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.

Critical public archaeologies

New open access publication on public archaeology and the arts of engagement…

PublicArchaeology

Just published! Download your own copy or purchase a hard copy from the Archaeopress shop (http://www.archaeopress.com/)

If you haven’t yet seen it, the new edited volume by Howard Williams, Caroline Pudney and Afnan Ezzeldin on Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement has just been published open access by Archaeopress. You can download the full book, or purchase a copy (with a 20% discount).

I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword for this impressive collection, which I believe is truly unique in terms of the range of contributors and the constructively critical nature of all of their contributions. Howard provides a nice overview of the volume on his blog, offering more context on how the volume differs in exciting ways from others on the same subject matter.

For my part, the invitation to contribute gave me the opportunity to reflect on an event that has haunted me for the past two years. Howard, Caroline and Afnan were wonderfully supportive in enabling me to link the key insights from the various chapters in this volume to a very personal and embarrassing public experience that shaped me profoundly as a practitioner. It was not the first time that a session that I’ve led has gone unexpectedly off course, but it was unique in the humiliation that I was subjected to, and the lack of empathy displayed by senior members of the audience. That experience captured within it many of my concerns about how we engage in critical public archaeology and what expectations we do and do not have for studying the consequences of our public/community practices.

A copy of my foreword can be downloaded here, and it’s allowed me to come to terms with the event through engaging with the brilliant contributions to the edited volume. I was also able to weave in reference to some of the other key professionals whose work resonates very deeply with me (and with the ideas and critiques of the authors in Public Archaeology: Arts of Engagement). These inspiring professionals include Katherine Cook, Laura Heath-Stout, Kate Ellenberger and Lorna Richardson, Harald Fredheim, Rachael Kiddey and Sarah May, among others.

I hope you might take the time to read the volume overall, not least because it blends a range of different communication styles with insights from junior through to senior archaeologists and heritage practitioners. It’s a model for future publications of this sort and it offers much motivation for future critical community and public archaeologies.