Equality and Diversity heartily support the work of Theresa and all the folks over at the Enabled Facebook group. Recently Theresa sent us this and we are very happy to be able to share it with all if you!
Hello and thank you for your support and interest in aiding dis/Abled inclusion and acceptance within UK archaeology. Since we spoke last new developments have occurred within Enabled Archaeology.
Firstly there was a podcast interview in March of this year which detailed my research and why Enabled Archaeology was created and what it hopes to do in the future. The link is:
Today’s episode takes a look at the unknown world of archaeology as experienced by people with disabilities and some of the barriers they face when it comes to working and learning in the archaeological and historical sector
In April I did two papers at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, one explaining the attitudes of a minority of archaeologists who actively oppose dis/Abled involvement in archaeology, the other for the Equality and Diversity workshop which we are now allied to. These sessions were filmed and should be on youtube soon.
Around this time the information service of all the Manchester Community Groups who also do outreach contacted me (DigDiscoverEnjoy at The Dig website) and I wrote some accessibility guides for their website and was filmed by them to encourage dis/Abled involvement in archaeology.
Sadly in May this year, one of my marvellous 2014 participants committed suicide. In 2013 he had experienced the worst attitudes and prejudice I have ever heard about, in fact the way he was treated was tantamount to being illegal. He was 25 years old and had gained a first in his archaeology degree and was just about to start an MA, he had some invisible dis/Abilities. This is why Enabled Archaeology is so desperately needed within archaeology, this became part of the reason the Enabled Archaeology Facebook Group was created on 22 May, where anyone with or without dis/Abilities can join, to share, care and learn how to surmount any obstacles encountered to take part in any area of archaeology, we now have 62 members from around the world. If you want to become involved with this if you either write to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/1085314354861339/ we can then add you to the group.
On July 27th I did a ten minute radio interview for UCB 1 Dab radio about enabled archaeology which reached over 3 million listeners in the UK. This shows that many people in our different ‘publics’ are not only interested in archaeology but would also like to be part of us. Since the interview I have had dis/Abled people asking how they can be enabled to take part.
Within the Archaeology for All Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/archaeology4all/ recently our post views on such subjects as how wheelchair users can access and take part in mountain excavations have really taken off. The highest was a 70,000 audience reach, with 8,000 post likes and 100 new page likes in a week, (we are now at 873 likes, with 100 followers on twitter) so far our page has reached over 30+ countries and brought in queries from most European countries, Asia, the Mediterranean, India, USA and Canada and the list goes on. This suggests the dire need within some parts of the world for open communication about dis/Ability in archaeology, with your help and support we will be able to break down so many barriers.
In October within The London Archaeologist my article ‘Archaeology: From a dis/Abled Enabled Perspective’ will be published, with one other article to follow later within Edoardo Bedin’s fieldwork monograph about the potential of dis/Abled fieldwork. Finally at the CiFA conference next year Victoria Reid (Access to Archaeology) and I will be doing a joint session with the question being ‘How are we making archaeology accessible for all and are we doing it well enough?
As you can see there is massive potential for people to see and become familiar with (therefore breaking barriers) disabilities Abilities in archaeology, I hope you agree?
Enabled Archaeology Foundation (EAF)
After my medical operation this month I will be establishing the EAF over the coming year or so. The aim will be for everyone in archaeology to become familiar with dis/Ability and also empower/enable all dis/Abilities to take part will be our key, which will help to break down the barriers encountered to full inclusion, with one stop shops, Enabled Archaeologists and liaison with all within archaeology will be the key. My ideas for long term sustainable income for all enabled archaeology groups will be tried out in practice (it will take about 3 years) and if successful will be shared with community and public archaeology groups. So to start we will be looking for short term funding to enable many people to take part in archaeology now, breaking down attitudinal barriers and also proving or disproving my ideas, if you have any ideas or know how we can get the funding to do this your advice would be greatly appreciated.
For together we can make the
changing attitudes to acceptance and welcome for all within the very heart of archaeology today.