Meet the Speakers

Keynote speakers for the conference are Professor Lord Colin Renfrew, Professor Jennifer Wallace, Professor Michael Shanks, artist Kate Whiteford OBE, and artist Julia Sorrell.

Other speakers are Dr Mary Lloyd Jones (Fine Art), Dr Helen Wickstead (Art and Archaeology), Gareth Edwards (RCAHMW), Dr Antonia Thomas (Art and Archaeology), Dr Alan Chamberlain (Computer Science), Dr Brian Graham (Fine Art), Dr Peter Wakelin (Art and Archaeology), Ben Cooley (Hope For Justice), Dr Ffion Reynolds (Cadw), and Meri Huws, Welsh Language Commissioner.

Also taking part are Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Welsh Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport), Christopher Catling (RCAHMW), Professor John Harvey (Aberystwyth University School of Art), Carmen Mills (Aberystwyth University School of Art), Jon Dollery (RCAHMW) and the RCAHMW Archive team.

Professor Colin Renfrew 
(Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn)


Colin Renfrew earned his MA from the University of Cambridge in 1962. A Ph.D followed in 1965. He was then made Lecturer then Reader in Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, before moving to become Professor of Archaeology and Head of Department at the University of Southampton. In 1981 he moved to Cambridge as Disney Professor of Archaeology, and in 1990 became the founding Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, retiring in 2004. He was Master of Jesus College, Cambridge from 1986 to 1997. He was made a Life Peer in 1991. He is currently a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

He is the author of Figuring It Out: What are We? Where do we Come From? The Parallel Visions of Artists and Archaeologists.(London, Thames & Hudson, 2004).


Professor Jennifer Wallace



With a background in both Classics and English Literature, Jennifer Wallace teaches in the faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and is Harris Fellow of Peterhouse. Her publications include Shelley and Greece: Rethinking Romantic Hellenism (1997), Digging the Dirt: The Archaeological Imagination (2004), The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy (2007), The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, 1790-1880 (2015) and a novel, Digging Up Milton (2015).  She is currently finishing a monograph for Bloomsbury, Tragedy since 9/11: Reading a World Out of Joint.


Professor Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks is the Omar and Althea Dwyer Hoskins Professor of Classical Archaeology at Stanford University.  He received his BA and PhD from Cambridge University and was a lecturer at the University of Wales, Lampeter, before moving to the US in 1999 to take up a Chair in Classics at Stanford University.  As a Direc71llZ-a20aL._UX250_.jpgtor of Stanford Humanities Lab he is championing experimental research and development in transdisciplinary arts and humanities.  He has taken part in a series of critical interventions in debates about the character of the archaeological past, including the books Experiencing the Past (1991), Reconstructing Archaeology (1992), and Theatre/Archaeology (2001).  He specialises in classical archaeology and archaeological theory, and was a key figure in the development of post processualism and interpretive archaeology during the 1980s, especially through his collaboration with Christopher Tilley.  Working with performance researcher Mike Pearson, he co-authored ‘Theatre/Archaeology’ in 2001.  ‘The Archaeological Imagination’ was published by Routledge in 2016. He is currently co-curating a collection for Routledge entitled ‘Art/Archaeology’.



Kate Whiteford OBE


Kate Whiteford is a leading exponent of land art. Her work crosses the boundary between art and archaeology and the aerial or ‘birds- eye’ view underpins all of her work. She has made monumental land drawings on large tracts of landscape as various as those at Harewood House in Yorkshire, Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Coventry city centre and the Mount Stuart estate on the Isle of Bute. Whiteford has often explored the aesthetic possibilities of archaeological techniques, including excavation, aerial photography and remote sensing to create a body of work that includes painting, drawings, tapestry and film. Kate Whiteford’s work is in the permanent collection of the Tate Gallery and she has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad including the Venice Biennale.


Julia Sorrell

images.jpgArchaeology has played an important role throughout Julia’s life in part due to being Alan Sorrell’s daughter. Most family holidays involved visiting sites for pending reconstruction drawings, and walks always did and still do involve scanning the ground for sherds and worked flints.

Like her father, she trained as an artist and through her working life has developed many different visual angles, whether it be through natural or human forms – the underlying connection being the abstract and geometric shapes within them. Being awarded the 2015 Travel Art Award by the ACE Foundation, Julia embarked on her visualisation of Orkney where she combined the landscape and the archaeology. Whether the Ring of Brodgar or Skara Brae, she approached the subjects from an artist’s viewpoint endeavouring to make her work equally accessible to both layman and academic. Since then archaeology has continued to be an added dimension within her work.


Christopher Catling

Christopher Catling is Secretary (Chief Executive) of the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the body that carries out research into all aspects of Welsh archaeological and architectural heritage. He is a member of the National Trust’s Council, co-chair of the Historic Wales Partnership, which brings together the leading cultural institutions in Wales to work together on collaborative projects, and chair of the Welsh Historic Places of Worship Forum.

