Tag: co-creation

Applied Archaeology in Peru

summer-imageI have posted several times about my field season in Peru this past summer.  Here is a slideshare summary of the work (complete with pictures of cute children.)  Although I often say that the community outreach in Hualcayán, Peru is comparable to the outreach of the C.H. Nash Museum here in Memphis, upon reflection today, I am even more impressed with the similarities:

  • Both projects involve outreach to underserved communities.  In Southwest Memphis, the largely blue-collar African-American community is located in an industrial and business zone where corporate interests consistently trump residential community development.  In Peru, rural communities such as Hualcayán are considerably underserved in basic social and infrastructure services when compared to nearby towns.
  • Both communities seek a recognition of both their heritage and place in the broader culture.  I have posted before about how this recognition is played out in Southwest Memphis around issues of military service, landmark preservation, and community history.  In Hualcayán this summer, the same sentiments were strongly expressed in both words and actions.  Last year I asked PIARA founder and co-director Rebecca Bria if the Hualcayán community was really interested in a museum, or more in the economic development that a museum could generate.  She immediately replied that five years ago, a museum to showcase Hualcayán’s cultural heritage was at the top of the agenda that community leaders requested of PIARA. This summer, we addressed that long-standing need in opening the first iteration of a museum.  Examples of the community sentiment around their cultural heritage was also expressed this summer in the stated need for a written document that records the community history, the interest in developing a craft workshop based on their cultural traditions, and the student’s creation of a modern quipu to record their individual stories and place in the community.  The very hand-written minutes and signing of ledger books by speakers and participants in community meetings speaks to the importance of recorded history in Hualcayàn.
  • the list goes on . . .

I enjoy today understanding how these experiences operationalize for me concepts like co-creation, the participatory museum, community asset, and stakeholder.  As well, I understand and am better able to explore and explain applied archaeology as a discipline with value for communities.

Perhaps greater than any other past work, my experiences in Southwest Memphis and Hualcayán, Perú allow me to answer challenges or questions posed during my early academic training some 30 years ago:

  • from Patricia Essenpreis – If you can’t explain why the public’s tax dollars should support your research, you might as well go home.
  • and from Barry Isaac – Why is your research more important than eating a plate of worms?

Cultural Heritage Co-Creation from the Bottom Up

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Student adding her string to the class quipu as their History Professor Leodan Abanto Alejo Valerio looks on.

I just read a volume of papers on creativity in museums, visitor experiences, and so forth. Despite the plethora of measurement outcomes for visitors touching pieces, engaging with staff, talking among themselves, voting for their favorites, and so forth, I found no mention of a visitor being asked “what are your needs and wants from this institution.” That is, the papers reflected what professionals determined as an appropriate set of goals and then a set of measures of how well the visitor experience achieved those goals.

The papers reflect the trend that to prioritize the visitor experience is often simply making a decision to value the visitor on an equal or greater level than the object.  The museum staff then generate a set of proposals on how this engagement might occur. This approach seems the antithesis of John Cotton Dana’s 1917 mandate in The New Museum to “Learn what aid the community needs: fit the museum to those needs.” Explicit in this mandate is engaging directly with the community to determine those needs.

I had a couple of interesting lessons recently on Dana’s point. I previously posted how an article published on the engagement between the Southwest Memphis community and the C.H. Nash Museum along with printed banners honoring military veterans were highly valued by the community members. In conjunction with faculty from the University of Memphis, this summer our Museum conducted another round of oral history interviews that will be archived at southwestmemphis.com.  The important point about these projects is that they resulted from the expressed needs of community members.

I emphasize here that I do not mean to take a holier-than-thou position on our community outreach.  I am consistently surprised at which projects resonate with the community.  But through experience, I am coming more and more to act on the direct community input at the very start of project development.  We then filter the community input through the mandates of our museum mission statement.

This process holds true in my recent collaborations in Hualcayán, Peru. On the PIARA Team, my primary responsibility this summer is beginning the process for the development of a cultural center or museum for the small village of 400, a 2-hour drive on an unpaved road from the next larger community. To that end, I have scoured the literature on small indigenous museums and cultural centers for models and have found very few. One of the better resources is Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Small Scale Solutions by Susan M. Guyette, a rather encyclopedic approach to the concept.

Last year I asked Rebecca Bria, the founder and co-director of PIARA, if the Hualcayán community really wanted a museum or were they really more interested in economic, educational, and health care development. She emphatically responded that through her five-year engagement with the community, they expressed that a museum, a physical structure to showcase their heritage was a primary need. Rebecca’s assessment came through quite clear in the discussion with the Hualcayán teachers I posted about last week. The teachers want a written record of Hualcayán generated.

Another example of meeting a community expressed need came last week in a classroom project with Hualcayán high school students carried out by Karissa Deiter and Hannah McAllister. They adapted the quipu exercise from Archaeologyland for this project. After introducing the importance of artifacts in telling the stories of the past, Karissa and Hannah used quipus as an example of how past societies recorded information. Each student then created their own quipu string that recorded their age, numbers of siblings, and so forth.  The project was originally designed so that each student would create their own quipu, yet the teacher and students decided that the individual strings would be tied to a unified class quipu. Minimally, the quipu will live on at the school and ideally will become in “artifact” in the community’s museum set to open on August 2nd. After the quipu demonstration, the history teacher decided that the next project was to develop a timeline of the entire Hualcayán community. To that end Karissa and other members of the PIARA team will lead the high school students on a tour of the archaeological site, the research lab, and more.

