Reflecting on evaluation in public archaeology

Kate Ellenberger, Lorna-Jane Richardson


As heritage professionals, our community-facing projects are embedded in the politics of cultural heritage, and reverberate throughout the communities where we work. The only way to know if archaeological outreach and community engagement are working is to ask stakeholders. Yet undertaking formal evaluation is difficult, with differing expectations and definitions of success, depending on the requirements of funders, the willingness of the participants, and the needs of the practitioners. What do we mean when we discuss successful progress and outcomes for public engagement with archaeology, and how do we analyse these? Are we working towards assessments of our own satisfaction with work done, the satisfaction of the dominant political forms of cultural value, the formal procedures of our funding streams, or the experiential and educational needs of the non-professional with whom we engage?


public archaeology; evaluation; public engagement; digital technologies; heritage; communication

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