Christopher is well-known as a heritage advocate, journalist and commentator. He founded, and for many years wrote, the heritage sector’s two most influential email newsletters – Salon and the Heritage Alliance Update. He is the author of a number of best-selling travel guides, focusing on destinations rich in art and architecture, including Florence, Venice, London and Amsterdam. He continues to write for Current Archaeology on subjects as diverse as Stonehenge and the Victorian street tree movement.


Professor John Harvey

John Harvey is a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art. He is Professor at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. His research field is the visual and sonic culture of religion. In art history, his studies engage the visual imagery of popular piety, supernaturalist traditions, and working-class culture. He has written a number of books including The Bible as Visual Culture (2013); Photography & Spirit (2007); The Appearance of Evil: Apparitions of Spirits in Wales (2003); Image of the Invisible: The Visualization of Religion in the Welsh Nonconformist Tradition (1999); and The Art of Piety: The Visual Culture of Welsh Nonconformity (1995). In art practice, his work explores visual, textual, and aural sources of Protestant Christianity, theological and cultural ideas, and systemic processes. The work is discussed in The Pictorial Bible series of exhibitions (2001, 2007, 2015), and The Aural Bible series of CD releases (2015, 2016).


Carmen Mills

Graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art from the University of Hull in 2011, Carmen Mills came to Aberystwyth University in 2013 to pursue MA studies. She took part in various exhibitions from 2011-2013, and was part of Scarborough’s ‘Coastival’ in 2014 with ‘The Archaeologist’s Dance’, an installation of paintings, drawings, original music and choreography. In Aberystwyth, her paintings were selected for exhibition at the Ty Hywel Senedd building in Cardiff, and Aberystwyth’s Gas Gallery, in 2015. She began her PhD journey in January 2016 in which she continues to explore the mysteries of the archaeological imagination.


Dr Mary Lloyd Jones

Mary Lloyd Jones was born in Pontarfynach, or Devil’s Bridge, in Ceredigion. She trained at Cardiff College of Art, and has exhibited regularly since the 1960s in Wales, Britain and internationally.  As Artist in Residence she has worked in Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Catalunya, USA, Italy and India.  The central theme of her work is the land, coming from her experience as a child growing up in mid-Wales.  Her aim is to draw attention to the natural world, and to the marks left by previous generations.  Archaeology is a constant source of ideas for her.  She is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Carmarthen and Aberystwyth University, and has an Honorary Doctorate from Cardiff University.  Her work has been included in the 2018 exhibition ‘Welsh Art in China’ organised by the Martin Tinney Gallery.


Dr Peter Wakelin

 Dr Peter Wakelin is a writer and curator specialising in built heritage and visual art. Among his books are Hidden Histories: Discovering the Heritage of Wales (edited with Ralph Griffiths), Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site, Worktown: The Drawings of Falcon Hildred and Roger Cecil: A Secret Artist. His recent exhibitions have included Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape since 1770, Ffiniau: Four Artists in Raymond Williams’ Border Country, and Then + Now: 80 Years of Collecting Contemporary Art for Wales. He was formerly Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Director of Collections & Research at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.


Meri Huws

 The office of Welsh Language Commissioner was created by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011. Meri Huws started as the first Commissioner on 1 April 2012.  Before being appointed as Commissioner, Ms Huws chaired the Welsh Language Board from 2004-2011, and was also a member of the board from 1993 until 1997.

She received her education at Fishguard High School, before studying a degree in Law and Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She studied for a postgraduate degree at St Ann College Oxford and trained to be a social worker, based for many years in north-west Wales. She followed a career in higher education in the 80s and 90s, she lectured in Normal College, Bangor, and Newport University before working for a period in Dublin City University. Ms Huws also chaired Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) from 1981-1983.

In 1999 she moved to work at Bangor University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and was in the post for ten years. She was appointed as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity St. David in 2009, before being appointed as Welsh Language Commissioner in 2012. Ms Huws is a familiar face in public life in Wales. She is often invited to give evidence to National Assembly for Wales committees, to address conferences and meetings across the country, and to talk on news and current affairs programmes.


Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards is a qualified archivist who trained at Aberystwyth University. He has been a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales since 1992, joining as an Archive Assistant.  He is now Head of Knowledge and Understanding, overseeing the part of the organisation which deals with the creation of information through survey and investigation, and the curation of that information in the Commission’s archive the National Monuments Record of Wales, the national collection of records relating to Wales’ historic environment.