As I noted in last week’s post, from the very inception, the in-class presentations developed for this summer in Hualcayán were based on the previously expressed needs of the teachers and community.  The PIARA team put together projects that were then modified and further developed on the spot by the community members.  Ultimately, the product is tailored to the needs of the visitor/student/community member and not the museum.  This approach strikes me as a method that emphasizes a bottom-up method for co-creation.

What are your experiences with this type of co-creation process?

A Lesson Learned in Cultural Heritage Co-creation in Hualcayán, Peru

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Meeting with Hualcayán teachers

I am in Hualcayán, Peru through the first part of August as a part of the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológico Regional Ancash (PIARA) Team that conducts archaeological research, cultural heritage, and economic development in this small 400-person village in the Andes highlands. I first became interested in PIARA several years ago when I posted an interview with the founder and current Co-Director of PIARA, Rebecca Bria. I now have the opportunity of joining with PIARA and leveraging resources, building relationships and providing educational opportunities in my capacity as Director of the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa and professor in the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Memphis.

I consider the very essence of co-creation to be the process by which all parties approach an issue on equal footing to address a need. To that end, this summer PIARA is partnering with teachers in the Hualcayán school to create educational resources based on their specific requests of the community. The expressed needs center on health care, global warming, education, cultural heritage and economic development.

This past Monday evening members of the PIARA team met with six teachers from the Hualcayán school about our participation in classes over the next three weeks.   The meeting was very productive in laying out a strategy for our work. At one point, the history teacher for the high school Maestro Leodain noted that he had textbooks on the history of Peru, but there was no resource on the history of the Hualcayán community itself. He identified such a resource as a true need for the community.

The discussion then turned to using the Flip video cameras donated to the Hualcayán school by WriteMemphis in Tennessee, U.S. as a tool for collecting oral histories about the community. All agreed that a 50-page or so small paperback book would be ideal to present the synthesis of the oral history interviews. Elizabeth Cruzado Carranza PIARA Co-Director noted that a book format would exclude many elderly in the community who did not read and only spoke Quechua. A video available on DVD and electronically could help disseminate the history beyond the printed page.

The consensus of the meeting was to move forward with the oral history project. The planned class presentations for the next three weeks to the high school students were modified to include training on the use of Flip cameras to record oral history projects. The students will be guided in creating a set of questions to ask their parents and elders about Hualcayán history. The students will also consider other materials where historic information on the community might be obtained. When Elizabeth and I return to Hualcayán this coming January for a brief visit, we can assemble the information obtained by the students in a book form for publication. The final draft will be sent to the teachers of the Hualcayán school for their final editing. We project publishing the book and DVD by the Third Annual Cultural Heritage Festival in August of 2015.

I often quote John Cotton Dana who wrote nearly 100 years ago in The New Museum, “Learn what aid the community needs: fit the museum to those needs.” In the above example, the community needs a documentation of their history. PIARA is being fit to co-create that product.

The meeting was a learning experience for everyone. For the PIARA Team, we learned that our practice of listening and being responsive to the expressed community needs continues to be an effective tool to live into our mission. The teachers attending learned that the obstacles of creating a resource on the community history could be overcome. PIARA could not create a history of Hualcayán book without community input. Prior to the Monday meeting, the community had not identified a way to create such a product. Together, both parties will co-create the history. Stay tuned to see how this project develops.

 

For more information visit the PIARA website, subscribe to PIARA’s blog the Ancash Advocate, sign up to receive the PIARA newsletter, or friend PIARA on Facebook.

Co-Creation: The Messiness of Being Relevant

This past Saturday temperatures in Memphis were in the upper 90s to insure a pretty light turn out for our regular Volunteer Day activities at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa – especially since we advertised a focus for the month on outdoor landscaping and gardening.  In the end, we had a great day.

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Carmello Burks and Rachel Clark planting the Butterfly Garden.

First, Rachel Clark from my Applied Archaeology and Museums class this past semester had proposed that we install a butterfly garden in the area that in Chucalissa’s pre-NAGPRA days housed the display of human remains excavated from the site. Over the past few weeks Rachel and I discussed the sensitive logistics for the proposed installation.  The garden could not intrude below the ground surface in any way, given the very real possibility of remaining human burials in the vicinity.  We also discussed installing a panel on a nearby kiosk to explain why the human burials were no longer exhibited at Chucalissa.  A butterfly garden and informational display on the importance of NAGPRA and respecting the lives of those who built the 1000 year-old Native American earthwork complex seemed fitting and in line with the wishes of site development expressed by contemporary Native Americans of the Midsouth.

Second, on Saturday we also made arrangements for an Eagle Scout Project that will replace a dilapidated bridge along our nature trail.  Eagle Scout projects are always a negotiated process, matching our museums’ needs with the ability, interest, and motivation of the individual Scout in tandem with Eagle project criteria.  The bridge was in desperate need of replacement and the Scout chose the project from a half-dozen possibilities.

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Reverand George Royal and Mr. Robert Gurley working on the Urban Garden this past Saturday

Third, on Saturday members of the Westwood Neighborhood Association were out to tend the urban garden they planted for the third consecutive year.  The idea for the garden came from an offhand comment by a community member during a focus group on exhibit hall upgrades for our museum.  One community member, the recently deceased Mr. Ralph Thompson, noted that the prehistoric agriculture exhibit at Chucalissa reminded him of traditional foods grown in his youth.  He lamented the lack of a suitable public space for such a garden today.  We immediately noted that we had 40 acres of protected space to consider for an urban garden, and the project took off.  The garden is a source of pride for many community members.  The participants this past Saturday, Mr. Robert Gurley and Rev. George Royal told me about how good it is for the body and soul just to get out in the sun and do physical labor.  The urban garden produced a bountiful harvest in the past two years shared throughout the community.

