CIfA Conference Session Outline


The Equality and Diversity Group are delighted to be hosting a CPD workshop at this years CIfA Conference. More information on the conference can be found on the CIfA website:

This Workshop will take place on Friday 22nd April 2016, and aims to introduce the group to the industry, and begin to discuss issues we can tackle. Please see below for more information on the Workshop:

Equality and Diversity in an
Archaeological Context

Session Organisers:

Cath Poucher (University of Oxford) and Sarah McLean (Historic England) 


Britain has a diverse population which means the archaeology sector does too. Issues surrounding gender, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and ethnicity are rarely examined as part of the archaeological workforce. The new CIfA Equality and Diversity Group has been set up to support archaeologists and employers understand these issues, and promote equality. It has been nearly 5 years since the Equality Act (2010) came into force replacing a host of earlier legislation; Sex Discrimination Act (1975), Race Relations Act (1976) and Disability Discrimination Act (1995). With this in mind, this workshop will explore this further and look at ways the group can work for you and a more diverse workforce.

The workshop will focus on three specific areas; gender, disability and LBGT, before drawing together the themes and identifying ways we can move forward. Each session will start with a short presentation by a passionate advocate or specialist on the topic. This will be followed by round table discussion around a set of questions for 30 minutes before each table feeds back to the room. During the final session, Equality and Diversity in Context, a Q&A session with our speakers and a chance to draw things to a close.

Whilst we encourage participants to share the themes and outcomes of the workshop we would ask that the specifics of what delegates share are kept in confidence by all those who attend. The workshop will not be filmed and we would like to create an environment where participants feel they can share openly.

The workshop is very much an opportunity to find out more about these issues, consider how diverse your workplace is and how to encourage that diversity.

Aims of the session:

  • Identify actions that Equality and Diversity Group can take forward,
  • Identify a benchmark – where are we now and how will we establish a baseline to work from?
  • Identify key issues in terms of equality going forward,
  • Equality and Diversity in context: Identify strengths and weaknesses of equality and diversity within archaeology,
  • Identify small-scale actions that individuals can do to affect positive change across the sector.

Session Timetable

Section 1: Gender Divides in Archaeology

Speaker: Doug Rocks-McQueen, Landward Research Ltd

Things have come a long way for women in the last century. They can vote and can choose to work in a wider variety of fields than our grandmothers could. However there is still a long way to go. The pay gap between men and women is still 14.2% and according to a recent UCAS study 85% of degree students taking computer sciences and engineering are male. The Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates that 54,000 women each year who return to work after pregnancy are forced out of their jobs through dismissal, redundancy, or poor treatment. Whilst these figures refer to the UK as a whole the picture within the heritage sector is less clear due to lack of research.

This session aims to explore the gender divide within archaeology. Does it exist, in what forms and how do we recognise it?

Section 2:  Disability in Archaeology

Speaker: Theresa O’Mahony, UCL

A disability under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 is a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. Around 19% of the UK Population is disabled. Whilst many of those are of state pension age it is estimated that around 16% of working age adults are disabled. In contrast ‘Profiling the Profession’ has found that less than 2% of archaeologists have a disability. Disability is not always visible and so many of us may be unaware that our colleagues are, by definition of the Equality Act, disabled.

This session aims to explore the nature of disability within the sector and the obvious (and less obvious) barriers that exist for those wanting a career in heritage.

Section 3: Sexual Orientation in Archaeology

Speaker: Dr Alan Greaves, University of Liverpool

This is another area where in recent years some significant progress has been made. Homosexuality is now legal as is gay marriage. However as with women’s rights there is still a long way to go. There are no figures on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) staff within the heritage sector. Stonewall do produce a yearly list of top 100 employers for LGBT and whilst a number of local authorities and government agencies make the list there were no heritage specific organisations that made the top 100 (Historic England came 111 in 2015).

This session aims to explore the nature of LGBT diversity within the heritage sector.

Section 4:  Equality and Diversity in Context

Speakers: Dr Hannah Cobb, Equality and Diversity Group Chair, University of Manchester, Doug Rocks-McQueen, Landward Research, Theresa O’Mahoney, UCL and  Alan Greaves, University of Liverpool

This session aims to combine thoughts from the previous session, and any other equality and diversity issues that participants want to raise, with the aim at looking at ways forward. A panel of all of our speakers and the chair of the new Equality and Diversity SIG, Dr Hannah Cobb, will be taking questions and drawing the workshop to a close. The new Equality and Diversity Group want to hear from you and ensure their plans reflect the needs and wants of CIfA members.  It is also an opportunity for participants to identify small things they could be doing to encourage diversity within their own workplaces.


If you are interested in attending the Workshop, please get in touch with the CIfA for more information.