‘Disrupting paradise’: Changing pedagogy, practice and specialisations into a collaborative venture to ensure Australian archaeology has a future

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Abstract

This year started with the worst bushfires on record in Australia and has been dominated globally by the COVID-19 pandemic where academic institutions in Australia have been hammered by the catastrophic decline in overseas student numbers and an anti-intellectual government funding response to that. In the wake of this, and the Juukan heritage management disaster, it is tempting to believe that we have entered a post-apocalyptic era. Lynley Wallis paints a dystopian picture of what future generations of archaeologists – and their host Aboriginal collaborating communities – have to look forward to: a Mad Max like scenario of increased combative pressure between tribal elements of the discipline (all with increasingly myopic perspectives) on diminishing resources of Bartertown (the Australian Research Council (ARC)). We are forced to contemplate whether research funding could be better distributed in a Thunderdome-style competition, overseen by Aunty Entity, as an alternative to metrics and altmetrics; while hoping that the discipline’s ECRs could be saved by a mentor such as Imperator Furiosa.

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