Challenges in UK Archaeological Capacity: Opportunities for sustainable growth

Friday 24th June, Merchant Adventurers Hall York

The recovery in the construction market together with plans for large scale investment in infrastructure present the archaeology sector with opportunities for growth over the next 5 to 10 years. The challenge is to how to grow capacity and capability in ways that are sustainable, both in terms of the quality of research output and business performance.

This years FAME Forum takes a broad view across England, Wales, Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland to take the temperature of the individual markets, and better understand what the prospects are for commercial archaeology within the context of government policy and development plans.

Speakers will also look at different ways of managing capacity issues; a client perspective on a single large project, a business consultant looking at how individual suppliers can respond, and the CIfA will provide the latest update on options for recruitment, training and staff development.

This year’s FAME Forum will bring together senior practitioners to ask 

  • What is the scale and nature of the capacity challenge facing the sector?
  • How are changes in demand likely to differ regionally across the UK and Ireland.?
  • How will changes to legislation and within national heritage agencies in Wales and Scotland effect commercial archaeology?
  • What lessons can be learned form earlier phases of major infrastructure investment in Ireland?
  • How big is HS2 and what are the detailed plans for delivering archaeology?
  • How can individual organisations build sustainable business models that deliver on both archaeological quality and healthy returns?
  • Have we finally learned to love staff development?


  • Admission is free to FAME members and £85 to non-members, including lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea.
  • Tickets must be booked in advance on the attached booking form.
  • If you apply to join FAME, you will be entitled to free admission – an immediate saving of up to £170.
  • The Forum is supported by York Archaeological Trust, and admission to the Forum provides free entry to the Trust’s many visitor attractions including DIG, Barley Hall, the Richard III experience at Monk Bar, and the Henry VII experience at Micklegate, throughout the weekend.
  • Also note: the AGM (for FAME members only) will be held at 5pm on Thursday 23rd June, at Barley Hall, followed by a wine reception from 6-8pm.

Provisional Programme 

9.30 Coffee

9.45 Welcome and introduction 

Nick Shepherd, Chief Executive, FAME
Terry Suthers, MBE Chairman,York Archaeological Trust

10.00 Development, skills and capacity; the view from Historic England
Bob Hook, Historic Environment Analyst, Historic England

10.30 Managing major infrastructure in the Republic of Ireland
Ronan Swann, Head of Archaeology and Heritage, Transport Infrastructure Ireland

11.00 Coffee 

11.30 Wales –new structures and opportunities
Neil Maylin, Senior Heritage Environment Planning Officer CADW

12.00 Scotland –new structures and opportunities

Rebecca Jones, Head of Archaeology, Historic Environment Scotland

12.30 Questions and discussion

13.00 Buffet lunch 

14.00 HS2: planning for delivery

Helen Glass, Historic Environment Lead, HS2

14.30 Growing pains: strategies to enhance quality and the bottom line

Christopher Dore, Chief Executive, Heritage Business International

15.00 Time to get serious about staff development

Kate Geary, Standards Development Manager, CIfA

15.30 Questions and discussion 15.45 Tea and close

The Booking Form for this event will be up and running within the next week and will be posted to all members.