• Matthew Sanger says:

    You make some critical points here – particularly understanding that the point of communication is not always the end goal, but is often the process itself. It makes me think to how archaeologists often engage in consultations with Native Americans. Too many people go in with a “make or break” attitude where they desperately want everyone to come together in a shared decision that they all find acceptable. This is rarely a possibility – leading some archaeologists to dodge consultations because they know that the end result will be a divided and contentious decision. This is a mistake however, as viewed through the lens you provide where the process is the point – the consultation process is itself important as it is an avenue of discussion, interaction, and appreciation for one another, even if it ends with disagreement. Thanks for the great insights!

    • aburch says:

      Exactly! Communication is a process- sometimes a long process- and anthropologists need to be prepared for that. The idea that “communicating” with a group of people means ending with all parties in agreement is a little ridiculous when you think about it (it’s even more ridiculous if you think that the end product should be that they all agree with YOU). That is never going to happen.
      But engaging in the process of communication, where all participants at least feel heard and have the opportunity to respond, seems like a way to build better, more lasting relationships with interested communities.

  • Thank you for taking the time to put your insight into digital print. I would like to add that we need to pay more attention to the mediums we use to communicate our research. I work in the dreaded CRM industry, but am trying to utilize technology to bridge the gap between archaeology and the interested public and clients (not usually the same thing). If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a carefully constructed 360 3d model worth? I think an increasingly tech savvy public needs more than a half baked PowerPoint.

    • aburch says:

      I agree, Jeremiah.
      Times, they are a changing. Powerpoints alone do not encourage open dialogue (as they are generally one-sided). The mediums used a few years ago to engage the public with anthropology are no longer the most effective means of communication. If anthropologists truly want to begin the process of communicating and engage communities in meaningful discussions, we need to adjust the way we do it, including the way we present information.
      Thanks for reading!

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