2016 November – Committee Meeting






Monday 14th November 2016, 11– 1pm

Historic England, The Axis, 10 Holliday Street, Birmingham B1 1TG


Present: Jim Brightman (Interim Chair – minutes), Amanda Feather (Secretary – on phone), Joe Flatman (on phone), Laura Hampden (observing), Mike Kimber (on phone), Sarah MacLean (Treasurer – chairing meeting), Emily Plunkett (on phone), Cath Poucher (on phone), Anna Welch (CIfA)


1.Apologies for absence and confirmation of quoracy.

No apologies for absence.

The meeting was quorate.

2. To approve the minutes from the last committee meeting.

Minutes approved.

3. Matters arising from previous minutes

3.a) Following the CPD briefing on the Equality Act from Sarah Ward and Marion Scovell it was discussed that the 2-year time limit on examples to demonstrate competency under the CIfA competency matrices can be exclusionary. An extension of this time limit would remove this indirect discrimination, and Hannah volunteered to proposed this to CIfA but was unable to prior to her parental leave.

The action remains open and Jim will raise it at Advisory Council if possible. JB

3.b) Compilation of a flow diagram to ensure we are directing people to the correct place in terms of grievances/support. Amanda suggested that this instead be a statement on the website with links to CIfA/relevant unions etc. to which we can direct people. This was agreed after a brief discussion of this being a preferable form of signposting, and it was agreed that Emily/Cath take this forward and promote it through the group’s social media outlets.

Action: EP/CP

3.c) In regards to the FAME AGM, Mike had circulated a report on his attendance at the end of June and briefly outlined the main points:

– CPD for managers was raised. Fame would be happy to publicise and promote any Diversity Awareness or Equality Act CPD initiatives we develop, could e.g. include links on website. Nick thought there is a great appetite for online CPD courses which can be taken at a person’s convenience. Ball in our court to present detailed proposals.

– Comms – for now communicate with Nick, but he will inform the FAME board that we have made contact and may in due course ask a board member to take over liaison – possibly the one with a professional services remit.

– Data gathering – FAME relies on the Landward surveys and doesn’t gather any additional data on members. Could promote any surveys that we try to roll out.

– Athena SWAN/More than a minimum in equality – FAME are supportive and would help to promote, but again the ball is in our court.

– Standard and guidance for HR – FAME would be interested in participating in any working party looking at this. This could initially be via email, but maybe meetings also depending on Nick’s workload and availability.

– Thanks were recorded from the Chair to Mike for leading on liaison with FAME.

In addition to Mike’s contact, Emily noted she has also been in contact with Nick Shepherd about writing a guest blog for our website, to which he has agreed.

Related to guest blog posts (of relevance to the comms/social media but noted throughout the meeting where relevant to a specific discussion item), Cath noted a contact at Wessex Archaeology who had direct experience of a harassment issue having been promptly resolved. It was decided that this be left with Cath as to whether it would be suitable to make an approach about writing a blog post about the experience.

3.d)Trowelblazers and the Raising Horizon Project – Jim outlined that he has been liaising with Becky Wragg-Sykes on behalf of the group in the following ways:

– We supplied a letter of support to HLF for their funding application

– We are going to ‘host’ the Raising Horizons exhibition at the 2017 CIfA conference.

Jim also put out a general call for everyone to continue promoting and encouraging people to donate to the Raising Horizons crowd-funding.

Anna let us know she now has oversight of exhibitions and is currently looking for a better space at conference for the exhibition than that which has been initially allotted. Anna to feed back to Jim when she knows more.

Action: AW/ALL

3.e) Ethics Working Group – Joe highlighted the case studies document circulated for comment the previous week. The Ethics working group has its own timetable for compilation and publication of these case studies, and at this point we have made our initial contribution. Joe outlined the ultimate goal for the case studies work is that they will be collated and published as case studies/good practice examples, something which we can signpost from our website. Joe will continue to represent the ED Group and will report back.

3.f) Pop-up Training Workshops – to be followed up by Hannah on her return in 2017.