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Freedom Prep Students creating hills for the Three Sisters Garden on Earth Day in April.

Fourth, I was itching to spend the day out in the heat and humidity.  I am one of those folks where the temperature and humidity never get too high.  I spent the morning weeding in our Three Sisters garden, planted in individual hills typical of Native American cultures in the late prehistoric period.  The plan for the garden was originally designed by Carrie Havrilla as a Green Internship project at the University of Memphis.  This year we planted the garden as an April Earth Day activity with community members and families taking responsibility for individual hills.  Fifteen students from Freedom Prep Academy, a local charter school, also participated in sculpting the hills and planting the corn, beans, and squash.

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A young sister preparing the Three Sisters Garden on Earth Day

On Saturday afternoon I looked out on the open space of the prehistoric earthwork complex and thought about the three new gardens and bridge replacement.  None of the projects were part of our strategic plan except that we seek to be an institution that is relevant to community needs and provides co-creative experiences.  In all four of the projects the “public” whether Boy Scouts, students of all ages, or community members are creating projects of their choosing in a space that is publicly owned and administered.  All of the projects fall well within the scope of our institutional mission and the expressed interests of our community stakeholders.  I reflected how this co-creation process is messy, nonlinear, but highly relevant to expressed community interests.  The process also flows directly from one of my favorite quotes in the New Museum by John Cotton Dana, written nearly 100 years ago: “Learn what aid the community needs: fit the museum to those needs.”

 

 

Applied Archaeology and Museums – The Course.

treetangle2aThis past semester I was the instructor for my favorite course – Applied Archaeology and Museums – a joint undergraduate and graduate class that usually enrolls 15-20 students. I developed the course a few years ago as pretty much an amalgam of what I enjoy and am most passionate about in archaeology – community engagement and empowerment through cultural heritage studies.

There are no in-class exams. Instead, students complete a series of essays, reading journals and projects where they directly apply the course content to real-time situations.

For example, students write a brief essay on repatriation, as applied to the Elgin Marbles. In the past I used a brief article by Jarrett Lobell from the 2006 edited volume Archaeological Ethics. Now as the lead resource I use the Wikipedia article on the Elgin Marbles, a 5000-word piece based on over 70 references. I am not aware of a more up-to-date and comprehensive starting point for the single class Elgin Marble repatriation discussion. Using the Wikipedia page also allows for students to assess the worth of user-generated content.  I emphasize that there is not a right or wrong position on repatriating the Elgin Marbles. I enjoy that depending on the class composition of Anthropology, History, and Art History majors, the discussion is quite varied. Occurring within the first two weeks of the course, I intend for this discussion to set a tone for the diversity of possibilities throughout the semester.

Forty percent of the course grade is from the final project that students complete for the class. I offer several possibilities and past projects to help stimulate the students thinking. The criteria for the final project includes that it must be broadly based in archaeology or cultural heritage studies and must ultimately live in area museum.  The projects were particularly successful this past semester.  I will post some of them here over the next few weeks.

For the final essay students respond to the following questions:

  • What is the social utility of archaeology?
  • Does Archaeology have a viable utility for people beyond other archaeologists?
  • What is the most significant insight you obtained from the course? Explain.

My reason for asking this line of questioning flows from my first field school experience nearly 30 years ago. The instructor, the late Dr. Patricia Essenpreis said something like “If you cannot explain to the public why their tax dollars should go to support keeping this site open to the public, you might as well go home.” I pondered that mandate for many years. Quite honestly, I don’t think I was ever able to adequately respond until I worked in applied archaeology contexts where community members were creating exhibits around their own cultural heritage. I believe that it is critically important that our students be able to show that archaeology is relevant, not just in the classroom, but when they leave as well.

Finally, the two wordles below are from spontaneous/unannounced two-minute trait list exercises for the term “applied archaeology” students completed on the first and the last day of class.  I am not completely comfortable with the shift over the course of the semester.  I appreciate that “excavation” is not the predominant associated term at the end of the semester as in the beginning.  On the other hand, I am surprised that the concept of fieldwork is nearly absent in the final list.  I am pleased that by the end of the semester students appreciate that applied archaeology is a discipline that is not performed for but rather with the community.

 

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Public Education Committee Sponsored Sessions at the Society for American Archaeology Meetings

I am honored to currently serve as the Chair of the Public Education Committee (PEC) of the Society for American Archaeology.  At the Annual Conference of the SAA this April 23-27 the PEC is pleased to sponsor the sessions listed below.  Here is a link for more information on the Annual Meeting including a complete program.  Hope to see you in Austin!

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Welcome to Online Archaeology!

  •  Thursday, April 24, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Maximum 24 persons;
  • $79 Annual Meeting attendees;
  • $49 student meeting attendees;
  • $129 non-meeting attendees

Instructors: Shereen Lerner (MesaCommunity College), Nancy Gonlin, RPA (Bellevue College), and Christine Dixon (University of Colorado and Bellevue College)

Target Audience: Archaeologists who teach or want to learn how to teach online or hybrid courses or improve the current content of their courses. The latest trend in education is the offering of online courses. As archaeologists, it is our duty to ensure high-quality education and to successfully convey the essence of the field through the medium of online teaching. This workshop will be a hands-on experience to demonstrate and share what has worked successfully in the online archaeology classroom. Several archaeologists have extensive experience in teaching in this environment and are familiar with various approaches that can be taken, regardless of the learning management system used by an institution to run online courses. Attendees will have the opportunity to map out a module of their own classes.

