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Reinventing EXARC, a discussion between members

Roeland Paardekooper (NL)

At the Annual General Meeting in Leiden (NL) in March 2016, about 25 EXARC members discussed future strategies for EXARC. We intend to collect opinions from members throughout 2016 and present a plan at the Annual General Meeting in 2017.

Members expressed their satisfaction with EXARCs current offer and organisation: we should be careful not to lose too much of our present quality. We can be proud of EXARC being a semi-professional organisation. We need to return to our basics and expand them.

EXARC started with archaeological open-air museums and we now have four legs, all revolving around these museums. These legs are experimental archaeology, archaeological open-air museums, ancient technology and interpretation. We are juggling many items and need to satisfy the needs of very different members. We need to explain better how the EXARC mosaic fits together. We can possibly be more active at linking people and museums (twinning).

Reaching out in person

EXARC has 250 members in 40 countries, mostly in Europe although our US presence is getting larger. It is a welcome challenge for EXARC to go worldwide.

Face-to-face contact and hands-on learning are more valuable than online opportunities. We have to meet people around the world and not just send printed matter and digital messages. There are, for example, large primitive technology events where EXARC could be present such as Rabbitstick in the USA.

In several countries (Italy, the UK and the Netherlands) we have enough members to start up a ‘national network of EXARC members’. It will be interesting to see how these develop. We could have national meetings of members on the shoulder of existing events, such as the Paleofestival in Italy.

Students & volunteers

Should EXARC approach students directly? Should we work more with volunteers? They should be included in the existing four legs. Ideas for the experimental archaeology conference EAC10 in Leiden in 2017 are similar to what we did in Dublin (EAC9) where students could learn how to present. We will also include breakout sessions. EAC10 will be a good opportunity to include people from the US too. 

Loose ideas

The EXARC members mentioned many loose ideas. We need to aim to include more videos on the EXARC website.

Open Access should be our standard and an important reason behind turning the bibliography into a repository. We intend to make the Journal fully Open Access.

The accreditation of archaeological open-air museums may be nice, but instead of being a snobbish controlling, it should be a tool to help museums improve. This idea has been mulled over in EXARC for over a decade and maybe we can develop it in the next few years to come.

Overall we heard several good ideas which we hope to realise in the near future. Comments from members and non-members are welcome at the secretariat (info@exarc.net)!

Face-to-face contact and hands-on learning are more valuable than online opportunities. We have to meet people around the world and not just send printed matter and digital messages.
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