Apply for our fully-funded PhD: Telling Different Stories

Study at Bournemouth and MOLA from Autumn 2021 on innovations with publication, interpretation & archiving of linear archaeological infrastructural projects!

Screenshot of web advert for our Bournemouth Uni – MOLA PhD opportunity – deadline for applications 21 June 2021
https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/study/courses/phd-studentship-telling-different-stories

I am incredibly excited to announce this fully-funded PhD opportunity (including living stipend), based between Bournemouth University and MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), focused on innovations with the publication, interpretation and archiving of major linear archaeological infrastructure projects.

Two absolute inspirations to me – Prof Mark Gillings and Prof Kate Welham – will be co-supervising this doctoral studentship alongside myself and my colleague Dr Sorina Spanou (MOLA’s Director of Infrastructure). And Bournemouth has agreed to wave international student fees, meaning that this opportunity is open to anyone! We are also able to consider candidates who come from different backgrounds – meaning that if you have a wealth of professional experience, but your previous educational background doesn’t exactly match the academic requirements, we encourage you to apply.

The project seeks to draw upon recent developments in archaeological theory and the digital humanities in order to engage in a more creative fashion with the vast quantities of archaeological data that are generated by the most ambitious of current commercial fieldwork projects; those focused upon large-scale linear infrastructure. The aim is to develop wholly new ways of approaching, interpreting, presenting and archiving the wealth of archaeological information generated by such projects, and through this, new interpretations of the past.

Specific aims of the PhD include:

  1. To challenge and unsettle existing commercial approaches to the post-excavation, publication and archiving of large-scale infrastructure projects by revealing, critically evaluating and challenging the core assumptions and frameworks that underpin them.
  2. To explore the ways in which new, and potentially radical, developments in archaeological theory, critical cartography and digital storytelling can be used to reveal different pathways into and through the datasets generated.
  3. To examine the ways in which emerging trends in archaeological theory and critical thought can be brought into productive dialogue with the realities and exigencies of large-scale commercial fieldwork, to the benefit of both.
  4. To develop new ways of engaging with the datasets yielded by large-scale infrastructural work; approaches that can help shape future post-excavation and publication practice as well as allow wholly new archaeological narratives and interpretations to emerge.

You can read a fuller project description on the Bournemouth website, and you can apply by clicking on the green ‘Apply now’ button at the top of the advert page and completing the online application form. Alongside covering tuition fees, the studentship includes an annual stipend of £15,450 to cover living costs.

The closing date for applications is 21 June 2021. Interviews will be held 8 July 2021.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with myself or any of our supervisory team if you have questions!

Designing affect into archaeology

Join me on Tuesday 23 February 2021 at 16:00 GMT for an online talk hosted by Bournemouth University.

Join me for this open public seminar on Zoom at 4pm GMT on Tuesday 23 February – https://t.co/7EpdMj6msq?amp=1

A quick note to say that I have the good fortune of presenting next week as part of the Bournemouth University, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology Research Seminars series (join on Zoom). Per the line-up, I’m in great company this term, and am especially looking forward to speaking as I haven’t given a public presentation in over a year.

Speakers in BU’s Archaeology and Anthropology Research Seminars series, which started this month and runs until the end of May.

I’ve been very appreciative of my colleagues and friends who have reached out to check on where I’ve been over this time. The simple answer is that the transition into my current job has entailed the steepest learning curve of my life. It’s been very hard, and as my presentation will inevitably hint at, it has confronted me full-force with how archaeologists can and must work in allied fashion – within and between teams, organisations, industries and across borders – to grapple with immediate matters of interest to the profession and wider publics, but also to ensure that the decisions we make today – about the past, and about the discipline of archaeology itself – are informed by an expert ability to think, plan and design critically for the future.

How do we do this? I believe part of the answer lies in honing our expertise in grappling with values and affect, and through serious attention to design justice (see Costanza-Chock 2020) as well as strategic foresight approaches and critical & speculative futures work (e.g., see various contributions in Holtorf and Högberg (2021)).

