Summary of Stakeholder and Consultant meetings: 10th and 11th January 2011
On the 10th and 11th January 2011 DART held Academic Consultant and Stakeholder meetings respectively. These were both very successful and constructive meetings. Many thanks to those who attended and sent comments.
The meetings mindmap has been updated: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?p=402. This contains a fine-grained documentation of the presentations and discussions. In addition videos that were presented are here: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?page_id=1053 as well as the presentations themselves: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?page_id=80
As they had a similar structure this post will summarise both meetings.
The aims of the meetings were :
- To introduce the investigators, students and stakeholder consortium
- To provide an overview of general progress with DART
- To present the proposed field methodology for peer-review and critique
- To provide a forum for open feedback and discussion
- To determine how the project can be adapted to increase benefit for the stakeholders
After tea and coffee, Tony Cohn made a brief welcome and introduction to DART. He covered the aims of the day, some of the background to the project and the underlying nature of DART. He stressed that the multi-disciplinary and multi-site nature of the project coupled with tight finances will make the project challenging. The consortium is to act as a check and balance to the whole programme of research. In addition he stressed that we need to work cohesively: ‘An individual partner is not in a position or entitled to make unilateral decisions on anything which might affect other partners/the project as a whole’.
As many of the consortium members have never met one another we held a “speed dating” sessions. Everyone was given 3 minutes, rigidly observed, where everyone was asked to say:
- A little something about themselves
- What things might help a large multi-disciplinary projects be successful (or fail)
- What they see as the major challenges
- What their expectations of the project are
This was a great way to break the ice and get some insights into the challenges and benefits. A range of issues were discussed, inevitably there was much common ground. Communication within a multi-disciplinary team and to the public, and other stakeholders, was rightly highlighted. Semantics and how we use specialist terminology could lead to confusion and we should try not to assume that we know what others mean: it’s OK to ask for clarification. It was also pointed out that communication is as much about listening, trust and acting as a team. Inevitably there will be tensions (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing) particulate when balancing the desire to collaborate against the desire to get on with the work. The stakeholders recognised that openness is important as they are “frustrated by closed projects and embargoes”. The important role of the PhD students was recognised. They are delivering the majority of the research effort and are therefore carrying a lot of weight. They need to be given the freedom to make day to day policy and communication decisions. The weather was also seen as a problem: it can limit recording and what technology we use in the field and it just might be “wrong” (i.e. it does not allow us to see what we want to see!). Finally there are the issues of management and expectations. Once the consortium has agreed approaches we need clear delivery to agreed deadlines. This will help ensure all the project components “join up”.
Anthony Beck then gave a presentation on “Where we are now”. This is available on slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/DARTProject/dart-100111-where-are-we-now. Essentially he discussed:
- Project Overview
- People and Collaborations
- The study sites (Diddington and the Royal Agricultural College)
- Open Science Philosophy
- Communication Infrastructure
- DART Workshop
Dave Cowley, for the stakeholder meeting only, then gave a presentation entitled “Where we want to be: why DART is important to the sector”. This gave an important overview on the challenges facing those who develop heritage policy and those tasked with curating the resource acting as “buyers” of services. He stressed that distributions and interpretations are subject to bias which in turn influences policy creation. There is still a lot that is unknown. Hence, the policymakers and curators need to know more about the unknown in order to draft or enact effective policy. DART needs to inform this debate.
After a short summary on the financial position the members of the academic consultants meeting saw a video from Cameron Neylon on the topic of OpenScience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUjb6hSqwtI. This presentation advocated Open Science techniques not only for the range of benefits that the position offers but for the single point that impact is improved. Providing more open access to data, algorithms, techniques and processes will improve re-use and the public profile of the project. This will improve impact which is becoming a major driver of research and a significant indicator of research success.
