The Professional Conference: Engaging the Academic Community
Many professions have professional organizations. Archaeologists and anthropologists are no different: we have a number of conferences that are scheduled throughout the year, and are for a number of different topics or areas of archaeology. This past weekend, Terry Brock and Lynne Goldstein attended the Annual Conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology, and presented a poster about how the Campus Archaeology Program has been using Digital Social Media to engage the public (i.e. YOU!). SHA is a professional organization that focuses on archaeology that happens post-colonial contact, roughly from 1500 to the present.
These conferences are important for a number of reasons. It allows archaeologists to share the research that they are doing, looking for other people who are doing similar work to theirs, or for ideas as to how to interpret or analyze what they have found. For others, it is a time to network, meeting people for work or looking for jobs. For students, it can be an opportunity to get a wide exposure to a number of different topics, and to be introduced to people for the first time. For Campus Archaeology, we were able to spread the word about two unique things we are doing: mitigating the cultural resources on a college campus, and using Digital Social Media to share what we find.
This conference was held at Amelia Island, Florida, and was largely organized by the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) and the University of West Florida. There was a very heavy emphasis on public engagement, which was emphasized by the recipient of the SHA’s prestigious J.C. Harrington Award, Judy Bense (@jbense3). Dr. Bense, currently the President of UWF, was the founder of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Michigan State and Campus Archaeology has an important link to this program: Dr. Goldstein sits on their board.
This emphasis fit our presentation well: our use of Digital social media is unique, and many of the visitors to our poster were intrigued by the possibilities. This is fantastic, because hopefully it means that they will utilize these media to engage their communities.
In all, this is an exciting development. We hope that our use of digital social media has been helpful for you. Please let us know if there are things you’d like to see us do more of or things you’d like to see less of. We are open to your feedback, since you are the community we are trying to serve. Also, if you enjoy what we’re doing, please tell other people! The more people we can reach the more effective we will be.