About Us


We are the Chartered Institute for Archaeologist’s (CIfA’s) Equality and Diversity Group. The group is here as a direct response to the labour market survey data for archaeology from the last two decades, which demonstrates that the workforce in British archaeology is predominantly white, able-bodied and has notably fewer women over the age of 40, translating to a lack of women in senior roles. None of these trends correspond with national statistics, which suggests there is a fundamental need for the profession to address these inequalities. Britain has a diverse population which means the archaeology sector should too, and our group aims to address this.


Image of Hannah Cobb - ChairHannah Cobb (Chair)

Hannah Cobb is is a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester. Hannah has created the Archaeological Skills Passport for CIfA student members, and has also worked for the Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology, researching the role of fieldwork in the undergraduate degree and in graduate employability.

Hannah founded the Equality and Diversity Group and  is also the  founder of the everyDIGsexism Project, which calls out sexism in Archaeology using the #everyDIGsexism and celebrates good practice in equality and diversity in the profession using the #ArchSwan.

Image of Sarah MacLean - SecretarySarah MacLean (Secretary)

Sarah works at Historic England in their Listing Information Services Team. She spent several years working on Historic Environment Records in local authorities before moving to her current post. Sarah strongly believes that there should be no barriers in life, especially if they exist because of discrimination. Her desire to make a difference led her to join the committee and she volunteered to take on the role of Treasurer.

Emily Taylor - PictureEmily Taylor (Treasurer)

Emily is an Assistant Heritage Consultant for a leading supplier of heritage services. Having undertaken her master’s degree focusing on accessible archaeology, she worked with the general public and a multi-sensory museum to identify ways of enhancing access and engagement. Her research offered a critical exploration of the relationship between dis/ability and the sector, and challenged the existing framework of social thinking. Emily joined the committee as she is passionate about equality and diversity. Emily is also part of her company’s outreach team, working towards making commercial archaeology a more inclusive environment for all. New to Twitter, you can follow her on @_ELTaylor_

Image of Cath Poucher - Communications OfficerCath Poucher (Communications Officer)

Cath works on the fringes of the heritage profession at the University of Oxford and retains links to the immediate archaeology sector through her membership of the CIfA. She is passionate about making a positive contribution to the wider heritage industry (particularly the archaeology and museum sectors). As a young woman (arguably) with a hidden disability at the beginning of her career, she is passionate about making a difference in the profession she works in which is why she joined the Equality and Diversity Group and became one of our Communications Officers. Cath is a keen blogger, tweeter (from numerous twitter accounts although thankfully the number has decreased slightly) and can be found tweeting from @CathPoucher.

Image of Emily Plunkett - Communications OfficerEmily Plunkett (Communications Officer)

Emily is currently working as an Archaeological Consultant for a large planning consultancy based in the UK. She has a large amount of commercial experience in the field (8 years!), as both an excavator and a surveyor. She joined the group following CIfA 2015 as she feels passionately about the group and its aims. She hopes to find ways to address and reduced the issues experienced by fieldworkers which can occur when working in a high intensity environment and to make fieldwork an inclusive environment for all.

Image of Jim Brightman Jim Brightman

Jim is an archaeologist, heritage consultant and Partner at Solstice Heritage: a consultancy and practice based in northern England. He graduated from Newcastle University before spending a number of years working on a variety of commercial, research-led and community-led projects. If pushed to define a specific research interest or specialism, Jim would avoid the subject by talking about his love of vernacular architecture and the landscape of the North. After an inspirational conference session in 2015, Jim joined the committee for the new Equality and Diversity Group when he realised he not only supported and cared about the issues being discussed, but passionately wanted to be a part of helping make things happen.

Laura Hampden - PictureLaura Hampden

Laura is a Historic Environment Record Officer at the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS), Historic England. She has spent several years working on local authority HER’s since graduating from Reading University. Laura is currently studying for her Masters in Cultural Heritage and Resource Management at the University of Winchester and has recently spent time working on heritage projects in Barbados and with local Caribbean communities in Reading. She is passionate about enabling wider communities to access heritage and improving engagement between currently under-represented audiences and heritage organisations.

Image of Joseph Flatman - Committee MemberJoseph Flatman

Joe works at Historic England in their Listing Group. Originally an archaeologist, he now works across the heritage sector. He has both a professional and personal interest in equality and diversity issues as a straight white man determined to be a proactive friend and ally to those less advantaged than him, in the absolute conviction that equality issues are part of the long-term battle for universal human rights of benefit to all. As the actor Patrick Stewart  puts it: ‘people will not listen unless you are an old white man, so I’m an old white man and I will use that to help people who need it’. Joe is particularly interested in helping to address issues of harassment and bullying in the sector. You can follow him on Twitter @joeflatman

Image of Amanda FeatherAmanda Feather

Amanda has broad experience in heritage roles including archaeology, community and education, training, and the heritage sector more generally. Plus work based training and heritage research, policy and strategy. She is currently Head of Capacity Building at Historic England ensuring our training contributes fully to capacity building initiatives for the heritage workforces.

Amanda is interested in celebrating women working in cultural heritage, especially in senior roles, so all things glass ceiling/pyramid related. She is also interested in sharing good practice and strategies to create a more diverse workforce which recruits and develops people from a much broader talent pool.

What do we do?

The group’s core function will be to work with and support CIfA members and Registered Organisations to challenge the lack of equality and diversity in the profession in line with principle 5 of the Code of Conduct that all members and Registered Organisations have signed up to;

‘The member shall recognise the aspirations of employees, colleagues and helpers with regard to all matters relating to employment, including career development, health and safety, terms and conditions of employment and equality of opportunity.’

The group will  support research to continually assess barriers to equality and diversity within the profession, research, support and develop best practice strategies for challenging the inequalities in gender, ethnicity, sexuality and disability that currently exist. We will form partnerships with equality and diversity officers in other key professional bodies, and other interest groups will also be fundamental to the work of this group.

The specific functions of the group will be to:

  • Develop a detailed understanding of equality and diversity in the profession
  • Support research to identify and continuously assess barriers to equality.
  • Contribute to the profession’s understanding and implementation of the Equality Act 2010
  • Consider whether there is a need to create a Standard and Guidance document for HR, with a specific focus on Equality and Diversity
  • Research, support and promote best practice strategies for challenging inequalities in the profession
  • Increase the understanding of the role of archaeologists in society among diverse groups and improve our status by working with CIfA members to make the discipline more diverse and therefore more relevant to our diverse society
  • Support and promote those who demonstrate exemplary practice in equality and diversity in the profession
  • Form partnerships with other professional bodies and interest groups to enhance equality and diversity and to share best practice examples (e.g. Athena Swan, WISE, Historic England’s social inclusion and diversity adviser, British Women Archaeologists, the Diversity in Heritage Group, Stonewall)
  • Create and maintain an online repository or hub, coupled with the use of social media, to share and disseminate information, guidance and best practice from across the heritage sector.
  • Work across sectors to highlight the immense benefits of positive equality and diversity practice within allied industries (e.g. the recent study and recommendations in Equality and Diversity: Good Practice for the Construction Sector)
  • We will realise many of the above functions by consulting with members, by running annual CPD and training events around equality and diversity issues, by developing a suite of online training resources, as well as working in partnership with many of the other SIGs to address these issues where our interests overlap.


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