MOLA archaeologist engaging with the public at Shake It Up Festival 24 Aug 19 Copyright @mishkopapic

The Archaeology Audience Network

Project partner: 
Funded by the Culture Recovery Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Date: 
2021-2022

The Archaeology Audience Network is a project that brings together many of the UK’s leading archaeological organisations to build the most accurate picture to date of the audiences that public and community archaeology attracts and engages with in England and make it freely accessible online.

With this information in hand, Network partners will work with grassroots community organisations to develop new public and community archaeology activities that reflect the needs and interests of new audiences, deliver training in gathering and using audience data, and produce new best practice guidance on how to collect and apply audience data in future activity.

Funded by the Culture Recovery Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project is being delivered in partnership between MOLA, The Archaeology Data Service, The Council for British Archaeology, DigVentures, Oxford Archaeology, Wessex Archaeology, and York Archaeological Trust.

As a community of practice, groups delivering public archaeology within the planning process form a significant avenue for audiences to access ‘live’ archaeological investigations and contribute hands-on insights into UK heritage. Yet they lack a consistent understanding of the audiences they reach and, crucially, of gaps in this reach. In addressing this fundamental issue of who archaeological engagement activity reaches, the project seeks to develop wider audiences for archaeology, make organisations in the sector more resilient, and promote innovation in the delivery of archaeology.

What happens next? Network partners had their inaugural meeting in May 2021. Partners are now working to bring together evaluation data from a fascinatingly diverse range of projects and aggregate it into a database for analysis. We hope to be able to test this new database in early 2022.

How can my community group/organisation get involved? The Network’s programme of training in collecting, understanding, and using evaluation data about audiences will launch in September 2021, with the first training session delivered online by MOLA. Keep an eye on our social channels and follow the hashtag #ArchaeoAN for a date and the specific learning outcomes for the session. Later in the project we will also have opportunities for community groups to work with network partners to test the dataset in action and use it to develop exciting new activities.

How can I contact the Archaeology Audience Network team? Email aan@mola.org.uk.  

  • Archaeology workshop at Camberwell library, Southwark

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