Kenneth Aitchison

Profile

Biography

Kenneth Aitchison obtained his first degree in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh in 1992 (MA Hons). He then worked in field archaeology in Scotland, France, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Israel before taking an MA in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Sheffield on a part-time basis, which he received (with distinctions) in 1998.

Career

During his time studying in Sheffield he directed the concluding season of excavations at the Porte du Rebout, mont Beuvray (Bibracte) and established his own company, Landward Archaeology, which carried out fieldwork and heritage management research. One of the company’s first projects was Profiling the Profession, the first comprehensive labour market intelligence survey of British archaeology (published 1999). In 2000 Landward Archaeology became dormant when he took up a post at Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield (ARCUS). In 2001 he moved on again, to start work for the Institute of Field Archaeologists (later the Institute for Archaeologists) in the post of Head of Training and Standards, a position which subsequently evolved to become the Head of Projects and Professional Development. He left the IfA in 2010, and revived and renamed his own company as Landward Research Ltd, now constituted as a social enterprise which works with employers, individuals and heritage agencies to design and manage training and research projects that deliver social, environmental and economic benefits.

Publications

Selected publications

  • Aitchison, K., forthcoming, ‘No going back – remembering when British archaeology changed forever” in J. Jameson & J. Eogan (eds), Training and Practice for Modern Day Archaeologists.
  • Schlanger, N. & Aitchison, K. (eds), 2010, Archaeology and the Global Economic Crisis: multiple impacts, possible solutions
  • Aitchison, K., 2009, ‘After the “gold rush”: global archaeology in 2009’, World Archaeology 41(4), 659-671.
  • Aitchison, K., 2009, ‘Archaeology and Construction Engineering Skills: developing e-learning for two sectors’, in van Londen, H., Kok, M.S.M & Marciniak, A. (eds) E-learning Archaeology, Theory and Practice, 162-170. University of Amsterdam: Amsterdam.
  • Aitchison, K., 2009, ‘Archaeology and the global financial crisis’, Antiquity 83/319.
  • Aitchison, K. 2009, Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe: Transnational Report.
  • Aitchison, K. & Edwards, R., 2008, Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 2007-08
  • Aitchison, K., 2007, ‘Ethical issues in European professional archaeology’, Public Archaeology 6/2, 116-123.
  • Aitchison, K., 2006, ‘What is the value of an archaeology degree?’ Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 27, 4-12, 25-27.
  • Aitchison, K. & Giles, M., 2006, Guides for Teaching and Learning in Archaeology, Number 4: Employability and Curriculum Design. Higher Education Academy. 
  • Aitchison, K., 2004, ‘Supply, demand and a failure of understanding: addressing the culture clash between archaeologists’ expectations for training and employment in “academia” versus “practice”’, World Archaeology 36(2), 203-219.
  • Aitchison, K., 2001 [2000], ‘The funding of professional archaeological practice in England’, Cultural Trends 39, 1-32.

Research

Overview

An ongoing research theme has been in gathering and assessing labour market intelligence for the archaeological and cultural heritage sectors, obtaining snapshot data from employers and individual practitioners that can be used to guide decisions by those individuals, employers and policy makers about the future shape of the sector. I led three major UK-wide research projects gathering information about employment in archaeology, collecting data a five-yearly intervals from 1997-2007, which I then submitted for my PhD by research publications. These data-rich publications were accompanied by an account of how archaeological employment had developed in the UK, focussing on the period from 1990-2010. I am intending to publish this account as a standalone book by the end of 2011.

Having done so much work on the changing shape of the profession, I have also developed a detailed understanding of how the global economic crisis is affecting archaeology in the UK and worldwide, and have worked with colleagues on conference sessions and publications looking at this.

I am very interested in the application of different models of archaeological heritage management, particularly in commercialisation as a process and the application of entrepreneurial ideas within heritage management and how this can contribute to the employability of individuals.

I also have enduring interests in the late Iron Age in Europe, the archaeology of the industrial transition and integrated landscape research, particularly in the understanding and application of landscape research to the urban weave.

Projects

I am developing a pan-European project, Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2012-14, which will build upon a previous exercise carried out between 2006 and 2008 which collected labour market intelligence for twelve European states. I am also gathering information on the state of the archaeological market in the UK for the Institute for Archaeologists and FAME, the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers. E-Learning is another area where I have active interests, particularly in how vocational, skills-based training can be delivered online. I am currently working with partners from six European states on a project led by the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Vocational training system in archaeological heritage based upon e-learning resources. In both 2010 and 2011 I have been invited to Brussels to work for the European Commission as an n expert Assessor, judging applications to the Culture Programme fund.

Teaching

Undergraduate

First year



Second year



Third year



External activities

Memberships

Executive Director, Landward Research Ltd

Member of the Institute for Archaeologists

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Accredited Lobbyist to the European Parliament

Chair, Committee on Professional Associations in Archaeology of the European

Association of Archaeologists

Council Member (Trustee), South Yorkshire Industrial History Society

Committee Member, Scottish Group of the Institute for Archaeologists

Committee Member, Professional Development and Practice Committee of the Institute for Archaeologists

Editorial duties

Editorial Board Member, Research in Archaeological Education

Editorial Board Member, Historic Environment: Policy and Practice

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Contact details

Kenneth Aitchison