Citizen science and diversity in heritage science, July 2020

Our July Members’ Meeting was led by the NHSF Communities working group which focuses on NHSF's response to delivering the goals set out in the 'Skilled and Diverse Community' strand of the Strategic Framework for Heritage Science in the UK. The group took advantage of the need to hold this meeting virtually by setting up two different virtual sessions. 

Briefing: Scoping opportunities for training and skills development - 6th July 2020
The first event was held on 6th July and was a briefing on the work of the AHRC heritage science infrastructure scoping group by Tao-Tao Chang, (Head of Infrastructure, Arts & Humanities Research Council), Lora Angelova (NHSF trustee and Head of Conservation Research & Audience Development at The National Archives) and Caroline Peach (NHSF Consultant Development Director) - the latter two both members of AHRC scoping group. The session was open to NHSF members only and provided an overview of the strategic context for research and innovation infrastructure development as well as insight to the work by the AHRC-convened group to scope a potential programme of cross-UKRI investment in heritage science and conservation research infrastructure.

It highlighted the many points of intersection between the infrastructure proposal and the goals of the Strategic Framework for Heritage Science in the UK, and focused particularly on the ’Skills, Training, Knowledge Exchange’ element of the current thinking on infrastructure development, and opportunities for Forum members to contribute to future evolution of this work (if the project gets the necessary support from UKRI in July). It is hoped that this session will be followed by further opportunities (led by AHRC) for wider engagement with the proposal that was submitted to UKRI at the end of June. 

Building a Skilled and Diverse Heritage Science Community: citizen science and ways of increasing diversity - 8th July 2020
The second element of the July Members' Meeting took place on 8th July and involved teaming up with the Icon Heritage Science Group (Icon is an NHSF member) for an 'open to all' webinar on 'Building a Skilled and Diverse Heritage Science Community', delivered as part of the fantastic ‘Conservation: Together at Home Webinar Series’ initiated by the Icon Book and Paper Group that has been running since the end of March.

One of the three key themes of the Strategic Framework for Heritage Science in the UK is the development of a skilled and diverse heritage science community. Over the past year, members of the NHSF working group assembled under this theme have been scoping partners, methods, and opportunities to begin addressing this critical priority. At this joint NHSF/Icon HSG meeting, we welcomed two speakers to discuss opening up heritage science to the public through citizen science and strategies to diversify our community. We welcomed Caroline Barrie-Smith from MOLA who spoke about the excellent CITiZAN project. Caroline is CITiZAN's Project Manager and she described how the project engages communities with the opportunities to record and research the changing coastline and tackle the threats to England's fragile coastal archaeology. And Georgina Doji from the Fitzwilliam Museum (University of Cambridge) who spoke about the Change Makers Action Group (of which she is a founding member and current Chair). Georgina shared her experience of the issues that we face in diversifying our sector and how to go about (and how not to go about) effecting some of the change that is needed.

The webinar is now available on YouTube here: Building a Skilled and Diverse Heritage Science Community.