Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Teaching Archaeology & the Media

This year, my supervisor and I were very excited to receive funding from the University of Bristol to conduct some innovative teaching approaches on concepts around "Archaeology and the Media" including social media. The first two sessions took place over the last couple of weeks and student feedback was very promising.

The aim of teaching was to provide students with competencies, strategies and ethics in how to deal with media channels, journalists, social media, etc. (I wasn't teaching them "how to do a tweet"!).

I've adopted a crowdsourcing activity I saw at a HEA workshop earlier this year and mixed up my lecture delivery style with interactive elements. Students responded to both the break of lecture (*brain relief*) and the chance to discuss and hash out what they just learned in small groups, and then bring it back to the larger group.

It's difficult to prove, unless I tie this in to examinations, but I think this process helps with retention of information. It's well understood that we only retain a small precentage of what we hear and write down, but by bolstering this with discussion and reflection, learning is reinforced immediately. By interacting, students also feel more involved, and participation can enhance enjoyment and enthusiasm for the subject.

In addition to one of the lectures, I was also given blocks of seminar time to further develop ideas grounded on the case study of the Berkeley Castle Excavations social media project. I created a loose frame within which the students were encouraged to work independently and collaboratively, at their own speed, following their own interests, with me placed to provide direction and support as required. Again, this was highly effective and many students commented on how they enjoyed this relaxed environment where any idea was welcomed. The added bonus was that students became even more encouraged to join the social media team this summer (hooray!).

In the coming weeks and months, I will be further developing my approaches and writing up my findings. After the summer excavation period, I will produce a report for the University which will contain a model of my approaches that can be lifted and applied to a wide range of subjects (especially those that conduct fieldwork) - this will be made available freely once internally approved. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Remembering the Great War

Back in May/June, the University asked me to plan and manage the Colston Research Symposium: "Remembering the Great War: Perspectives from the Local to the Global". We invited the finest speakers from across the land, see below, and the attendees were just as important!

Hosted at Wills Hall on 23 October, the atmosphere was excited and expectant. Check out the social media buzz, along with photos:

Afterwards, we travelled the Wills Memorial Building, up to the Great Hall to hear from Sir Max Hastings on "Catastrophe 1914". The massive room was packed to near full capacity as hundreds of people sat for the powerful talk.
Dinner at Merchant's Hall, Clifton, Bristol
I was fortunate to then be invited along with speakers and select guests to Merchant's Hall for a very fine dinner. All in all, a very long, busy and rewarding day!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

extra archaeology content

If you haven't already, check out my instagram account. I trawled through my archives and found some super archaeology pics from my travels in Sri Lanka, Greece, France, Spain, Mexico, Ireland, the UK, Japan and beyond:
Plenty more to come!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TV debut: PhD research on Hell-Fire Caves

Catch me on the telly 8pm "Underground Britain" Channel 5 (20th November)

Will be chatting about the history and archaeology of the Hell-Fire Caves of West Wycombe, and a 3D laser scan conducted with the British Geological Society (BGS).

Monday, November 3, 2014


Have a read of the blog I wrote for the Cabot Institute, University of Bristol.
It's all about my experiences during the RENKEI Summer School, Japan, focusing on Energy and Sustainability: