Thursday, 2 December 2021

CFP: Actors, not spectators


Actors, Not Spectators. Community Representation in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in the 21st century

A session at the

Session: #424


1. Archaeologists and Archaeology Here and Now

Session Format

Regular session


Actors, Not Spectators. Community Representation in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in the 21st century

Session Abstract

A shift in public and community archaeology and the way communities are engaged has resulted in numerous publications on how to actively involve various citizens in the entire research process. Despite the increased focus on participatory archaeological research and citizen science worldwide, projects are still often aimed at the “comfortable” audience. The dutiful spectator that obliges with “official” definitions, legislations, and heritage practices, such as “responsible” metal detectorists in many countries. Yet, detectorists and other parts of the public are still routinely by-passed in the citizen scientist realm because of the way they choose to engage with heritage; often hands-on, not within the museum setting nor in the passive role as a spectator. Due to this, they are frequently denied access to the archaeological field, and painted as a potential threat. In addition, there are the individuals who do not always conform with the normative views of an archaeological participator: the non-white, disabled, Indigenous, neurodivergent, LGTBQ+, those of ethnic and religious minorities. Specifically, people who are commonly denied access to their past and to be an actor in this narrative.

Across the world, individuals, communities, stakeholders, knowledge keepers and other members of the public are demanding to be allowed to not only view the end process of archaeology. They want to have access; to be actively involved in the heritage-making process and have a say in how the archaeological heritage is displayed and used. This session welcomes those who seek to challenge our view of what true participation can or should be. We particularly encourage individuals from the LGTBQ+ communities, citizen scientists, Indigenous persons, and people who can present on case studies, offer practical examples or theoretical approaches to these exclusionary practices in archaeology and heritage studies.


Representation, Heritage-making, Community, Public archaeology


Main organiser:

Kiara Beaulieu (Canada), University of Antwerp


Suzie Thomas (Belgium), University of Antwerp
Irmelin Axelsen (Norway), University of Oslo
Jordan Jamieson (Canada), Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

Email for informal inquiries: or use our contact form.

To submit an abstract: go to the EAA website.

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