As individuals and as part of a wider community of archaeologists here at Oxford we acknowledge our own position within current global events. The instinctive worldwide outcry in response to George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests urge us to re-examine the way we as human beings, as well as academics, approach everything we do and represent. Taking a stand for values of inclusivity and fairness is a continual process. Our discipline, like many others, shares a complex history with race. In the silence of isolation enforced by this pandemic, we have the opportunity to listen carefully to voices both within and without our discipline.
Members of our School offer a wide range of experiences, skills and inspired ideas for challenging discrimination, which we will continue to draw on and develop. As a discipline we study the cultural destruction, dispossession and death wrought by colonialism, but also the many other instances in which cultural encounter was a source of creativity. We have begun collaborating with programmes working with BAME high school students in Hackney, London and this summer we are running our UNIQ summer school online. These are significant but small steps; we know we can do much more both to diversify our School and our own research.
We remain grateful for your suggestions as to how we can maintain momentum and promote positive change.