Thanks to receiving some funding from the Research Development Fund I was recently able to give a paper at the World Archaeological Inter-Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana. The title of the conference was ‘Indigenous Peoples and Museums’ and was attended by archaeologists, anthropologists and people from indigenous populations from America, Canada, New Zealand and South America.
The title of my paper was ‘Trash or Treasure? Including social exclusion in museums.’ My research into the heritage of contemporary homelessness might have seemed, at first glance, out of place among papers concerning the repatriation of human remains and the need for sensitivity when interpreting sites of religious and cultural significance. But there were many parallels to be drawn in terms of collaborating with local communities and including everyone in the on-going process of defining and managing cultural heritage.
I was also able to meet and share research notes with Dr Larry Zimmerman, Professor
of Anthropology and Museum Studies at the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and his student Courtney Singleton who are the only other people in the world looking at contemporary homelessness archaeologically.