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Decolonisation & BANEA Membership

We recognise that BANEA, as an organisation which has historically represented British archaeologists working in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia (EMSWA), exhibits characteristics of the innate bias which comes with that history. As an organisation, BANEA needs  to better reflect the diverse demographics and concerns of professionals and students engaged in the archaeology and cultural heritage of the region today if it is to remain relevant.  To this end, a subcommittee has been established to address these issues, with its first task being to identify ways in which BANEA, as a representative collective, can proactively decolonise its activities and set an example for the wider discipline and academic community through the provision of information, testimonials, and resources. 


Thus far, the aims and objectives that have been identified by the committee are as follows:  

Broaden representation within BANEA

We are committed to promoting diversity within our organisation, UK academic and museum institutions, and the wider community.

  • We also recognise that scholars from the EMSWA region can face significant challenges to participation in our annual conference – e.g. lack of funding opportunities, visa and travel restrictions, language, etc.  We will work to make our annual conference more accessible, through initiatives such as  expanding the number of scholarship schemes for overseas students, offering virtual conference content,  and encouraging a diverse range of speakers. 

  • Increase BANEA’s visibility and relevance outside of UK based institutions by utilising our website and social media platforms.

  • Reflect on our organisation’s name  with input from the membership

Investigate how British institutions can effectively decolonise

Is bias, both conscious and unconscious addressed in the following areas:  

  • Representation in staffing – does the institution encourage diversity, through their own staff and/or collaboration with others? 

  • In universities: Reading lists – do they reflect the diversity of authorship? Subject modules -   Are there material gaps in the current curricula? 

  • In museums: how are objects presented and labelled? Is there transparency with regards to context, provenance and object history? Are collections accessible? How do collections engage with both the academic community and the public? 

  • In BANEA’s online platforms: Creating an informational hub of content and links on ‘How to decolonise your course/institution/project’. Circulating guidelines to inform on best practice for BANEA members in the field, in the university, and in the museum with regards to inclusion, creating safe spaces, encouraging different voices, etc. (see more below).

Community Guidelines for BANEA members

BANEA is an inclusive community. All are welcome, and to ensure that all are made to feel welcome, we have drawn up a set of broad guidelines which will help us build a representative, positive, and lively organisation. How individuals and institutions go about implementing these is for them to decide according to their own needs, goals, and  relevance to their specific setting. BANEA’s ‘Useful Links’ feature provides access to resources which may be helpful in this regard. 


  • The selection of team members should be as free from bias as possible, and diversity* should be actively encouraged. Strategies to guard against conscious and unconscious bias should be implemented. 

  • All national and international laws concerning the antiquities of the countries in which the team is working should be abided by.  

  • The cultural norms of the host country should be respected by all team members. Everyone should be briefed as to what is expected of them concerning their personal behaviour whilst in the field. 

  • Safeguarding protocols should be devised and implemented to ensure all project members feel safe and supported. 

  • Where applicable, cultural and intellectual copyright of all contributors should be acknowledged and permissions should be sought.  

  • Giving back – Whenever possible, projects should aim to involve the local community, and should leave something of value for them which will last beyond the life of the project.  

*Diversity -  by this we mean not just national, ethnic and religious identity, but also gender, sexuality, age, disability, and social background.  

Image by Clay Banks
Image by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič


  • Diversity in the student and staff population should be actively built. Strategies to guard against conscious and unconscious bias should be implemented. 

  • Safeguarding protocols to ensure all staff and students feel safe and supported should be devised and implemented. 

  • Course content and reading lists should be reviewed to ensure diverse perspectives. The question of  what colonialism  means (both generally and within subject specific contexts), how it works, what are its effects, should be included in course content. 


  • Diversity should be actively built amongst trustees/board members, staff, and volunteers. 

  • Safeguarding protocols should be devised and implemented to ensure all staff, volunteers, researchers and visitors feel safe and supported. 

  • A diverse range of researchers and visitors through outreach programmes, school’s materials, social media, etc. 

  • Exhibitions and displays should aim to be honest about colonial issues attached to the material on display – These should interrogate how objects  were acquired, how they have been interpreted and by whom, and how this is changing as new voices and new stories are increasingly being heard. This process should involve local agencies and incorporate them into the story telling. 

  • Wherever you are - Keep your hands to yourself!  

Image by Martin Péchy
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