Discussion Questions

Points for consideration:

Various initiatives launched over the last few years (including the recently-completed, English Heritage-sponsored Visualisation in Archaeology (VIA) project*) have testified to a series of tensions and challenges confronting those who engage with archaeological visualisation. We would like to consider to what extent you find yourself negotiating with these issues, how you’ve worked to manage them, and where you see visualisation practice (in the sense of producing, circulating, receiving, and remixing visual media) taking both archaeologists themselves and archaeological audiences in the future.

  • What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the archaeological visualisation community in the upcoming years?
  • Does the archaeological community embrace or encourage creativity and innovation in (visual) practice? If so, how so? If not, how might these be cultivated?
  • To what extent do existing publication formats constrain or enable visual practice?
  • How can the widespread desire for impressive, impactful visual outputs be balanced with intellectual integrity? Are stunning imagery and rigorous research objectives mutually exclusive?
  • What do we know about archaeology’s viewing audiences? Who is interested in our work? How are they interpreting our outputs? What are they looking for? What inspires them?
  • What is the relationship between ‘new’ and ‘old’ media in archaeology? What are the most powerful visual tools today (new or old) for facilitating archaeological research?
  • How are we training the next generations of archaeological specialists? Should we be concerned about a loss of visual skillsets? How can we equip students to productively make and use visual media?

Our ‘Seeing, Thinking, Doing’ TAG USA session on Friday, 10 May will attend to some of these questions, but we would like to extend the debate beyond the conference itself. With that in mind, we invite anyone to comment below or tweet us on @visualarchaeo with your views on the past, present and future of archaeological visualisation.

Where do we go next? How can we continue to nurture a vibrant community of visual researchers and practitioners in archaeology? Who can we look to for inspiration?

We look forward to hearing your views!

*Link here to 20082009 and 2010 VIA workshop reports.