Attending Nearching Factory in Santiago de Compostella
It was the titles, "Creating New Scenarios for Archaeology" and "This is not a Congress", that first sparked my interest for Nearching Factory in Santiago de Compostella (Spain). When I looked up the website, I was struck by the themes at the core of this gathering: the loss of huge numbers of jobs in the preventive archaeology sector and the crisis of archaeology in general, especially with regard to the distance between the experts and the general public. Specific topics to be discussed ranged from ‘Digital Capabilities for Sustainability’ to ‘Arts and New Heritages’, ‘Archaeology of the Present’ and ‘Archaeology of/for the Future’. As I personally experienced this crisis in archaeology and decided to launch Groundworks regardless, I decided to attend. Participants at Nearching Factory were professionals from the European heritage sector and from Latin America (Cuba, Argentina, Chile and Colombia). Our hosts, the Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio and the Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas, did a great job by gathering all of us at the San Martin Pinario monastery. The event was extremely stimulating as most discussions centered on social issues and the challenges archaeologists face with communities, urban planners, funding shortages, the oversight of professional ethical conducts, heritage values etc. I am not sure whether any solutions have been found on a sustainable future for the discipline and the profession but the efforts put into this event and the honest discussions may be a first step towards positive change. The main ideas that have come up during the Nearching Factory event will be presented at the conference of the European Archaeological Association (EAA) this forthcoming september.