In a University setting, Friday can often be a day of catching up, with attempts to carve out some thinking time or at least a chance to focus on tasks with a little less distraction from normal. For me, as an archaeologist who also runs a University Business School based in Suffolk, England, I am using the day to combine the subjects of archaeology and business in a serendipitous way. So far today I have marked a tourism management student’s undergraduate dissertation focused on ‘The economic and cultural impacts currently experienced by the Heart of Neolithic Orkney as a heritage site’, and have also spent an hour discussing a journal paper which I am contributing to with a colleague here at UCS as well as collaborators over in Italy. This paper is exploring the interplay between residents in towns and villages on the Amalfi coast and the World Heritage Site designation which covers the area. Using a web-based survey tool, it has gathered a dataset which we are now exploring to consider the views of citizens on their inter-relationships with the built and natural environment in which they live, ‘official’ bodies associated with conservation management and policy, and tourism and economic development organisations.
Whilst considering the relationships communities have with archaeology in far flung parts of Italy and the Orkneys, my eye is drawn to the office window and the great view I have over the half-finished regeneration project that is the Ipswich Waterfront. Another part of my role at the moment is to help support the development of a co-ordinated tourism strategy for the town as part of a revitalised urban vision, through the creation of a Destination Management Organisation – and archaeology has a key role to play in this: the historic environment and bits of upstanding archaeology are to be seen on the historic quayside and found all over the town. The story of Ipswich is one which can be told readily and engagingly through archaeology with the Anglo-Saxons at its heart, to a thriving mediaeval town and port, to an industrial hub and gradual resurgence as a University town – and there is a strong desire by many in the town to see a celebration of this heritage and an opportunity to provide a visitor experience which could support economic growth and inward investment.