Dr Kate Faccia during excavations of site of the Boar's Head Theatre (c) MOLA

Archaeology and Public Benefit Project Update 10: MOLA commits to further research on the social value of archaeology

Dr Sadie Watson

Dr Sadie Watson  is leading a  four-year UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship  looking at maximising public benefit from archaeology carried out on UK infrastructure projects. In this blog series, she keeps us up to date with  the project team’s progress… 

Dr Kate Faccia’s Research Associate role has been extended for another year, to allow for further research into how archaeology can contribute to social value and public benefit. Kate commenced working on the Archaeology and Public Benefit project in Summer 2020, and since then has led on our outward-facing work brilliantly – forging new relationships, building networks and consulting widely through a series of surveys. The contract extension will allow Kate to continue consulting with potential industry and charitable partners and other organisations in order to extend the value of archaeology beyond its typical business sectors and its traditional audiences.  

Our research is increasingly highlighting the challenges of embedding meaningful community-led projects into the existing business models within which many industries (including construction) operate. Kate’s work to forge relationships with organisations with a clear social justice business model - both community-led projects and commercial organisations ringfencing funds for social value-led projects – is therefore of particular interest .  

Data from this industry consultation, alongside consultation with communities who represent the major different language groups around London and Northampton, will be used to develop a practical approach for businesses to act upon key insights from Sadie’s Fellowship, a key outcome of her research anticipated by UK Research and Innovation. 

Over the next few months Kate will be working towards a series of milestones, including finalising the scope for any projects we can instigate, consulting with industry/business representatives about the need for and potential future partnerships, preparing a full business plan and budget for the 2022-23 financial year, and conducting multi-lingual community consultations, for which we are seeking additional funding. 

Our aim here is to look beyond archaeology’s typical industry connections, seeking new relationships and opportunities to create novel forms of value for clients and potential partners. We also hope to explore ways in which our fundamental practices associated with archaeological work within development-led systems can be broadened to incorporate new ways of thinking about, and doing, archaeology.  

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