Dr Alan Chamberlain

Alan’s research brings together Art and Technology and ranges from the design of location-based games, to new forms of heritage interpretation and heritage-based soundtracks. His interest in archaeology comes from working with the community of Penparcau to further imagine, understand and promote the Iron Age Hillfort – Pen Dinas. He is interested in the relationship that people have with archaeological sites, the ways that they might be used to empower communities, and the creative use of technologies to re/represent the site. His performances are audio-based and have been described as belonging to the Experimental Digital Humanities. He is focusing on Pen Dinas as a performance site that might bring together Virtual Reality and performance in innovative ways. He is a Senior Researcher at the University of Nottingham, and a Visiting Academic at the University of Oxford, a Trustee for a charity based in Ceredigion and an RSA Heritage Champion – His publications can be found here: Publications.


Dr Brian Graham

Born in Poole, Dorset 1945, much of painter Brian Graham’s recent output has been concerned with evidence of human evolution, the result of extensive site visits and research.

Subject of a recent “My Archaeology” feature in British Archaeology Magazine, his collectors include the National Museum Wales, Natural History Museum London, the art galleries amongst others, of Southampton, Leicester, Huddersfield, Swindon, Ipswich and York as well as the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, U.C.L., Chichester, Winchester and Southampton.

Awarded an Honorary PhD from Bournemouth University in 2008, several catalogues and a hardback monograph have been published, some including essays by Palaeolithic authorities Peter Andrews, Clive Gamble and Chris Stringer.

Represented for fourteen years by Hart Gallery London until 2012, more recent solo exhibitions include “Starting from Scratch”, which opened at the National Museum Cardiff in 2011 and “Towards Music”, Salisbury Museum 2018, which considered how our need to express ourselves in sound may have emerged.


Dr Antonia Thomas

As both a professional archaeologist and archaeological illustrator, and an amateur artist, I have always been interested in the relationship between image-making and archaeology. In 2009 I explored this relationship through Royal Society Edinburgh-funded research into the interplay between contemporary art and archaeology in Orkney. Working with contemporary artists on this project then led me to take a fresh look at art in archaeological contexts, inspiring my AHRC-funded PhD, ‘Art and Architecture in Neolithic Orkney: Process, Temporality and Context’ (Aberdeen 2016). This deconstructed representational interpretations to take a process-led approach to prehistoric mark-making. I continue to explore the overlaps between archaeological practice and contemporary art through several art/archaeology collaborations, whilst my wider work also examines stone-carving and graffiti, photography and vernacular architecture. I am currently a Lecturer in Archaeology at Orkney College UHI, where I lead Masters modules in ‘Art and Archaeology: Contemporary Theory and Practice’ and ‘Cultural Heritage Management’.


Dr Ffion Reynolds

Ffion Reynolds is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University, where she received her MA and PhD in Archaeology. She works at Cadw, the historic environment service for the Welsh Government as Heritage and Arts Manager, overseeing Cadw’s public programmes.  She currently directs the Bryn Celli Ddu public archaeology landscape project on Anglesey.  Her research interests include the prehistory of Britain, shamanism, animism and prehistoric worldviews in Wales, and the UK and Ireland more generally.

As part of her current role at Cadw she regularly commissions artists to work at heritage sites, overseeing large-scale exhibitions like the Poppies: Weeping Window exhibition at Caernarfon Castle 2016, and the Museum of the Moon exhibition at Tintern Abbey with artist Luke Jerram in May 2018. She is an enabler and spacemaker in the Welsh heritage sector, works in the space between art and archaeology, providing arts and heritage advocacy, direction for the cultural heritage, creative industries and arts programmes for Cadw, articulating the positive impacts of heritage, arts and culture in and for Wales.


Dr Helen Wickstead

Dr Helen Wickstead is Senior Lecturer in Museum and Gallery Studies at Kingston School of Art. She has worked as an archaeologist for many years in Turkey, Czech Republic, Sudan, France and the UK. Between 2003 and 2009 she founded and Co-directed Artists in Archaeology, a project that created funded residencies for 21 artists to work alongside archaeologists at excavations, laboratories and museums. She is currently writing a book exploring how archaeology and its artefacts constructed modern concepts of the phallus from 1613 to the present.


Hope for Justice

Hope for Justice is a global charity working to bring an end to modern slavery with an effective and proven multi-disciplinary model that is replicable, scalable, and widely admired. It was founded in the UK in 2008 when a small group of people made the step from outrage to action, establishing an organisation to meet the practical need of freeing people held in modern slavery across the UK.

 Hope for Justice has since grown to become an international charity working across four continents to bring an end to modern slavery and human trafficking wherever we find it. Hope for Justice’s global head office is in Manchester, with regional UK Hubs in West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, Northumberland and Scotland. We also have global offices and projects in the USA, Norway, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Vietnam and (via partners) Zimbabwe.

 Our work is supported by scores of voluntary Abolition Groups, which support the charity’s life-changing projects through fundraising, campaigning and awareness-raising in their communities.

 Our vision is to live in a world free from slavery.