Archive for the ‘News & Analysis’ Category

Someone has heard an anonymous would-be museum worker’s plea to colleagues to ‘stop pretending there are jobs when there aren’t’ and asked,

Can someone who has either worked or who is working in the Heritage sector give me some advice and a straight answer – I have just been accepted to start my MA in Sept for Heritage Management and secured a part time voluntary position with National Trust but despite this – I feel there isn’t enough or any at all full time positions available in this sector???


Hyperallergic has published my update on the threatened hunger strike of cultural workers in Turkey. Thankfully, the government made last-minute concessions and the Association of Culture and Art Workers (Kültür Sanat Emekçileri Derneği) called off the strike. But if the concessions are not realised, the strike is back on, on the 18th of May 2015.

As I note in the article, the resistance (direniş) is ‘organising primarily around the hashtags #arkeologistihdamı (archaeologists’ employment), #sanattarihcilerkadrolarınınpeşinde (in pursuit of positions for art historians), and #arkeologlarvesanattarihcileraçlıkgrevinde (archaeologists and art historians are on hunger strike), though other telling ones are emerging, such as #duyunartıkbugençlerinsesini (hear these youths’ voice now)’.

Hyperallergic have just published my news report on cultural heritage workers’ imminent hunger strike in Turkey. As I explain in the article, if the government does not show any sign of increasing cultural sector employment, at 1pm on the 9th of November, those workers (1) will begin to starve themselves in protest. Next, I’m going to try to explore the connections between archaeologists’ resistance, the Gezi Uprising and the policing of antiquities trafficking.

Word is spreading (update, 30th October 2014)

The Art Media Agency (AMA), artnet news and Arts Journal have picked up the story from Hyperallergic.


1: They are members of the Association of Culture and Art Workers, also known as Culture and Art Workers: the Association of Museum Employees, Archaeologists, Art Historians, Restorers and Visual Artists (Kültür Sanat Emekçileri Derneği (KSED) – Kültür Sanat Emekçileri; Müzeciler, Arkeologlar, Sanat Tarihçiler, Restoratörler ve Görsel Sanatçılar Derneği).

I’ve got better things to do with my time than deal with this ridiculous bullshit (with which Doug Rocks-Macqueen @OpenAccessArch kindly infuriated me), so I’m going to be blunt. As Doug says, it is a new low – and that’s for the National Trust, which invented the Assistant Manager Intern.

There is no such thing as a “Cider and Apple Intern”, National Trust. That is manual labour, outdoors, in winter. Even the farms that exploit migrant seasonal workers pay them – but, of course, this ‘role is purely voluntary and this arrangement is not meant to be a legally binding one or an employment contract’.

Maney Archaeology (@ManeyArchaeo) has advertised Maney’s (general) Leeds Graduate Internship Programme (ideally, in humanities publishing) and London Graduate Internship Programme (ideally, in science publishing).(1) I couldn’t immediately find Maney’s profit margin; but, for example, Elsevier makes 36% pure profit; and academic publishers in general are estimated to make about 20-30%; yet Maney’s interns are unpaid.

An extortionist, who targeted archaeologists through their work, has been imprisoned for six-and-a-half years. The Mikolayev/Nikolaev District Court had previously convicted him of (and put him on probation for) ‘fraud [мошенничество]’. On the 29th of April 2014, the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction and sentence, which reflected the extortion and the violation of the conditions of his probation. This is not related to the crisis.

Over on Conflict Antiquities, I’ve put up a note on the (open) question of how to acknowledge and/or protect public sources, who might be persecuted for statements on social media, and who might delete those statements in order to protect themselves. The problem is more one of unfree archaeology, so I’m not entirely sure why it’s over there, but there it is (in both senses).

There has been a call for action for archaeologists’ employment (arkeolog istihdamı için eylem çağrısı). Archaeologists in Turkey will meet outside the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Ankara at 2pm on the 5th of May.

call for action for archaeologists' employment (arkeolog istihdamı için eylem çağrısı)

call for action for archaeologists’ employment (arkeolog istihdamı için eylem çağrısı)

In other news, the Archaeologists’ Union has applied to the Interior Ministry for funding for a Project to Find Ways to Solve the Problem of Employment for Unemployed Archaeologists and to Increase Public Awareness of Our Cultural Heritage (İşsiz Arkeologların İstihdam Sorununa Çözüm Yolları Bulmak ve Toplumda Kültür Varlıklarımızın Farkındalığının Artırılması Projesi).

Ukrainian cultural worker Leonid Liptuga and sculptor Oleg Chernoivanov have built a monument to museum workers who, ‘despite the low wages and low prestige of their profession, remain faithful to their work [які попри низьку заробітну плату і невеликий престиж професії, залишаються вірні своїй справі]’. It is a sculpture of a pyramid born aloft by rats. Archaeologist Yakov Gershkovich has been kind enough to explain that they are ‘wise rats‘, which bear ‘an ancient pyramid of knowledge’, and their young.(1)

One of the museum’s success stories, BP has given millions of pounds to the BM since 1996, but apparently neither of them can afford to cover the cost of the national minimum wage for the BM’s conservation interns.