by Felipe Criado-Boado, EAA President, on the behalf of EAA Executive Board and Committees (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2017 was a great year for the EAA. We had a superb Annual Meeting in Maastricht based on the principle of ‘building bridges’. We have received a truly wonderful response from members to the call for sessions for the Barcelona 2018 Annual Meeting to ‘reflect futures,’ and many of the proposed sessions have offered provocative perspectives that address this theme.
As I see it, this is the best EAA news from 2017: when the situation in Barcelona and Catalonia began to appear potentially problematic over the last few months, our membership showed their trust, support and interest in our Annual Meeting, and reacted by offering the highest number of sessions (275) in the history of the EAA (almost 25 years now). This is partly a result of the excellent work that the Organising Committee (Marga Díaz-Andreu, Sandra Montón and Raquel Pique), the local PCO, the Scientific and Advisory Committees and our own Secretariat (that for the first time is running the registration process from Prague, despite many of you will not have even realized!), are doing. But this response from members also says something about the type of organization we are, the type of values we endorse, and the type of work we do, even when these may have different meanings for each of us, and gives us great pride to be a part of the EAA.
In my first address as president at TEA 47, exactly two years ago, I emphasized that Archaeology as a discipline, and archaeological practices at the level of each of us as individual practitioners, has to be concerned with the big issues of Humanity, those that provide insights into what it means to be human: our relationship with the environment, sustainability, mobility, memory, tradition, community, identity, consciousness, action, and the like. The current dynamism of our Annual Meetings has always promoted these types of reflections. In the years to come, we must underpin these reflections and, moreover, facilitate putting them into practice and becoming EAA policies, as statements, recommendations, working guidelines or codes.
We started from Maastricht by condensing this intellectual ambition in a precise motto for the Annual Meeting, and this is something that we will keep doing. We all know that reality cannot be summarized in a single lemma, and thought is not just embedded in a single sentence. But it helps. When the situation in Barcelona seemed to be on the verge of becoming a real problem, I am sure that it helped that we were going to the Annual Meeting in the city with the idea of “reflecting futures”. This is something that would not only have encouraged any current members of the EAA, but also any archaeologists and other related or interested individuals and bodies in Europe and beyond, to actively take part in what promises to be a superb setting for an exciting conference.
Barcelona has been an urban laboratory since the high Medieval Ages: a place of diversity, a backdrop for processes on multiple scales that reflect different ways of constructing the future, a city with a long experience of urban life and social innovations. From the prehistory of Modernity through to Upper Modernity, the urban space of Barcelona has reflected the rising Modern order, the subsequent modern disorder, struggles for workers’ rights, modernist social identities, and alternative ways of living. If you examine the history of Barcelona, you will realize that it is a city that has constantly reinvented itself. The early industrial era, the periods of strife such as the Tragic Week of 1909 and May Day of 1937, the Spanish Civil War, the transition to democracy, the 1992 Olympics, and the present day, when Barcelona is experiencing highly interesting new ways of reclaiming the city for its citizens, have all been reflected in its urban layout, and in the way that it is continually taking shape.
As a result, Barcelona offers a reflection of our future pasts, much in the way that archaeology does: our profession consists of the ability to reflect on how the future comes into existence. But we also need to have the power to prototype the future. Barcelona 2018 (the 24th Annual Meeting of the EAA, shortly before commemorating our 25th anniversary) is the ideal setting for the EAA to further its ability to reflect the past, in order to be able to reflect about the future. We will use 2018 to apply and develop the strategic decisions reached at the Maastricht AMBM, and will present them to members for your discussion and approval.
In this respect, there are lots of other issues in the pipeline, and I cannot go into all of them in any real detail. Here are just a few outlines:
All of you will already know that 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. This is an important event to foster the mutual engagement between heritage and public and between Archaeology and heritage. The EAA was recognized as one of the stakeholders of the EYCH. Because of this, you need to know that the EAA can award the EYCH label for any initiative that our members, or others, plan. Just follow the guidelines that have been posted on our website.
This TEA is full of news and initiatives, including details about TEA publishing policies and other. These are mainly intended to foster the engagement between you as members and what the EAA officially does. So please let us know about any news that was relevant for you. We want to use EAA media (either the TEA, the web or social media) to share news about Archaeology and our members that is significant for a wider audience.
Finally, it is with great pride that we start 2018 with three new Corporate Members: Kiel Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Salisbury Régészeti Kft., and the Prehistoric Society. We welcome and warmly thank these institutions for their support. Having being personally involved in the process, I must acknowledge the clear vision of Johannes Mueller and Alex Gibson to take this important step. As in other respects, it is also within my scope to foster the contribution and visibility of our Corporate Members in terms of EAA performance, as much as I am also looking forward to encouraging many other esteemed institutions and entities to become new Corporate Members.
On behalf of the EAA Officers, the Executive Board, the Secretariat, and all the Committees and Communities,
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