Conference Report – TAG, day 1
Despite the biblical quantities of rain that have been falling on Britain, Jon and I managed to get to Bradford today and set up our HARN stall, complete with biscuitsI think you’ll agree that looks pretty impressive, particularly the biscuits, and look you can’t tell that I broke one of the banners while setting up, sigh. All that’s lacking here are your publications! We need your books and off-prints of articles, we will be in touch about this because I really do think we need to be able to demonstrate what it is we do – see below.
The organisers have given us a splendid spot in the main atrium, we’re opposite Antiquity and Oxford University Press, with Oxbow, BAR and Routledge/Taylor Francis around the corner, and, as if that wasn’t tempting enough, within sight of Blackwell’s Bookshop.
The only drawback is that when they designed the atrium they obviously weren’t thinking of a cold wet day in December – it looks like this
Isn’t that beautiful? But so cold, so very, very cold! Tomorrow I will wear more layers and possibly take a hot water bottle. Jon and I kept having to go for brisk walks around the atrium to warm up. However, we have the table for free, it is in a wonderful location and the TAG organisers are splendidly generous people so I really shouldn’t complain (but, so cold!)
Neither of us went to any sessions today so we missed the debate about the renewability of archaeological resources, but Martyn was there – our man in the field? – and said it was entertaining. The art session was also favourably reviewed by another source, maybe tomorrow we’ll have first-hand reporting on the papers. Today was all about sitting on the stall, smiling at people and enticing them with biscuits to come and talk to us, this had varied results. Now, many years ago I worked in a client facing role (I worked for Oxfam) so I’m fairly immune to the vagaries of the general public, and I know there is no question so inane that someone won’t ask it. However, even I was a little surprised by how many people wandered over, read the banners, picked up the postcards, read those and then asked ‘So, what is it you do?’ We answered politely and helpfully that we were an ecumenical network of researchers interested in all aspects of the history of archaeology. We did not point to the banners and say ‘Duh! What do you think we do?’ because we are professionals, and polite, and helpful, and we had biscuits – the biscuits helped a lot in keeping us polite. It hadn’t been my intention that Jon and I should eat all the biscuits ourselves, but the chocolate helped us remain polite, helpful and professional.
One visitor was very excited until he discovered that we were HARN and not Hârn, which it turns out is a fantasy role-playing game – who knew? We let him have a biscuit to get over his disappointment and he told us all about Lukis visiting the Netherlands, as written about by our own Heather Sebire and here. I’m sure he found it more interesting that fantasy games, really.