Large-scale – Caerleon Archaeology Activities
Caerleon Open Weekend
Archaeologists from the University have spent a number of years researching a significant Roman site in Caerleon, making ground-breaking discoveries which have changed the way we think about Roman settlement in Britain. From the outset the team wanted to engage the local community with the research and to share their findings with local people.
The research team enlisted the help of the Community Engagement Team and the Roman Legion Museum, who together developed a programme of activities to allow the public to find out more about the site. For the first couple of years there were scheduled tours of the dig site and displays of finds from the trenches. These proved extremely popular and it was clear that there was a real appetite from the public to find out more. In 2010 and 2011 the team built on the success of the tours and held open weekends over the August bank holiday which both attracted over 1500 visitors for activities ranging from pot making and Roman cooking demonstrations, to mini-digs and Roman dressing up for children.
The research team also kept momentum up between digs by giving talks and lectures, attending the Caerleon Arts Festival and by providing Roman themed craft activities to local primary schools.
Digging at the site has now halted while the team examine and research their findings but if further digs take place then they will benefit from the support and input of local people who have been engaged and involved with the process from the start.
Small-scale – Picnics, receptions and signings
Picnics, receptions and signings
Be creative and keep an open mind as to how to engage with the public. One example of a smaller special event was the National Family Day picnic organised by the School of Psychology’s Child Development team. The event tied into a national awareness day, but built on that to include a programme of development-related activities for the families that attended. The real success of the day was that not only did the target audience attend and enjoy the event, they also learned something about the work of the team.
Other examples of special events might be receptions, informal talks, film-showings, book-signings – in fact anything that brings people together – but think carefully about what your aims are, and whether or not the format you choose is going to deliver them.