ASA1 origin

Student conference

In December 2012, Navid Tomlinson, an undergraduate finalist at the University of York, had the opportunity to attend that year's Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference. There he met Alistair Galt, an undergraduate finalist at the University of Durham. In discussion, they agreed that there was a lack of opportunity for students to present their research orally beyond the written means that The Post Hole student-run journal, based at York, was already providing.

David Altoft and Taryk Welburn, also undergraduate finalists at York, were Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of The Post Hole. Navid shared with them his idea for a student conference at York in June 2013, and together the three of them made all the arrangements for it to take place.

Conference series

David quickly envisaged that the conference could have a long and influential history ahead of it and be universally representative of students on (at least) a national level if branded as the Annual Student Archaeology (ASA) conference and organised by a committee of students at a different university each year. Whilst all three students were organising the inaugural conference, David also devised the theme it and the subsequent conference series would take - "Developing Integrated Archaeology", which concerns promoting the inclusion of students in a more cohesive discipline of archaeology - and established the branding, website and social media ASA continues to generate a visible presence with today.

Preparation

Navid was responsible for managing the finances of ASA1, which resulted in an impressive £10 registration fee for a large two-day programme (£15 for hostel accommodation included), and Taryk was responsible for organising the tours and online live-streaming of the sessions. All three had the responsibility of selecting paper and poster abstracts, and from which planning the sessions and schedule of the conference.

Moving beyond ASA1

The conference itself was a huge success, though it was even more so considering it was organised in less than five months by three students with no prior experience of conference organisation who had dissertation and other assessment deadlines to contend with. Following ASA1, David continued his involvement with ASA by establishing two committees that could divide the responsibilities for an ever-growing project; an Organising Committee and a National Committee.

He joined the new National Committee, a group of elected student representatives from different universities across the UK. This committee has responsibility for overseeing the general direction of the series by discussing and advertising it, as well as selecting a group of students at a UK university who have bid to become the Organising Committee to host the next ASA conference at their university. The Organising Committee have the responsibility though privilege of preparing and hosting a conference at their university, as Navid, David and Taryk had done for ASA1 at York, except with new ideas and forms of engagement.

In 2013-14 the National Committee comprised of representatives for the Universities of Bournemouth, Cambridge, Durham, Southampton and York, and ASA2 was hosted in June 2014 by the Organising Committee at the University of Reading. Read 'Get involved' to find out how you can join either the National or the Organising Committee and contribute to the future of ASA

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