On Saturday 8th October 2011, Mark, Jacko and Rachael left York and headed to Leicester where the Centre for Historical Archaeology was hosting a postgraduate conference at which we spoke. Arriving in Leicester in time to collect two other colleagues from the train station (Andy and Jane), we quickly practised our twenty minute talk in the back of the van before attending the Henry Wellcome Building where we were made very welcome by archaeologist and conference organiser, Emma Dwyer.
This was Jacko and Mark’s first conference as speakers but this didn’t put them off. Jacko talked eloquently about the way in which homelessness is often ‘hidden’ in tourist cities such as York and delighted the audience with tales of his grandfather having been a stone mason who worked on the Minster in York. Mark took questions from the audience and answered with clarity. Jane talked about the role of memory in heritage creation and how sometimes the strangest things (a bottle of gripe water, for example) can remind a person of a painful or glorious part of their life. Andy talked about the intangible barriers that can affect homeless people, for example, low literacy skills or learning difficulties such as dyslexia and also the need for more practical skills training e.g. day to day budgeting, in creating sustainable paths from homelessness to independent living.
We received lots of questions at plenary and enjoyed planning our next phase of fieldwork together, over a well-earned supper!