The Data Literacy Program’s (DLP’s) Paulina Przystupa, alongside The Alexandria Archive Institute’s Executive Director, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, will share their experiences with alternative archaeological field schools at the annual Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) conference in January. If you happen to be in Oakland, CA we hope you can catch them!
Paulina and Sarah are preparing for “Making Field Schools More Accessible: Learning and Building from Current Programs,” a live panel at the 2024 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, hosted by the SHA. This year’s conference is being held at the Marriott Oakland City Center and Convention Center in Oakland, California from January 3-6, 2024.
Sarah Whitcher Kansa, of the AAI and Archaeological Research Facility (ARF) at UC Berkeley, and Sara Ayers-Rigsby of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) organized the session. They invited Dan Cearley, Samuel Connell, Andrés Garzón-Oechsle, Jay Haigler, Valentina Martíne, Gabrielle Miller, Bonnie Newsom, Christopher Pasc, Meredith Reifschneider, and Paulina Przystupa to start the new year on an optimistic note by discussing how to make field schools more accessible.
Sarah and Paulina will draw from their experiences with the ARF field school and the preparation of a new DLP initiative. That new initiative is the Archaeological Data Literacy Practicum. Developed out of existing Digital Data Stories and the skills archaeology professionals indicated they would like to see in new hires (based on a survey the AAI conducted last March), Paulina and Sarah designed the practicum as a self-paced, survey-focused, field school that emphasizes developing archaeological data literacy skills. The field school focuses on skills building in at-home contexts to explicitly connect archaeological field skills with archaeology data skills.
This conference will provide a great chance to workshop ideas, share information with other folks leading accessible field schools, and drum up interest in the AAI’s new Archaeological Data Literacy Practicum. The abstract for the panel is as follows:
Training in archaeological fieldwork and methodology is a critical part of preparing students for a full-time career in archaeology. However, a six-week formal field school may not be accessible for students who have childcare or other family obligations, employment outside of school, or commitments that require them to stay closer to home or limit the amount of time available for fieldwork training. How can we as professional archaeologists create field schools that support new voices and diverse perspectives in the discipline? Panelists for this forum will share their perspectives on making fieldwork more accessible, including experience running or attending programs that tried to navigate these difficulties, how field schools support students, and challenges they have faced. We hope that collectively through shared discussion we can improve programming and accessibility for all. Although panelists are listed, the organizers welcome all to attend this discussion and participate.
We hope you can join us in person for the panel on 5 January 2024 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. If you haven’t registered yet, you can still register for the conference here. If you can’t be there with us in real life, don’t worry! Many of the panelists will be preparing short articles about their experiences with alternative field schools for an upcoming issue of The SAA Archaeological Record. We’ll make sure to highlight that when it comes out. Until then, we hope to see you in Oakland!