Chair’s Report to the AGM
Institute for Archaeologists, Maritime Affairs Group
23rd May 2012, Southampton
This year has been one of transition for MAG. With the arrival of several new members on the Committee (and even a new baby), and new roles for continuing Committee members, as well as a new set of geographical logistics constraining meeting dates and locations, it is fair to say we have faced a few challenges as the Committee becomes established.
This year we have welcomed two new members, Hanna Steyne and Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz. So, as well as myself, the Committee this year has comprised: Graham Scott (Treasurer), Andrea Hamel (Secretary – on maternity leave), Hanna Steyne (Acting Secretary), Dan Atkinson, Mark Littlewood, Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz, and Paola Palma. I would like to begin by thanking the Committee for all their patience and hard work over the last year, and to note the particular support we have received from IfA staff member Tim Howard, who has attended most of our meetings as an observer and provides continually important support as liaison with the IfA office as well as sage advice.
The following list of our activities this year, gives some flavour of the work that the Committee has undertaken on behalf of MAG:
- Representation – The list of committees, forums and meetings MAG is represented on provides a strong sense of the amount of liaison and activities that go on behind the scenes. This year MAG has been represented on the JNAPC (Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee), ALGAO Maritime Group (Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers), the AAF (Archaeological Archives Forum) and of course the IfA Groups’ Forum, as well as maintained links with the ADC (Association of Diving Contractors) through Committee member Graham Scott and the HSE Diving Industry Committee through Ordinary member Mark Dunkley.
- Consultations – This year has been another varied one for policy and government consultations relating to heritage and the marine environment. We have had both a brief lull and a more recent flurry of consultation work. Throughout this period, MAG has been working with the JNAPC in trying to gain clarity from the new Marine Management Organisation on the boundaries and requirements of the new licensing regime for archaeological work in UK waters. In addition, key consultations over the last year have included a number from Scotland concerning the implementation of their new Marine Bill. Key to this strand of the Committee’s work is the support received from Tim Howard in the IfA office.
- Group Activities and Initiatives – The Committee have begun developing two key activities in the last year that they are keen to implement in the future. Planning has begun on a MAG conference III as well as on developing CPD seminars for MAG members. In order to respond to members needs with regard to professional development and to develop a successful, but crucially, useful series of seminars, the Committee will be consulting with members over the coming summer through a membership survey. The Committee is particularly keen to respond to members’ suggestions and develop new activities that serve the membership as part of its work, alongside the less visible consultation and liaison work it already undertakes.
- Group Communication and Web Presence – Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz has taken on the role of Web Officer this year. This involves updating the MAG page on the IfA website, but also (crucially) keeping the MAG Blog (https://ifamag.wordpress.com/ ) up-to-date with key news, conferences and upcoming events. The Blog is becoming our primary form of communication with group members, and we would encourage all of you who have not yet done so to visit the Blog and ‘Subscribe’ to it, so that you’ll receive regular information and updates directly to your chosen email account.
Our routes of communication with the Group will be going through some changes over the next year. We have seen the last MAG Bulletin produced by our long-serving (and suffering) Bulletin editor Mark Littlewood. Since MAG first established the biannual bulletin, there has been an important shift away from newsletter circulars (paper or pdf) as the key form of communication with members towards regularly updated information on the Blog. The Committee has decided, therefore, to move the key elements of the Bulletin, including the autumn fieldwork round-up and the AGM reports onto our Blog, and to wind up the Bulletin. Rodrigo and Mark will be working together on this transition, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for all the time he has put into the Bulletin over the last years. The Committee would also encourage any members who are interested in contributing longer discussion articles or specific news items to the Blog to contact Rodrigo or Mark directly.
This is the last year I will be a part of the Committee, and over the coming weeks and months the Committee will be looking to co-opt a new Chair and to implement many of the initiatives they have mapped out and/or begun over the last year. Personally, I have found my time on the MAG committee greatly rewarding and can whole-heartedly recommend it to any MAG members contemplating it in the future.
Finally, as well as thanking the Committee and Tim Howard for all their time and effort over the last year, I would also like to thank Kathryn Whittington and Alex Llewellyn for their help over the last year. And I am sure we would all like to congratulate our Secretary Andrea on the arrival of her son.