This Volunteers Week, hear how the Scottish Student Archaeology Society got student volunteers to organise an archaeology conference in the Year of Young People 2018
In 2018, we organised the first ever Scottish Student Archaeology Society Conference at the University of Glasgow.
Bringing Archaeologists Together
We got the idea for a conference of research after going to the ‘Building History’ event run by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland last year. That weekend, students from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews met in Stirling for two days of classes and fieldwork. Among them were members of the committees of each of the student archaeology societies.
From that weekend we had the idea to create a Society of Scottish Student Archaeologists. The aim was to promote the study of archaeology, and to create a more collaborative and connected discipline by bringing students from across Scotland together at events.
A Conference For Everyone
The first of these was our flagship SSASC 2018 conference. Held this year in Glasgow, the event brought together students from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness, Kirkwall, Dublin and Southampton. It was a celebration of the research done by students and early career researchers into Scotland’s past.
Some of the student team behind the conference, who met at the ‘Building History’ event
Here are three of the lessons we learned that made our conference a success.
1. Have A Varied Programme
We had a great turn out, with over 120 attendees over the two days. Students and invited speakers gave talks on a range of subjects from across Scottish Prehistory, Roman to Early Medieval and Modern Archaeology. There really was something to suit everyone’s interest.
2. Highlight – or Create – Opportunities
We asked many of our partner organisations and supporters, such as Archaeology Scotland, to set up stalls in the venue. This gave attendees an opportunity to see the exciting field schools, training programmes and memberships available to students.
Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy featured at one of the stalls
This conference gave students the chance to do some informal networking, something we don’t often get the chance to do. It also introduced us to the world of presentations and poster-sessions – very important for anyone considering an academic life – in a friendly learning environment.
We also held a competition to find the ‘Best Student Speaker’ in each seminar block. Congratulations once again to winners Claire Christie, Jordyn Marlyn and Eliot Grater!
3. Listen to Feedback
From the feedback we’ve had, the conference seems to have been a great success, so much so that we’ll be setting up an online magazine and fieldwork opportunities hub to build upon this success.