Major outcomes and lessons of the workshop participants will take away:

  1. A sense/knowledge of what approaches work well in the online environment
  2. Activities, films, assignments, and other assessments that convey essential archaeology concepts
  3. Links to resources for online archaeology education
  4. How to set up blogs and discussion areas and incorporate it into the online classroom
  5. How to incorporate or improve a course module and an outline of it

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Public Education Committee Meeting

  • Thursday, April 24, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
  • Salon C (HA)

Public Education State Network Coordinators Meeting

  • Friday, April 25, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Salon D (HA)

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Electronic Symposium · Getting Back to Saving the Past for the Future: Heritage Education at a Professional Crossroads

  • Thursday, April 24, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Room: 19B (ACC)

 In 1988, the Society for American Archaeology initiated the “Save the Past for the Future” Project to curb vandalism and destruction of archaeological resources, and provide for public education. Federal and state agencies and partners responded with an impressive variety of programs such as the Passport in Time program and Project Archaeology. The SAA’s Public Education Committee (PEC) became not only a clearing house for heritage education, but launched a number of successful internal and external initiatives, through the dedicated service of over 50 members. Despite the successes of the PEC, Board support for the large, active group waned and in 2008 reduced the size to 15 rotating members, in keeping with new SAA committee policy. During the same period environmental educators formed the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The NAAEE has state chapters to promote environmental education within states, establish best practices, and holds an annual meeting that attracts 1000 educators. Today the future of heritage education is threatened because it has no organization to support the efforts of a large group of heritage education professionals. This session will explore the development of heritage and environmental education and examine the possibilities for future professionalization of heritage education.

Here is a link to the papers for the session.

 Chair: Margaret Heath

 Participants:

  • Shereen Lerner—Challenging the Status Quo
  • Maureen Malloy—Archaeology Education in the U.S.: Past, Present, and Future
  • Jeanne Moe—Archaeology and the Common Core State Standards: All Hands onDeck
  • Hope Luhman—Considering the Possibilities: Cultural Resource Management’s Role in Heritage Education
  • A. Gwynn Henderson—Public Archaeology at the Kentucky Archaeological Survey
  • Ryan Harke—Towards a Public Environmental Archaeology: History, Survey and Suggestion
  • Ben Thomas—Facilitating Outreach and Education on a Grassroots Level
  • Robert King—Heritage Education at the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree: A Report on an Opportunity Taken
  • Meredith Hardy—New Directions in Archeological and Cultural Heritage Education
  • Eleanor King—Heritage and the Underrepresented: the Perspective from Howard University
  • Margaret Heath—Past, Present, and Future Directions of Heritage Education

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[152] Symposium · Co-Creation, The Public, and the Archaeological Record 

  • Friday Morning, April 25, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Room: 19B (ACC)

Co-creation in public archaeology is a means to engage and empower citizens to become stakeholders of the archaeological record. In museum contexts Simon (2010:278) writes that the purpose of co-creative community projects is “to give voice and be responsive to the needs and interests of local community members; to provide a place for community engagement and dialogue; and to help participants develop skills that will support their own individual and community goals.” The papers in this session discuss a variety of recent archaeological projects that implement the co-creative model. The contributions demonstrate how co-creation moves beyond “hands-on” educational experiences or typical volunteer programs because participants are invited to play an active role in designing and constructing the final products to address their needs and interests. Co-creation aligns with current emphases on informal, lifelong, and free-choice learning models that foster public engagement in the preservation of cultural heritage resources. The papers in this session also explore the benefits and challenges of using this method and provide examples of best practices for implementation. Finally, these papers speak to the impact of co-creation on the discipline and how the process increases the ability of archaeology to contribute to debates on contemporary issues.

Chairs: Elizabeth Bollwerk and Robert Connolly

 Participants:

  • 8:00 Robert Connolly—Co-creation as an Essential Means Toward Open Authority in Archaeology
  • 8:15 T. J. Ferguson and Stewart Koyiyumptewa—Co-Creation of Knowledge about the Past by The Hopi Tribe and Archaeologists
  • 8:30 Kimberly Kasper and Russell Handsman—The Duality of a 21st Century Tribal Museum: Archaeological Research and Museum Stakeholders at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
  • 8:45 Kenneth Robinson and Stephen Whittington—The Road Goes Ever On and On: Public Archaeology at Teozacoalco
  • 9:00 Elizabeth Katherine Cruzado Carranza and Rebecca Bria —Making the Past Relevant: Finding Solutions to the Challenges of Heritage Preservation in Rural Communities in Peru
  • 9:15 Britton Shepardson and Beno Atan—Approaching sustainable public archaeology on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile): education, conservation, research, and tourism
  • 9:30 Teresa Moyer—Building Capacity for Co-Created Digital Moviemaking through Youth Programs
  • 9:45 Bernard Means—Promoting a More Interactive Public Archaeology: Archaeological Visualization and Reflexivity through Virtual Artifact Curation
  • 10:00 Elizabeth Bollwerk—Open(ing) Archaeology: A Model for Digital Engagement
  • 10:15 Holly Andrew and Bonnie Pitblado—Engaging and Empowering Citizen Archaeologists through the Co-Creative Process: A Case Study Involving the Oklahoma Anthropological Society
  • 10:30 Matthew Reeves—Transforming Metal Detectorists into Citizen Scientists
  • 10:45 Kimberley Popetz—Turning Privies into Class Projects
  • 11:00 Sarah Miller, Jeff Moates and Michelle Williams—Co-Creation and the Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) Program Across Florida
  • 11:15 Michael Barber, Carole Nash and Michael Madden—The “Public in Public Archaeology: Down from the Ivory Tower and into the Real Trenches
  • 11:30 Mallory Haas and Elizabeth Hoag—Developing archaeological vernacular when approaching salvage in community: Decommissioning Euclid Avenue Churches in Cleveland Ohio.
  • 11:45 Carol McDavid—Discussant

