Inclusive, Accessible Archaeology – a real present!

Disibality Debate logo from National Disability Arts Forum UK Following on from my post about  Discrimination

A leaflet dropped on my desk today.  Entitled Inclusive, Accessible Archaeology which aims to address the dual issues of disability and transferable skills in the teaching of archaeological fieldwork.

The emphasis of the development is a self-evaluation tool kit for physical and psychological abilities in fieldwork. The tool increases students’ awareness of their acquisition of transferable skills and promotes careers management skills.

The project involved archaeologists working closely with specialists in Inclusive Environments to characterise the skills needed in archaeological fieldwork.

In addition to engaging with teachers of undergraduate archaeology nationally, the project actively involved the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA), English Heritage and Oxford Archaeology.

The project has the potential to widen participation by challenging the stereotype of archaeology as a field discipline that may exclude disabled participants. It aims to effect a change of emphasis from ‘disability’ to ability: rather than excluding or categorising individuals, students will be engaged actively in assessing their own skills.

 BAJR has been involved quietly and privately on this too, so its good to see the big groups have come up with a real plan of action that bears scrutiny.

Not only are these grand words, but they are perfectly sensible words.  I have been contacted in the past by wheelchair users, dyslexics, and others who have disabilities ranging from ME to amputees.  The same advice I give to them all, is there is and should be a place for everyone, and don’t just accept a pot washing job, as its too easy to allow that to become the stock reply to a disabled persons quesry about working in archaeology.  It is quite possible for work to adapt where possible.  A dyslexic I talked to only needed the context record sheets printed on green paper – and then a supervisor to check her work, for example – this seemed to do the trick, a person with ME needed flexible time management.   I am very heartened to see this document, I will be even more happy to see it in action.  

Lets keep an eye on this.   Remember that disability is not just people in wheelchairs, it ranges so wide, that I would suspect most of us at one time or another could be classified as disabled in some way.  Inclusivity does not have to mean lowering expectations, it means heigthening our awareness of others…  and becoming a truly accessible profession.

Read about it all here, download the documents, use them and report back.  

Another interesting and relevant website is here

National Disability Arts Forum UK


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Filed under Archaeology News, BAJR Talk

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