3.g) CIfA AGM – No committee members were able to attend.

3.h) Higher Education Ambassadors – Highlighted in CIfA Strategic Plan, this was discussed at the previous committee meeting as an area we would be keen to be involved in as a group. Joe was not able to follow this up. After some further discussion, Anna outlined some pilot training for ambassadors that has begun or is being explored. Anna volunteered to find some more information and report back to the group to facilitate any further discussion via email.

Action: AW

3.i) In fulfilment of one of our Action Plan priorities we discussed exploring mentoring schemes and encouraging other CIfA groups to look at mentoring. If possible this was to be raised at Advisory Council or Groups Forum. No one has been able to attend either on behalf of the group since the last meeting, and Jim will take this on at the next meetings in the new year.

Action: JB

3.j) Following up on the previous meetings discussion of promoting an equality/diversity-based award that the British Archaeological Awards, it was decided to wait for 12 months until any possible changes to both the BAA and Current Archaeology Awards have been implemented and then revisit this part of the Action Plan.

3.k) Action for Hannah to lead on contacting CIfA about a more prominent status of equality and diversity in the RO process still open. To be followed up by Jim when there is a suitable opportunity or by Hannah on her return.

Action: JB

3.l) Following discussion about straplines, nothing was progressed following the previous meeting. Jim to push this forward via email following the meeting.

Action: JB

4.  Chair’s Report

Nothing to note at this point in the meeting as all issues and items which could be covered have been included in specific agenda items below.

5. Secretary’s Report

Amanda gave a brief overview of the process of advertising new committee members. Four people expressed interest: one was a non-CIfA member and was therefore ineligible; one was Laura Hampden who was in attendance as a non-voting observer; the remaining two sent apologies for being unable to also attend the meeting but were still interested in joining. Amanda also highlighted the enthusiasm of the general membership and the significant potential that they represent for supporting the committee through working groups. There was some discussion of current membership numbers, with Cath noting the latest figure she has was 82 confirmed members. Anna said she would confirm this and circulate the details by email.

Action: AW

6. Treasurer’s Report

Sarah outlined the current balance and statement of income/expenditure since the last meeting. The current balance is £xxx.xx.

Anna highlighted the events budget and the potential for us to claim money to support our CPD/AGM event.

7.  Comms Report

Emily had circulated a report on the comms progress, including a breakdown of social media metrics in fulfilment of a specific action at the last meeting. For ease of reference and to negate the need for repetition the report has been attached to these minutes. Key points of discussion included:

– Highlighting the current strong Twitter following (representative of our overall strong social media presence).

-Amanda (seconded by other committee members) placed on record the thanks of the committee to Emily and Cath for the success of the Group’s comms and social media output. It was also agreed that one of the reasons that this works is through the committee trusting the autonomy of the Comms Officers.

– This led onto a brief discussion of communications protocols both internally and between the Group and CIfA, given that the emails to the group are sent directly by Anna based on material we supply. The Comms Officers are the direct link to Anna as the CIfA rep. Whilst it was agreed that any particularly significant or potentially sensitive correspondence or publicity material would still need the agreement of the committee prior to release, this should be done in a time-sensitive way. In effect this would require circulating to the committee with a clear deadline for response. This is broadly the current protocol, but it was considered a good idea for this to be more ‘official’. Conversely, all other material can be left to the discretion of the Comms Officers as to whether they would like committee comment or not prior to release. Anna agreed that she is happy with this, with the caveat that we need to be sure we are not releasing anything which could reflect controversially on CIfA. It was generally agreed that this has not been a problem to date, and that our level of autonomy as a group and our internal protocols and experience make this unlikely.

-A strength of the social media and communications side of the Group is our capacity for using and promoting guest blog writers. There is a programme being put together currently with several of the committee contacting people within our and allied industries to contribute guest blogs.

-As was agreed at the previous meeting, newsletters are to be shorter and more regular where possible.

In terms of addressing matters arising from the previous meeting in relation to communications, the following items were noted:

-All biographies for committee members had been received.

