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TAG, day 2

December 16, 2015

Ok, I’m back! I make no promise for coherence and clear headedness but I’m back. Yesterday there was a wood worker demonstrating wood working (as opposed to demonstrating what Julia? Pottery? Flint knapping?) during the lunch break, he warned me he was going to be very noisy and I might like to move our table. I was expecting a chainsaw at the very least, I got really quite excited, chainsaws in an enclosed space? How very Archaos! Sadly, he used hatchets and it really wasn’t that noisy at all. He was, however, very dextrous and produced a large wooden spoon without losing any limbs which is more than I could do. Indeed, I broke the second banner yesterday trying to assemble the damn thing. Thankfully my klutz attempts didn’t injure any passers-by and I managed to stop myself recreating the Basil Fawlty car scene as I got increasingly enraged with my clumsiness and the stupid, stupid piece of stupidness.

That contretemps aside yesterday was very peaceful. Jon and I agreed that I’d sit on the stall while he went to sessions and in return I’d miss today so I could see my children for longer than supper time before heading to London for this Margaret Jones looking at pot(So far I’ve remembered this is what I’m doing, so there’s at least a chance I’ll remember where and when I’m supposed to be there tomorrow.)

It was very quiet on the stall, but then this TAG seemed very quiet all round. Do weigh in if I’m completely wrong, I haven’t been to TAG for years, but it seemed to have fewer sessions and fewer people than I remember. I forgot to ask people about this so I have no idea if I’m just mis-remembering TAGs of my youth as busy places because they were full of the great and the good and these days I’m the same age as the great and the good and know most of them already. This is not to say I don’t get star struck and I’m still rubbish at accepting compliments – a senior archaeologist (Jon says I can’t name him here) came over to tell us how much he enjoyed the blog, I like to think I responded gracefully and coherently but I suspect I blushed and stammered ‘oh, thank you, um, that’s very kind, um, er, um’!

I also got talked to in an avuncular style about how an organisation like HARN can’t rely on the altruism of the members and we need to charge for conferences, membership and possibly have paid staff if we want to expand. Now, those of you who have met me may think that I would respond badly to avuncular gents lecturing me, however, I was definitely gracious this time. Partly because some of what he was saying made sense and are things we need to consider, partly because it’s been years since anyone has spoken to me like I was a naive undergraduate and I found it almost charming, but mainly because I was eating a biscuit and didn’t want to spray him with crumbs.

Other than that I mainly chatted to friends, drank many cups of tea and wondered why my life couldn’t be like this every day. Then I got on a train and came back to the madhouse home. So, still no session reports, but Jon has promised to either post, or send on to me for posting, his thoughts on today’s sessions so there will be some intellectual content here eventually. And, if I manage to get to the book launch tomorrow I will report back anything newsworthy.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Monica Barnes permalink
    December 16, 2015 4:26 pm

    OF COURSE an organization like HARN can rely on the altruism of members. In fact, that’s one of the most appealing things about it–its beautiful minimalism. Why am I so confident about this? Long experience. In 1982 my colleague Dan Sandweiss founded the Northeast Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory. We have met annually ever since. Yep! Thirty-four consecutive years! To see what we’ve accomplished have a look at “Papers Presented at the Northeast Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory (1982-2014)” on my page.

    We meet, as the name implies, at a university or museum somewhere in the Northeastern United States or eastern Canada. We operate like the Latin American fiesta cargo system. That is, a person, or group of people will volunteer their institution as the host venue for a coming year. The hosts are responsible for raising the money to pay for the conference and participants pay absolutely nothing.They are great events and there is often some competition for the honor of sponsoring a meeting.

    We are not alone in this. A similar group in the American Midwest has been holding annual conferences without participants’ fees for even longer.

    By the way, when and where is our next HARN international conference? Of course there will be one, right? David Fleming and I have already started writing our papers.

    Monica Barnes

    P.S. I am enjoying the photo of M U Jones enormously. That’s what it was like — heroic, inspiring, difficult, and with a very determined woman running it all.

    • harngroup permalink*
      December 21, 2015 9:22 pm

      I think the key word there Monica is sponsorship. We need to find some way of funding HARN conferences and workshops and for that we need to raise our profile and for that we need to keep cropping up at other conferences – giving papers, setting up a stall etc – and for that we need funds so that Jon and I (or whomever it is) aren’t having to pay out of our own money, as we did this time. However, these are all things that can be discussed at the next HARN International Conference. We have plans! If all goes according to those plans it will be a miracle but it’ll also be a bigger event and with time dedicated to an AGM or some form of meeting to discuss what we do and how we do it. Watch this space – well, not THIS particular space, obvs, but the website 🙂

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