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Recently.... The IfA has began a major new initiative to establish an Academic - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Recently.... The IfA has began a major new initiative to establish an Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) The IfA Registered Organisations Committee is keen to encourage registration of all historic environment educational organisations.

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The IfA has began a

major new initiative to

establish an Academic

Special Interest Group


The IfA Registered

Organisations Committee is

keen to encourage

registration of all historic

environment educational



The IfA is a professional organisation for all archaeologists and others involved in protecting and understanding the historic environment


The IfA,

  • acts in support of its members
  • works to improve pay and conditions
  • represents the interests of archaeology and archaeologists to government, policy makers and industry
  • keeps members up to date on developments in archaeological practice
  • sets standards and issues guidelines
  • promotes and organises training
  • improves individual career prospects
  • provides a wide range of membership services

Through its Registered Organisations scheme the IfA improves employment practices and raises standards of work


When the IfA was established in 1982 as the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) the proportion of academics amongst its membership was much higher than it is today. These academics played a major role in the founding and early development of the IfA. Many of the original members from the higher education sector remain in membership, but over the intervening years the Institute has by and far largely failed to attract the succeeding generations of university staff



Around 10% of the archaeological

workforce is employed in

education and research by


Less than 5% of the IfA’s 2,800 current members are employed in such a capacity by Universities (Students make up an additional 7.5% of membership)


The perceived reasons for this are that academics

  • do not see practical benefits in membership, whether in tangible terms (e.g. academic journal) or intangible terms (e.g. a need to join in order to help progress through the world of higher or continuing education)
  • think of themselves as academics rather than archaeologists
  • feel that the IfA is not relevant to them since they do not carry out any or any extensive fieldwork
  • feel they are better represented by other bodies (including learned societies)
  • resent the prospect of further regulation in the field of higher education which is already highly regulated
  • fear that the IfA might seek to regulate how and what they teach

The immediate challenge the IFA faced at its founding was the development of commercial archaeology with the many challenges it brought. As a result the IFA focused on this sector by developing standards and creating an environment to ensure they were adhered to. Inevitably this came at the expense of priorities of other archaeology sectors


It was never the intention of the IfA to neglect the challenge of other archaeological sectors


With this in mind the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA)

repositioned itself

  • to reflect that it is no longer simply an institute of field archaeologists with membership coming from all over the historic environment
  • to enthusiastically embrace convergence and integration of historic environment practice and to work for all historic environment professionals
  • to convince people of how comprehensive archaeological practice is
  • to convince all archaeologists, whatever their focus or place of work that it can represent them and they are welcome to join

As an expression of this process the Institute has rebranded itself as the

Institute for Archaeologists

a professional institute for the study and care of the historic environment


It is in this context that the IfA wishes to become more relevant to the academic community engaged in the historic environment and to serve it


The IfA believes that

  • to be effective the academic, curatorial, and commercial sectors of archaeology need to work together
  • there are real advantages for

both the academic community

and the IfA to work together


Those involved in academic roles have an important part

to play in the development of the profession

  • ensuring that research plays an integral part in all archaeological work; that such work is carried out to professional standards (including appropriate academic standards) and that the results of such work are of academic value
  • educating the next generation of archaeologists
  • disseminating the results of archaeological endeavour
  • working in partnership with the wider profession constantly to develop the theory and practice of archaeology

In addition,

  • through the RO scheme a natural forum exists to further the Knowledge Transfer agendas that are so important to universities
  • the IfA can be a meeting ground for all academics engaged in the historic environment, not just archaeology
  • the IfA can act as a forum for university departments and learned societies
  • the IfA has a number of Special Interest Groups, most, such as the Geophysics SIG, have a strong academic dimension
  • the IfA can be a meaningful context for students to interact and prepare for effective careers
  • with its new international agenda the IfA can be a major support to extensive archaeological research and education with an international dimension

The IfA would like to engage with the academic community, both universities and learned societies. This engagement can take a range of forms


There are two vehicles through which an academic agenda can be advanced through the IfA

  • individually academics through membership of IfA and its Academic Special Interest Group
  • organisationally by becoming a Registered Organisation

Registered educational organisations have improved access to and a more central position within the wider profession. Registration helps institutions keep abreast of developments within the historic environment, strengthen links between the academic and commercial worlds and demonstrate commitment to professional standards. Access to employers across the sector is a strong selling point with potential students


Currently the proposed Academic SIG’s purposes are

  • to disseminate information and advice with regard to academic or educational issues of concern to IfA members
  • to provide a forum for members of the Group
  • to promote a better understanding amongst the academic community of the work of the IfA and of other professional issues in archaeology and the heritage sector
  • to promote the formulation and application of common standards in all areas of endeavour in the heritage sector
  • to advise IfA Council and its committees on any issues affecting the academic community and upon how the IfA can best serve the academic community
  • to advise IfA Council and its committees on issues affecting students and student membership of the IfA
  • to develop and promote academic agendas for IfA SIGs generally
  • to develop an interface between the academic community and the commercial sector
  • to encourage and foster closer relationships between the academic community in the heritage sector and curators, professional organisations and other university departments

The IfA invites

you to join as members

and for your organisation to register as an educational Registered Organisation