-There was a suggestion that a new committee member could join the comms team. This is still open and can be revisited in the future.

-The potential for engagement with Museums Hour (or the potential of undertaking our own similar Twitter event) is still open. Cath will start a discussion on this via email with some initial suggestions.

-Write-ups of material from the conference workshop have been completed and are now on the Group website. There was a brief discussion based on some initial minor concerns that Mike had raised about the unfiltered nature of the results. It was agreed that this is the downside of publishing unfiltered or unedited feedback but is preferable to publishing an edited or censored version. In order to ensure total compliance, it was decided to include a disclaimer highlighting the exact nature of the material, and to also run the material by CIfA. Emily volunteered to send on to Anna by the end of November to allow promotion through December.

Actions: EP/CP

8. Committee Changes

Jim gave a brief overview of the current composition of the committee and the changes we are expecting over the next six months, particularly as regards the run up to the AGM and the election of new officers/committee members. The main points to note are:

-Mike is stepping down from the committee to become an ordinary Group member. Jim formally thanked Mike on behalf of the Group for all his work over the last year, and this was seconded by all the committee.

-Amanda is stepping down from the position of Secretary and will act as a co-opted Treasurer until the AGM, at which point she will become an ordinary Committee Member with oversight of the Group’s CPD offer.

-Sarah has stepped down from her role as Treasurer to be co-opted into the role of Secretary until the AGM, at which time she intends to stand formally for the Secretary role.

-Joe is currently still a co-opted Committee Member and will need to be formally voted on to the committee at the AGM.

Anna agreed to confirm the process and logistics for the committee changes and voting at the AGM. She also confirmed that we would need to advertise the available committee positions by Christmas for preference.

Action: AW

9. 2017 Conference.

Jim gave a rapid overview of the session for 2017. Following our unsuccessful application to host a session, we have been invited to co-host the session on Enabled Archaeology by the organisers Theresa O’Mahony and Victoria Reid. Emily has been leading on this with some input from Jim, and it looks like being a really informative and important session. Jim also outlined that we would need, closer to the date, to organise a rota for our stand and to encourage all group members to attend the session. Jim noted that he may not be able to attend all of the Enabled Archaeology session as he is delivering a paper in a clashing session. Sarah volunteered to step in if this is the case and will be included in future email chains regarding the conference organisation. It was noted that we may also need committee members to help with the Trowelblazers’ Raising Horizon exhibition which we are hosting. Given the demands on our time at conference, it was decided to contact the ordinary Group Members for support in this respect. Cath also noted that she is unlikely to be able to attend conference this year, but will be active on social media.

In relation to the logistics of the conference stand, Jim’s wife Lisa has volunteered to source the fabric for and make the table cloth. Anna will confirm what we have remaining from last year in terms of promotional material, postcards etc, and we can make a decision at that point on any additional material that will need printing up. Amanda offered to source any photocopying that is required. If there is any new material to be printed, then it was also noted that a strapline would need deciding on quickly.

short discussion was held on the applicability of a leaflet or similar hard-copy materials, and it was felt that our concentration should be on the website/digital output. Anna highlighted the potential for some piece of fairly general print leaflet/poster with limited essential information that could go to ROs/university departments. It was decided that this could be something that the Comms Officers take on to consider but do not need to action in the immediate term.

Action: JB/EP

As a follow up to the conference, Jim noted that there had been many high quality paper abstracts which had had to be turned down for the CIfA conference session. A suggestion had been made that we as a group, in association with Theresa and Victoria, could host a one-day conference devoted to Dis/Abled Enabled Archaeology late in 2017. There was general support for this as part of next year’s programme, and Emily highlighted the potential of working with Digger’s Forum and/or the Volunteer and Community Archaeology Group to deliver it.