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[274] Forum · THE ENGAGED CLASSROOM: DEVELOPING ACTIVITIES FOR ARCHAEOLOGY COURSES

  •  Saturday, April 26, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Room: 8B (ACC)

Archaeology courses offer ample opportunity to engage students in creative learning. Our discipline is one of infinite curiosity and discovery, which translates well to hands-on and/or critical thinking exercises. However, designing and implementing appropriate activities can be a challenge, particularly for new instructors. It takes time to develop an activity, supplies may not be readily available, planned activities may not live up to expectations, or student interaction may be difficult to facilitate. This forum is designed to offer archaeology instructors the opportunity to discuss, brainstorm, and share classroom activities. Our goal is for attendees to leave with examples of activities that could be implemented in a variety of archaeology courses. Each discussant will present a successful activity, including sharing tips and techniques to replicate the activity. Forum attendees will then collaboratively outline activities to teach common archaeological concepts in an engaged manner, allowing participants to learn from the successes and challenges others have experienced.

Moderator: Heidi Bauer-Clapp

Participants:

  • Heidi Bauer-Clapp—Discussant
  • Robert Connolly—Discussant
  • Bonnie Pitblado—Discussant
  • Katie Kirakosian—Discussant

 

 

Co-Creation, the Public, and the Archaeological Record

My colleague Elizabeth Bollwerk and I have organized a session of papers (Friday morning, April 25 at 8:00 AM) around the theme of Co-Creation, the Public, and the Archaeological Record  for the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting this month in Austin Texas.  We previously organized a session on museums and co-creation at the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings a couple of years ago, published last year as a thematic volume Open(ing) Authority Through Community Engagement in the journal Museums and Social Issues.

The 2014 SAA meeting session brings together a set of papers by practitioners that take-up co-creation and open authority within the discipline of archaeology.  We are particularly pleased that Carol McDavid, a long-time leader in public archaeology and community engagement will serve as a discussant for the session.  The session abstracts are listed below.  If you are going to be in Austin, we hope to see you at our session!

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Open(ing) Archaeology: A Model for Digital Engagement – Elizabeth Bollwerk (Central Washington University, Museum of Culture and Environment) – This paper begins with a brief introduction of the Open Authority and Co-Creation models and explores their role in altering and revolutionizing archaeological practice.  The focus then shifts to a discussion of engagement methods that archaeologists are currently utilizing on the web, including blogging, crowdfunding, and social media and evaluates their success as co-creative projects.  These methods are compared with co-creative methods that are being utilized by other scientific disciplines, in particular, crowdsourcing.  This paper concludes by considering 1) the obstacles and challenges facing the implementation of archaeological co-creative projects that are web based and 2) best practices for digital co-creative engagement identified from successful projects.

The “Public” in Public Archaeology: Down from the Ivory Tower and into the Real Trenches – Michael B. Barber (Virginia Department of Historic Resources), Michael J. Madden (USDA-Forest Service), and Carole L. Nash (James Madison University) – Archaeology is not for the benefit of archaeologists.   Building on the foundation of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Virginia’s community of professional archaeologists has joined forces and developed the “Certification Program for Archaeological Technicians.”   The program trains avocational archaeologists in the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the profession.  It is our contention here that co-creation should begin with the first phases of any archaeological endeavor and continue through interpretation and overall historic preservation.     

 Making the Past Relevant: Co-creative solutions to the challenges of heritage preservation in rural Peru – Elizabeth Cruzado Carranza (PIARA) and Rebecca E. Bria (Vanderbilt University and PIARA) – In the impoverished traditional Quechua communities of rural Ancash, Peru, the planning and implementing of archaeological heritage preservation and community museum projects faces a variety of obstacles that require creative solutions. At two nearby monumental archaeological sites with over 2000 years of prehistoric occupation, Hualcayán and Pariamarca, archaeologists work directly with the local community to demonstrate the relevance for the preservation of their cultural resources. Conflicting interests by adults who are pressured by local political parties, business interests, and a loss of connection to the ancient past has led the US and Peruvian collaborators of the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológico Regional Ancash (PIARA) to engage local communities in developing a multi-faceted and co-creative approach to present and protect their cultural heritage.  The engagement includes 1) long-term, education-focused heritage preservation projects with local school children, 2) the design of local museums that also serve as community centers, and 3) plans for the creation of a community-run development project to generate communal funds through ecological and cultural tourism activities. The latter project will connect the two sites as archaeological parks, museums, and campgrounds or homestays as tourism destinations rather than a simple pass-through on a Cordillera trek.

