blogging-archaeology1111Doug’s Archaeology has posed the following question for this month’s blog carnival ahead of the SAA Blogging Archaeology session:

Where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go?

I am still quite new to blogging but I have used it to do fulfil a number of functions: reporting news on archaeological projects, updates on my role as Honorary Editor for the Royal Archaeological Institute’s Archaeological Journal, discussing conference sessions and public talks, expressing views on sites and museums I have visited and occasionally passing comment on new discoveries and debates in the world of archaeology. This amounts to ten reasons reviewed here.

Where are we going with blogging? Hopefully to many, many different places, integrating blogs into a range of other activities, blurring the boundaries between pure research, applied research, debate, opinion and reportage, and using blogging to expand the remit and impact of academic discourse within desk-based, lab-based and field-based activities.

For me, if I simply continue what I am already doing blog-wise, I will be happy.  However, I also want to do new things as well as hone my blogging on existing areas.

  1. I want to re-engage with video-blogging (vlogging); something pioneered (at least for me) through discussion between me by my then-undergraduate student Joseph Tong as a part of Project Eliseg. We have our own Project Eliseg Media site on Youtube and Facebook where you can see our video blogs from the 2011 and 2012 field seasons. I hope to be able to use this as an alternative way to engage people with my work and with the places and landscapes I am visiting as a part of my research. I am not sure how, but that is my aspiration that in future, as yet unplanned, fieldwork, blogging is utlised as an ideal way to update academics and the public in an honest, sometimes humorous and direct way about my research.
  2. I also want to extend my voice as a public professional through blogging my views on various archaeological and heritage matters. This is a challenge for me, since I tend to be quite reserved in my views until I hit the right topic and then I rant (usually after beer) at all who will listen. Still, I think that there is a potential, without becoming a complete renta-mouth, to occasionally make my views known on museum displays, ongoing debates and various other archaeological and heritage matters. I have already done this and most recently regarding Richard III’s excavation and the Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
  3. The most sensitive and ‘dangerous’ thing to do with blogging is to be explicit and clear in using it to report my latest research observations, insights and interpretations ahead of publication. This is ‘dangerous’ because my ideas and interpretations might be stolen by other researchers, or misused without the full context of the arguments and evidence upon which they are based. Pushing the boundaries in this regard will be something I will be, with necessary caution, exploring in future blogging.

A final point. All of the above requires a supportive troll-free and censor-free environment. I haven’t yet faced the collective venom and wrath of online intellectual subnormals and media morons. In this regard, I remain still naive and optimistic that I can utilise blogging without becoming a target for abuse, threats or unfair controversy. If I aim to continue to feel optimistic, I need the full support of my academic institution, and my status as someone free to express professional opinions without the fear of litigation and censorship. We shall see how this works out, otherwise, I will simply withdraw, close the site, and return to my ivory tower.