Institute of Archaeology


Statement from the TAG@UCL Organising Committee

Addressing Partnerships (26.11.19)

The TAG@UCL organising committee is grateful to all the individuals and organisations who are actively supporting the TAG@UCL Conference which will take place from Monday 16 - Wednesday 18 December in London. Being inclusive and involving many of the individuals, groups, and partners that we have been working with closely over many decades - including our 15 official TAG partners, who range from the City of London to Rescue - is important to us, and we would like to restate our appreciation and gratitude for their support.

The Institute of Archaeology is pleased to be a participating department in UCL’s recent announcement to divest from fossil fuels by the end of this year as the university launches its bold new sustainability strategy.

It is pledges such as these which enable our united push to ensure we reach net zero carbon targets on top of other global goals. The TAG@UCL organising committee recognise the current climate crisis as an emergency and are currently engaged in making real change within our own Institution.

We recognise that a number of other universities, museums, and galleries represented at TAG continue to receive funding from BP and other fossil fuel companies, and that many organisations are now focusing on divesting from these sponsors. While we encourage influential organisations to move towards a more sustainable framework, we will continue to work with our friends, colleagues and neighbours with certainty that active partnership and collaboration is far more constructive than isolation.

There are many overlapping issues and concerns regarding ethics and sustainability that all organisations are facing. We hope to work together to resolve them through engagement and example, rather than by targeting others. This is the central theme of TAG@UCL. We are proud to have over 50 sessions directly addressing issues of diversity, decolonisation, gender inequality, ethics, and indeed, ‘Power, Knowledge and the Past’.

Contrary to recent tweets, the British Museum is not providing financial support for TAG. BM staff are giving freely of their time so that delegates have an option to visit the exhibition 'Troy - myth and reality' on the Tuesday morning, without charge. We consider the involvement of our partners at the British Museum absolutely vital to national debates over sustainable funding in archaeology and heritage, just as we consider it vital to engage with other institutions that have not yet divested from fossil fuels. Addressing such issues requires broad and inclusive discussion, of exactly the kind we hope to promote at TAG@UCL 2019, far beyond the confines of a 280-character Tweet.

The above statement was amended on 28.11.19

TAG@UCL Organising Committee is a broad group of IoA staff and students, now listed on the conference website. This statement was a response to a request on Twitter for clarification of our partnership with the British Museum. The TAG Organising Committee stand by it, but have removed a quoted tweet from the text (as requested by its author). We take the issues raised very seriously, and welcome the opportunity to debate them further at our forthcoming conference.