The Duality of a 21st Century Tribal Museum: Archaeological Research and Museum Stakeholders at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center – Kimberly Kasper (Rhodes College) and Russ Handsman (Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center) – Since opening its doors in 1998, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center has identified as both a tribal center and a museum committed to challenging the public’s conventional understandings of Native history in New England. Within each stakeholder arena, archaeological research continues to provide a critical pathway for recovering and illuminating the historic experiences of reservation life. In this paper, two internal case studies are presented to illustrate the complexity that exists within the museum’s dual identity as it integrates new information  “with, for and by” the tribe and public. The first focuses on the materiality of late 18th-century Pequot house sites and a recently developed low-cost but high impact, I-Pad-based program for museum patrons. The second reflects on how archaeobotanical studies, from 17th and 18th century Mashantucket historic sites, are incorporated into an ongoing project to nurture and enrich the storytelling tradition in the tribal community. For each project, there are two different audiences, two different types of archaeological material studies, and two very different approaches for collaborative engagement – co-existing in a single institution. That duality may not be present in other tribal museums but it is both foundational and essential to MPMRC’s mission to (re)construct nuanced understandings of Native American histories.

Co-Creation of Knowledge about the Past by The Hopi Tribe – T. J. Ferguson (University of Arizona) and Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa (Hopi Tribe) – For two decades, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office has worked with archaeologists to co-create knowledge about the past and the contemporary values associated with heritage sites. Much of this work has been accomplished in the framework of research mandated by the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Here we describe the processes of this community-based participatory research, including research design, implementation of fieldwork, peer review of research findings, and reporting. The Hopi Tribe’s collaborative research with archaeologists provides intellectual benefits for the management of archaeological resources and the humanistic and scientific understanding of the past.

 Co-creation as an Essential Means Toward Open Authority in Archaeology – Robert Connolly (University of Memphis, C.H Nash Museum at Chucalissa) – Based in constructivist educational theory and using participatory museum and open authority models, this paper examines products co-created by visitors, volunteers, students, and museum staff at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa.  Two case studies are featured.  First, an exhibit on the African American Cultural Heritage of Southwest Memphis based on the excavated materials from a 1920s era farmstead that was co-created with University of Memphis and neighborhood high school students.  Second, using curated collections, a set of education products and museum exhibits co-created by avocational archaeologists, and museum studies graduate students.  Critical to the co-creative process is incorporating the authoritative voices and decisions of all participants.    This paper argues that co-created products are ultimately more robust and relevant to the public than projects that incorporate only the voice of the professional community.  As well, co-creative processes in archaeology serve as a vital link to educating the public on opportunities for engagement and the funding needs of cultural heritage institutions.  Co-creation forms an essential opportunity for sharing with the public the authority and responsibility for the curation of a community’s cultural heritage

Salvaging a Community: Archaeology, Demolition, and Resurrection at the Euclid Avenue Church of God, Cleveland, Ohio – Mallory R. Haas (Center for Community Studies) and Elizabeth A. Hoag (Cuyahoga Community College) – The unfortunate demolition of the ca. 1888 Euclid Avenue Church of God has created a unique opportunity for public archaeology. Both before and after the demolition, we began a new kind of community-based historic salvage and preservation project, to save public social memory and tangible artifacts from the church. In this paper, we describe how, working with various stake-holders involved with the structure including the congregation, municipal offices, and private institutions, we have utilized a more holistic perspective that seeks to accommodate everyone’s agendas. We are developing a co-creative approach to historical preservation while preserving social history and legacy of the structure.

Promoting a More Interactive Public Archaeology: Archaeological Visualization and Reflexivity through Virtual Artifact Curation – Bernard K. Means (Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University) – The Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University was established in August 2011 with funding from the Department of Defense’s Legacy Program. Since its establishment, the Virtual Curation Laboratory has created hundreds of 3D digital artifact models from a wide range of archaeological sites located in the eastern United States, as well as printed plastic replicas of many 3D digital models. Some have questioned whether our efforts and those of similar projects are curiosities or novelties with little to contribute meaningfully to scholarly research or public engagement. In this paper, I will argue that 3D digital models and printed replicas allow for new ways of visualizing the past, while preserving the actual artifacts themselves. These forms of archaeological visualization enable the broader public and not just a narrow band of researchers to dynamically and meaningfully interact with rare and fragile objects in ways that would otherwise not be possible, empowering their own contributions to interpreting and understanding the past.

Co-Creation and the Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) Program Across Florida – Sarah E. Miller (Florida Public Archaeology Network) – The Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) program offered by the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) began in 2011 as a reaction to the rapid deterioration of historic cemeteries in Florida.  During the first year the Northeast Regional Center of FPAN collaborated with community partners to conduct CRPT workshops in each of its seven counties.  CRPT has now expanded to over 20 cities across the state.  Workshop participants learn to view cemeteries as outdoor museums in their community through morning and afternoon sessions.  The morning session focuses on: cemeteries as archaeological sites, laws that protect cemeteries as well as the people who care for cemeteries, the importance of survey and recording, and examples of cemetery projects within the community.  The second session puts theory to practice with hands-on landscape assessment, headstone cleaning, and recording in a local cemetery.  This paper will assess CRPT as a c co-creative public archaeology program and discuss its relevance to the participating communities.

