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What is the University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference?

Since 2016, as an integral part of the final-year module HI6001 Archaeology and Contemporary Society, single honours Archaeology students have organised the University of Chester Archaeology Student Conferences. The first five events were hosted by Chester’s Grosvenor Museum and open to all. Each conference has been a valuable and original-themed research-focused conference and an innovative outreach event for the Department of History and Archaeology and the University, as well as a multi-stranded pedagogical exercise for the students involved. Students have each year gained from learning independent research skills in designing and pursuing distinctive topics, team-working skills in events management and liaising with guest speakers, invaluable experiences in public communication through a variety of media from posters and blog-posts to videos and live presentations, digital public outreach, and critically reflecting on audience feedback in writing up their assignments.

Bringing together an audience of archaeology students, academics and professionals and open to delegates from academia, the profession, the general public and the communities of Chester and its environs, each public conference has addressed a key topic for archaeology in today’s world. Exploring the ethics, politics, popular culture and public education of archaeological research, students conducted their research on a topic they themselves chose, presented their findings and reflections, and then utilised the knowledge, perspectives, experience, confidence and feedback gained to write up their assignment. As well as real-world events, where possible the events were video-recorded and shared via the University’s Vimeo account. The 5th UoC Archaeology Student Conference in January 2020 was combined with a Twitter conference, extending the number of expert voices and other students who could participate.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, but also to enhance digital engagement, the 6th UoC Archaeology student conference will take place fully digitally with multiple guest speakers on Thursday 28th January 2021. The conference will return to the field of mortuary archaeology, as addressed at the first conference – Dead Relevant – but will focus on ‘digital public mortuary archaeology’: DigiDeath: Public Archaeologies of Digital Mortality.

In addition, especially to support those students wishing to capitalise on this distinctive conference dimension to their level 6 module in building careers in archaeology and heritage, Professor Howard Williams has facilitated academic publications of the each conferences. These books integrate the work of those students wishing to work further on their chosen topics with studies commissioned from expert contributions.

For his work designing and facilitating the student conferences and giving opportunities and experiences for students in publishing the proceedings, Professor Williams was awarded the Educate North Teaching Excellence Award for 2019: https://howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/the-educate-north-teaching-excellence-award-2019/

Where can I find more information?

Please click on the links below to learn more about past and future University of Chester Archaeology Student Conferences.

19 April 2016 - Dead Relevant: Mortuary Archaeology in Contemporary Society

5 April 2017 - Archaeo-Engage: Engaging Communities in Archaeology

13 December 2017 - Digging into the Dark Ages

20 March 2019 - The Public Archaeology of Frontiers and Borders

31 January 2020 & 1 February 2020 - The Public Archaeology of Treasure