Yesterday was the Assembling Archaeology conference. This was one of the culminations of the residency which brought together over 35 archaeologists, artists, film media practitioners, social scientists and others to hold a dialogue on the relationships between artists and archaeologists.
The debate was largely mediated through examples of practice though the day was set-up eloquently and incisively by Helen Wickstead who discussed the notion of objectivity in science and the view of art as a discipline from the scientific community. Bob Johnston and myself reviewed the artistic residency and our collaboration at Sheffield. There followed presentations by Paul Evans, Mark Anstee and Simon Callery on their art practices working with archaeologists and at archaeological sites. Paul discussed his sketches made from bone at Cardiff University, Mark his work tagging and delineating the Stonehenge Cursus in partnership with Manchester University, and Simon his Segsbury Project in collaboration with Oxford Archaeology. Antonia Thomas reviewed the Monumental Visions: Art and Archaeology in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site which she initiated in 2009. Angela Piccini discussed her artistic practice as a film artist and the roles of film media.
Various artists contributed showreels of work and Aaron Watson introduced his film Stones from the Sky about Great Langdale’s Neolithic axe factories.
The day successfully provided evidence for inspirational art-archaeology partnerships and interventions, and generated wide-ranging and thought-provoking conversations and discussions. There were some quite challenging questions of speakers and many stimulating contributions from all present.