More details on the talk below. It’s free, open to all via Zoom, and starts at 4pm GMT on Tuesday 23 Feb. Hope to see you there!

Title. Designing affect into archaeology: structural and methodological reparations for a more responsive and responsible discipline

Summary. Although many have called for – and attempted to enact – forms of practice that aim to repair or reconfigure our discipline along lines that are just, sustainable and equitable, these efforts often fail to fundamentally alter archaeology’s underlying structures and pernicious rote methodologies. Here, I argue that unless we consciously adopt and consistently apply a framework of design justice (Costanza-Chock 2020), long-standing disciplinary oppressions will persist. I review a number of recent propositions around nurturing care, hope, emotion, and enchantment in archaeology. I then make the case that such seemingly ephemeral concepts can be actualised in our methods, in our programmes, in our training, and across our professional and academic institutions through a purposeful engagement with design justice theory and method, borne in part of the fields of information technology and human-computer interactions. I highlight some simple examples of what a justly-designed archaeology could look like, and I conclude by pointing our eyes towards emerging initiatives that take seriously the design process, and in so doing provide archaeologists with a framework that can truly hold us to account.

Costanza-Chock, Sasha, 2020. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Holtorf, Cornelius, and Högberg, Anders (eds.), 2021. Cultural Heritage and the Future. London: Routledge.

Digital Reviews

After 4.5 years, I’m stepping down from my editorship, but the 18 critical reviews published during this time are available open access

https://www.cambridge.org/core/blog/2020/11/16/digital-reviews-editor-transitions/

Just a quick shout-out to the many people who I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the past half-decade in my role as Digital Reviews Editor for the Society for American Archaeology’s journal Advances in Archaeological Practice. My incredible co-editors Sarah Herr, Sjoerd van der Linde and Christina Rieth have published a heart-warming note on Cambridge University Press’ blog about my ‘retirement’, my successor (Peter Cobb, University of Hong Kong), and the 18 open access articles that we ushered into being during my tenure. These articles represent critical reviews of digital media applications for archaeology and heritage – from crowdsourcing tools (by Donna Yates), to chatbots (by Angeliki Tzouganatou), to archaeological news sources (by Adrián Maldonado), to gaming (Minecraft by Eleanor Brooke Styles, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey by Politopoulos et al., Sid Meier’s Civilization VI by Mol et al.) to the Facebook page of my current employer (by Ingrida Kelpšienė), and many more. The most recent piece, my final as editor, was just published last week: a truly fascinating reflection by Kate Rogers on the i-Doc genre and its possibilities for impactful documentary storytelling.

My co-editors’ tribute to the time I’ve spent in the editorship reminded me of some of the must-haves that we negotiated five years ago: articles must be openly accessible; authors must critically engage with the digital applications they are reviewing (i.e., their articles must feature the detrimental and uncomfortable dimensions of these technologies as much as any positive elements); a more representative demographic of authors must be sought, with a particular focus on early career professionals outside the US. I also managed to negotiate that part of my editorial fee would be reallocated to authors, meaning that I was able to offer a small financial payment for their contribution. To me, this was the biggest success of all given the labour that we know is at the core of any form of publication.

According to Cambridge’s stats, the reviews have been downloaded c.14,000 times, and I regularly refer them to folks who are looking to invest in different types of digital media but who may not be familiar with the consequences of those media. I’m indebted to the more than 18 authors who I’ve had the pleasure to work with – many of whom have become friends and whose careers I’ve seen flourish over the years. Thank you for your work which has inspired me and profoundly influenced my own practice.

I’m excited to carry on as part of the editorial board of the journal – they are still stuck with me for a while yet :) I’d urge you (if you haven’t already) to explore Advances’ many articles on all aspects of professional and academic archaeological practice. Maybe you’ll even consider publishing with us in the future? Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to explore opportunities. And thanks to Sarah, Sjoerd and Christina for everything you’ve done for me.