Building Capacity for Co-created Digital Moviemaking in Youth Programs – Teresa Moyer (National Park Service) – The Urban Archeology Corps is a National Park Service work program that invites youth to reflect on archeological stewardship through digital moviemaking. Youth from communities surrounding the Anacostia River watershed engage in interdisciplinary research with the end goal of individually crafting a short film about their experiences. Especial emphasis is placed on connecting the stories that go untold in the national parks with the youth and local people. This paper is a case study in building capacity in youth programs for co-created digital products that enable the National Park Service and the communities it serves to share in archeological stewardship.

Engaging and Empowering Citizen Archaeologists through the Co-Creative Process: A Case Study Involving the Oklahoma Anthropological Society – Holly Andrew & Bonnie Pitblado (University of Oklahoma) – Like many avocational archaeological groups across the nation, the Oklahoma Anthropological Society (OAS) has struggled in recent years to meet the needs and interests of community members.  To address this challenge, in spring 2013, OAS leadership requested our help to revitalize the group’s membership and its recently shelved archaeological certification program.  To ensure a co-creative approach to the reshaping of OAS, our approach to providing assistance began with an ethnographic study of the OAS membership—using methods including participant observation, individual interviews, and survey administration—to establish member values and goals.  We then compiled these data and used them to develop concrete proposals for a revised OAS certification program and for reaching out to a broader cross-section of Oklahoma citizens than had traditionally been the case.  Finally, we offered the proposals back to OAS membership for comments and suggestions for improvement, and revised the ideas accordingly.  Our paper overviews the methods and results of this collaboration between professional and avocational archaeologists and reflects upon the success of our co-creative effort to improve public archaeology programs and educational opportunities in the state of Oklahoma.

Transforming Metal Detectorists into Citizen Scientists – Matthew Reeves (James Madison’s Montpelier) – In 2012, the Archaeology Department at James Madison’s Montpelier began an experimental program with Minelab Americas to encourage metal detectorists to become more involved in the scientific process of archaeological research. Specifically, the program was designed to be a week-long experience where archaeologists and metal detectorists would work together to identify and preserve archaeological sites at the 2700-acre Montpelier property.  In the process, the metal detector participants were taught the importance of site preservation through background lectures and detailed information on how the survey methods they employ during the week with their metal detectors ensure minimal disturbance of the site while identifying enough information regarding the site to ensure its preservation. Participants learned how gridded metal detector surveys were conducted and the importance of proper context and curation of recovered objects.  In turn, participants provided feedback on what would enhance the experience to inspire continuing learning and interaction with archaeology in the future. The success of this program led to a new public-set of programs that are held three times per year and are open to the public. Having previous participants recommend this program to their friends and community members has been integral to the success of the programs.

Approaching sustainable public archaeology on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile): education, conservation, research, and tourism – Britton Shepardson (Terevaka.net Archaeological Outreach) and Beno Atán (Explora) – Rapa Nui, like many other locations rich with archaeological heritage, poses extreme risks and potential when attempting to combine cultural conservation with tourism.  After ten years of work on Easter Island, Terevaka.net Archaeological Outreach (TAO) has developed a program to provide tourists, hotels, archaeologists, and conservationists with a vested interested in the education of high school students local to the island.  Our 2013 project sheds light on both a recipe for success in sustainable archaeology on the island and our shortcomings in reaching the goals of all participating organizations.

Turning Privies into Class Projects – Kimberley Popetz (Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum) – What would happen if we gave a group of high school students the opportunity to act as archaeologists and curators with a real archaeological collection? Would they benefit from the experience? Would we? And what about the rest of the community? Could they derive some benefit from the project as well? We decided to find out. Students worked with a collection of artifacts that was excavated more than 30 years ago, turning it into an exhibit for the public. If you’re contemplating a similar project, join us to learn what worked and what to avoid.

The Road Goes Ever On and On: Public Archaeology at Teozacoalco – Kenneth Robinson and Stephen L. Whittington (Wake Forest University) – Co-creation in public archaeology can be challenging outside of the United States, particularly when a project provides the first opportunity people have to meet an archaeologist, or even to hear of archaeology. The staff of the Teozacoalco Archaeological Project has been working since 2002 with citizens and authorities of San Pedro Teozacoalco and other small communities to undertake the first archaeological research in a remote part of the Mixteca Alta in Oaxaca. The project is attempting to collect data and respond to the desires of rural communities while negotiating regulations and politics at local, national, and international levels.

Discussant – Carol McDavid (Community Archaeology Research Institute, Inc.
& Rice University)

Co-Creation from Hualcayan to Memphis

festival

Community residents examine artifacts from this season’s excavations in the “pop-up” museum at the First Annual Cultural Festival of Hualcayán.

I have blogged before about the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológico Regional Ancash (PIARA) community outreach program in Peru.  This week I have the opportunity to participate and experience the program firsthand.  As well, this week PIARA Directors Rebecca Bria and Elizabeth Cruzado Carranza, and I are discussing collaborative projects that can involve PIARA, the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, and the University of Memphis Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program.  We envision that these multiple agencies can participate in the co-creation of cultural heritage opportunities with the Hualcayán village and archaeological site.  We are discussing projects that can align with the missions of all agencies involved.

Hualcayán is located at 3150 masl in the Province of Huaylas, Department of Ancash, Peru flanked by the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra Mountain ranges in the Callejón de Huaylas valley.  The village is a rural agricultural community located in the midst of archaeological sites that span the last 4000 years of human history in the region.  Although there is a small museum in the nearby city of Caraz, the region’s cultural heritage is not promoted to its potential and archaeological sites are not protected.  In terms of tourism, Caraz and Hualcayán are viewed by most visitors as brief stopovers on their way to adventure tourism and trekking opportunities to lagoons and glacial peaks in the Parque Nacional Huascarán.