Action: JB/AW

10. AGM/CPD Event in January/February

Sarah gave an overview of the positives of holding a standalone AGM/CPD event rather than trying to fold our AGM in with conference in April. Sarah has been in communication with Rob Hedge, Secretary of the Voluntary and Community Archaeology Group about holding a joint event. The initial proposal is that a day could be held at The Hive in Worcester to either the end of February or start of March 2017, including the AGMs for both groups and CPD training in Mental Health First Aid, along with a possible visit to the Infirmary Medical Museum. Amanda volunteered to lead on CPD and training on behalf of the Group, and it was decided Sarah would put Amanda in communication with Rob via email. Amanda also asked if Laura would be happy to help with the organisation, to which she agreed. Once initial arrangements have been confirmed in terms of date and time, Sarah and Jim will ensure all the paperwork for the AGM is in place and can be circulated via Anna. It was agreed this needs to be done quickly to allow circulation of the details in December, and the AGM material to be sent to the Group members before Christmas.

Actions: SM, AF/LH, SM/JB

11. Proposal for yearly focus

Prior to the meeting Emily and Sarah had circulated the outline of their proposal for a yearly focus to our activities as a Group; this has been appended to these minutes.

A relatively rapid discussion included the following key points:

-Reassurance that having a yearly focus would not mean an exclusion of addressing other issues or a lessening of our ability to be responsive to events/requests for support.

-Confirmation by Anna that non-CIfA members can be on working groups by first paying the £10 joining fee to become non-CIfA Group members.

-Amanda supported the approach and noted that we would be able to tie in an annual theme to national campaigns as a way of promoting our work. A key example might be adopting a 2018 theme of ‘Universal Suffrage’ given the Vote 100 campaign commemorating 100 years since the Representation of the People Act.

-Everyone agreed that a thematic approach is a positive way forward and something we wish to adopt, principally to ensure that we are focused and do not get paralysed into inaction by the sheer number of things we could be addressing.

-Given our current planned commitments to the Mental Health First Aid CPD, the Enabled Archaeology session at the conference and the potential one-day conference later in the year, a proposal was put forward that the Group’s theme for 2017 be Dis/Abled and Enabled Archaeology. There was no disagreement to this and it was adopted.

-Amanda also proposed ‘Universal Suffrage’ as 2018 theme (see above), and volunteered to circulate a link with more information about the Vote 100 campaign.

-In terms of publicising our 2017 theme, it was decided that the next newsletter would feature this and would ask for people to put forwards expressions of interest to sit on the Disability in Archaeology Working Group. It was also established as a protocol that Sarah, as Secretary, would be the main point of contact. Emily and Sarah would liaise initially about drafting and setting up the newsletter.

Action: EP/SM

12. Any Other Business.

12.a)Women’s Digital Archaeology Network – Sarah outlined recent discussions based around the barriers to women in attending archaeology conferences. One of the issues was in relation to childcare at conferences, and Sarah May (UCL) has agreed to write a guest blog post for us on the subject. Anna outlined that childcare provision had been offered in the past for CIfA conferences but there had been little uptake. Given that this is clearly a current issue, it was agreed to take Sarah May up on her offer of a blog post, and then use this to put out a call to canvass opinion and find out if it’s an area in which our membership want us to be vocal.

12.b)Number and Timing of Meetings – Sarah highlighted the Doodle polls that Emily has put in place and asked all to ensure they fill them in so we can get dates set. Jim noted that we currently have a commitment to three committee meetings per year in our Action Plan, but it was also noted that with the increase in working groups we don’t want to put too much pressure on commitment to meetings.

Action: ALL

12.c)Official Co-Option – As a close to a meeting the following co-opting was made:

-Sarah proposed Amanda be co-opted as Treasurer until the AGM. Seconded by Jim and agreed by all.

-Amanda proposed Sarah be co-opted as Secretary until the AGM. Seconded by Cath and agreed by all.

-Sarah proposed Laura be co-opted as ordinary committee member until the AGM. Seconded by Cath and agreed by all. Emily to invite Laura to the Doodle polls for meeting dates.

Action: EP

12.d) Working Group for 2017 Theme – Sarah volunteered to lead the group. Laura also expressed an interest in being on the working group. Sarah agreed to set up the initial meeting based on Doodle poll.

Action: SM

13. Date of Next Meeting.

To be confirmed through Doodle poll and via email discussion.