Institute of Archaeology



The UCL Institute of Archaeology has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality.

Archaeology as a discipline is attractive to all students regardless of gender, and while the student body at the Institute is diverse, work still needs to be done to reflect this better in our staff profile.

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. The Charter is now being used worldwide to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. 

Our Bronze Award affirms that the Institute of Archaeology has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff and students.

The Institute’s submission was initiated by the IoA Women’s Forum in 2016 and developed by the IoA Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team, led by Corisande Fenwick (Lead), Louise Martin and Kelly Trifiló (Deputy Leads) with continuous support from Sue Hamilton and includes representatives from academic, professional, research and teaching staff and undergraduate, postgraduate and research students.

Our action plan focuses on four themes:

  1. Embedding EDI at the heart of the IoA and taking an intersectional approach to equality;
  2. Ensuring a high-performing, gender-balanced student pipeline;
  3. Supporting staff at key career transition points and ensuring gender parity in career progression;
  4. Fostering a working culture which allows all staff and students to achieve their potential.

Key achievements already introduced in response to the Athena SWAN process include:  

  • The establishment of a dedicated EDI Committee to take forward the Athena SWAN Action plan as well as other diversity and equality initiatives.
  • The creation of a new ‘Widening Participation Tutor’ role to address the under-representation of male applicants and those from minority ethnic groups to archaeology.
  • The revision of our Academic and Teaching Staff Workload system.
  • The formalisation of staff mentoring processes and its expansion to staff at all levels.

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In addition to formal Institute of Archaeology committee structures, the Institute's Women's Forum provides an additional platform to support the aims highlighted above and to discuss issues of gender equality and inclusion in a wider sense. The Women's Forum is open to all members of staff and students. To learn more about the initiatives of the Women's Forum contact its current Chair, Claudia Naeser (c.naeser@ucl.ac.uk).