change book (Sefryn Penrose 2007), the recent Modern Times issue of Conservation Bulletin (2007), numerous published articles and several entries in the Heritage Reader (Fairclough et al. 2008). A head of steam is quickly building.
CHAT (Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory) is a dynamic forum for innovative critical discussion that seeks to challenge and push the limits of archaeological thinking. To date this has been achieved through five annual conferences, publications and an active email discussion group. This year’s conference takes CHAT in a new direction, exploring connections between these theoretical perspectives and ideals and the more traditional concerns of heritage management practice. What can CHAT offer heritage practitioners, and vice versa? How much of heritage management practice holds relevance to CHAT? Should the heritage sector retain its focus on that which is ‘old’ and ‘special’, or should we feel comfortable with a broader remit, accepting that what we have today (inherited from the past, and what we create and manufacture ourselves) is part of the longer-term process of change with which we, as archaeologists, are closely familiar? CHAT presents particular challenges for heritage practitioners and agencies: Value judgements for that which is new and unfamiliar, amongst culturally diverse communities, and the attendant issues of migrant heritage; traditional conceptions and practices for recording buildings versus the aesthetic and the evocative; the archaeology of the ephemeral, the intangible and the un-built, all things that are harder to trace in earlier periods; and how inter- or cross-disciplinary should we be? In a world of accountability, research frameworks and national research agenda, where should our priorities actually lie? What should a research strategy for contemporary and historical archaeology contain? And who is best qualified to do this work: archaeologists, or anthropologists, cultural geographers … artists and writers even?
Heritage CHAT provides an opportunity to examine some of these issues at close range, through plenary sessions that will contain theoretical and methodological perspectives on contemporary and historical archaeology, and examples of work in progress that address relevant themes. Papers are encouraged that challenge the very notion of heritage, and the commercial and corporate strategies that go with it, as are papers describing work on contemporary and historical archaeology which operate within more conventional heritage frameworks. Short (450 word) abstracts should be submitted to any of the organising committee (below) by email, by the end of May 2008.
Charlotte Frearson (email@example.com)
Sarah May (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hilary Orange (email@example.com)
Sefryn Penrose (Sefryn.firstname.lastname@example.org)
John Schofield (email@example.com)