I’m helping my supervisor Bob Johnston and his colleague & former supervisee Toby Pillat to organise the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology and Theory 2015 (CHAT2015) conference. CHAT2015 will be held at the University of Sheffield from Friday October 30th to Sunday November 1st.

(c) Ian Beesley 2015

The CHAT group was established in February 2003 to provide opportunities for dialogue to develop among researchers in the fields of later historical archaeology and the archaeology of the contemporary world. The group is based in Britain, but encourages international perspectives. It is grounded in archaeology, but promotes interdisciplinary dialogue — from the CHAT website, UCL

I’ve solo-organised a small conference before (the Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioners Workshop, 2009) but this is a different beastie – international delegates, sessions over three days, not to mention multiple venues and sponsorship to be arranged.

So far things are going really well! We’ve got our venues sorted out, including some very cool new and old structures around Sheffield, a programme of archaeological short films, some excellent catering (I am reliably informed that the food is the most important thing) and of course a great range of speakers.

Here are the themes our guest speakers will be exploring over the weekend:

The distinctive perspectives that emerge through the study of how people cooperate and how communities cohere and fragment: for instance, how can we theorise the ‘craft of cooperation’ in ways that account for people’s interactions with landscapes, things and animals?

Case studies in the archaeology, history and sociology of cooperation in the present and recent past, and critical analyses of what happens when cooperation breaks down.

The communities of practice (e.g. interdisciplinary networks, academics/students, universities/public) that come together in researching and learning about the present and recent past.

Although there is no military archaeology as such, there are several talks I’m really looking forward to on the use of contemporary archaeology in dealing with uncomfortable or traumatic heritage.

Registration is open now.