What you need to know to support CIfA advocacy

In the past few weeks, issues relating to threats to higher education institutions and English planning reform have led to a groundswell of archaeological campaigning and advocacy. In this, CIfA members have asked us questions, or commented on social media about how to get involved in wider campaigning.

With over 40,000 people signing the petition to save the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, it is obvious that the archaeological community and public have an enormous voice to bring to bear on archaeological issues.

CIfA is engaged with these and other issues 52 weeks per year, building networks and establishing trust with politicians, civil servants, sector bodies and key bodies beyond the sector, developing policy positions and responding to opportunities, events, and consultations.

Much of this work takes place out of the public eye but thrives when it is supported by the archaeological community & public. We occasionally ask CIfA members to help support our advocacy (You can find information about this on our Advocacy Toolkit page). For instance, last year dozens of CIfA members wrote to their MPs to support CIfA’s briefings on the English Planning White Paper, helping us to secure access to ministers and civil servants to discuss detailed policy proposals.

CIfA is also pleased to support wider efforts to champion archaeology in the media and wider public. To this end, we are working with the CBA, under our Memorandum of Understanding, to support public advocacy and positive news about the profession through the Festival of Archaeology, and we are supportive of the ‘Dig for Archaeology’ campaign which seeks to increase media coverage of these issues.  

Click the links below to see our summaries of four current issues that we think you should know about. 


What can CIfA members do?

In this moment, the archaeological community is energised to support and campaign for archaeology. As CIfA professionals and Registered Organisations you have the knowledge and the experience to champion archaeology to decision-makers and explain the value of archaeology to the economy, the environment, and to society.

We are therefore asking members to write to their constituency MP (and MS, in Wales) to tell them why archaeology matters, and why the issues above need their attention. You can find your local MP here.

You can focus on one or all of the above issues. You don’t need to be an expert or understand the full detail of the policy reform or debates. You can support CIfA’s advocacy simply by telling them why archaeology matters; to you, to your clients, your public audiences, to local place-making, community identity, or local business.

You can tell them about the work that you and professional archaeologists do in the public interest and ask them to consider supporting archaeology in relevant debates on the Planning Bill, Environment Bill, Environmental Impact Assessment, Higher Education funding, and the Welsh Sustainable Farming System.

For more information about writing to your representatives please see our Advocacy Toolkit.

Please forward your letters to us here so that we can record that your MP has been contacted.

If you would like more information or would like to report back from contact you have had with your MP, please contact rob.lennox@archaeologists.net