As discussed in the previous blog post, PIARA’s perspective on the cultural heritage development is in line with a co-creative participatory process with the community.  In fact, one of the reasons for the close fit for potential PIARA and C.H. Nash Museum collaborative efforts is the common perspective toward cultural heritage development of the two agencies.  Both institutions operate in communities that are generally considered underserved.  In the past few years, both organizations embarked on long-term programs of community engagement and empowerment through cultural heritage development.  As well, both organizations are situated in rich environs of cultural heritage resources.

Another important similarity is that both organizations have spent the past several years laying the groundwork for collaboration with their respective communities.  At the C.H. Nash Museum, that work is summarized in a recent article.  At PIARA that collaboration operates in a very similar manner.  For example, this past Saturday, August 3, PIARA was the initiator and co-sponsor along with the Universidad Nacional Ancash – Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo and the Provincial Municipality of Huaylas of the First Annual Cultural Festival of Hualcayán.  The Festival included visits to the ongoing archaeological excavations in Hualcayán, display of excavated cultural materials, the inauguration of the community library funded and built by PIARA, regional dances, local food, and much more.

As with the recent community outreach projects at the C.H. Nash Museum, the Festival of Hualcayán could not have happened without PIARA’s previous years of community engagement.  That is, without the consistent community outreach by PIARA and engagement over the past several years, there would not have been the collaborative basis on which to build and inspire the Cultural Festival.  PIARA views the Festival as a node on a continuum of community outreach and engagement.  As at the C.H. Nash Museum, the direction of that outreach and engagement for PIARA will continue to develop as a co-creative process with the Hualcayan community.  For example, as posted previously, this summer C.H. Nash Museum intern Lyndsey Pender created the Southwest Memphis Cultural Heritage website only after discussions and collaboration with community residents.  Although the broad parameters of website development were set, the precise future content will be based in community discussions and input.  The dialogue with PIARA and the Hualcayán community continues along on a similar plane.

Which brings me to one of my favorite preaching points – community relevance.  As small institutions, both the C.H. Nash Museum and PIARA are gaining traction, growing, and now receive exponentially greater community support than in the past.  The increased support results because they approach their work in cultural heritage resource management from a perspective that prioritizes not just the co-creative process, but also is based in an approach that is relevant to the community in which they serve.

Co-creation as a Process, not an Event

Veterans Honor

The second of two banners presented by Delta 9 Team of AmeriCorps NCCC at September 11, 2012 Remembrance Day event at the Charles Powell Community Center in Southwest Memphis.

Three years ago at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa we began a co-created exhibit process on the African-American Cultural Heritage of the community surrounding the museum.  A Strengthening Communities Initiative grant funded the initial phase of the work.  I have posted before about the project.  A recent article published in Museums and Social Issues summarizes that work and subsequent related projects.  This summer we have taken another step in the co-creation of the exhibit initially created and installed by area high school students in the summer of 2010.

For the past year we discussed digitizing the 2010 exhibit.  A goal was to create a website with the digitized content to use as a resource for presenting and collecting more information on the cultural heritage of the community.  This past spring I was approached by a community resident, Lyndsey Pender, who is also an undergraduate in anthropology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.  Lyndsey asked if there was a summer internship opportunity at the C.H. Nash Museum.  We quickly settled on a project where she would digitize the exhibit and create the website.  That story is told here.

We are fortunate that Lyndsey, as a community resident, is taking on the project.  Yet the broader representation of the community in the process is critical.  Thus far, Lyndsey and museum staff participated in three formal meetings with representatives and/or the general membership of the Westwood Neighborhood Association to discuss the next steps.  Besides overall content, the meetings addressed issues such as maintenance of the website, the relationship of the website to the C.H. Nash Museum, and the curation of future content.  As with the initial exhibit created in 2010, the Museum Staff is committed to providing the logistical support for sustaining the African-American Cultural Heritage in Southwest Memphis website, and will cross-link through the Museum’s website and other social media outlets.  However, the scope of the content will rest on the decisions of the Southwest Memphis community.

At the Westwood Neighborhood Association meeting this past Saturday, community residents in attendance provided a host of suggestions and submissions for the website.  Ms. Olar Hughes presented a 10-page document she and other residents created on the history of the Westwood Community.  On September 11, 2012 the AmeriCorps NCCC Team working in Westwood presented banners celebrating the contributions of military veterans from the community.  Since that presentation, community residents have submitted additional Veteran photos.  On Saturday, we discussed creating a page on the website that would contain a slide show honoring all the veterans.
Participants in the Saturday meeting recognized the valuable role that the website could play in the community schools where information on neighborhood history is scant.  We envision that high school and younger students will be able to use and add to the website over the course of their studies.  Lyndsey will finish her work this summer by creating quizzes and a virtual scavenger hunt based on the website to be used in the schools.

The above processes directly address concerns often expressed around the lack of direct community engagement in museums.  The appropriate mantra in recognizing the solution seems to be it’s a “process not event” in co-creating with museum partners.  That is, today our museum staff and Westwood community residents see tremendous potential in the African-American Cultural Heritage in Southwest Memphis website.  However, the discussion at this past Saturday’s community meeting could not have occurred, had we not gone through the past four years of co-creation.

How do you envision co-creation in your museum?

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