After lunch we had presentations on the proposed methodologies:
- Fieldwork and Methodology overview – Anthony Beck
- Soil analysis and sensor manufacture (placement and monitoring) – Dan Boddice and Laura Pring
- Presentation coming in due course
- Magnetometry, resistivity and tomography research – Rob Fry
- Soil and vegetation hyperspectral research – David Stott
The methodologies are also summarised in the methodology mindmap available here: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?p=174
The rest of the meeting was taken up with specific discussion about the methodologies and general debate.
Summary of discussion
- Making links with broader landscape
- Comment that we should be able to extrapolate in these two study areas.
- Weather, events and processes
- We need to target and record these processes, but not at the expenses of generic modelling
- it might be better to focus on 1 site. If so then make it the RAC
- We may consider lab controlled plant stress: Leeds have the facilities in Plant Biology
- Collection of photographs on a daily basis
- Digital camera
- Analogue camera using IR film
- Consider the landuse regime over time
- The nature of the medium has changed
- Soils are more compacted, have higher bulk densities, than they used to
- Plants have been selectively bred. Does this change crop response?
- Recording conflict
- Will any of the sensors conflict measurements (TDR and Resisitivity)
- Pros and cons of stripping geophysics area to remove topsoil mask
- Decided to strip and record at the end
- The moment of clarity came on the way to the pub: we need to strip to actually observe what we have been recording remotely
- How to collect undisturbed soils
- Think beyond what we currently do
- Preferential weed growth may be significant
- How do we get stakeholder to re-use the outputs
- Method summaries
- Best practice
- We need to be able to influence practitioners so they can sensibly go beyond using the “standard techniques”
- Enhance the traditional approach with more novel techniques to look at how this varies the response
- understand the financial implications
- Do we need to influence and support practitioner or change the way development control recommend techniques. If so how?
- Community education
- The problem with multi-disciplinary research is that every group thinks other are wrong
- Delivery of decision support tool
- Doreen envisages a matrix of conditions versus heritage types filled in with techniques and times
- Adding finese to a basic, and agreed upon, approach
- What about predictive modelling or Historic Landuse Characterisation?
The next meeting is for Academic Consultants group (to be held on 30th March at Nottingham University). I will post the agenda etc. in due course. Updates can be found on this page: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?p=814
The action points arising from the meeting are below. One of the major changes is we’ve decided to have the 6 monthly academic consultant and stakeholder meetings at the same time. The meetings went very well this time round and we felt that there’s too much duplication over two days and little would be lost by merging the two meetings. This will provide the investigators and students with the opportunity to meet together physically: a smaller group should make it easier to make decision for approval by the consortium.
In the any other business section Nicole Metje raised some concerns held by Chris Rogers, who had to leave to catch his train, on the topic of Open Science. It was suggested that we open this up to greater debate within the consortium. This will be tabled at the next meeting to ascertain problems, challenges and benefits and if necessary then taken to the whole consortium at the next joint stakeholder/academic consultant meeting. As this is something we explicitly committed to in the grant application it was suggested that representatives from the Science and Heritage programme and the two funding councils (AHRC and EPSRC) are invited to this wider debate. There may be significant learning outcomes for the councils and the sector and this opportunity should not be lost.
Once again, many thanks for making these meetings so successful.
- To run the Academic Consultant and Stakeholder meetings as a single meeting from here on in
- I have already provisionally booked the Royal Agricultural College for the next joint meeting on the 6th/7th July
- Find a way to communicate/get feedback with consultants and stakeholders outside of meetings
- Send e-mails with specific summary in the header (in capitals)
- If necessary provide further information in the body of the text. This includes who needs to read what and what feedback is requested.
- Putting more documents on line
- Use of other techniques (skype, phone, access grid) where necessary is fine.
- Organise remote meeting for students and investigators
- Organise remote meeting software
- Instructions, video and software can be found in \TeamDriveDARTShare\Media\Software\VizMeet
- Arrange stakeholder/academic workshop for the 6th/7th July. Preferably at RAC
- Set up a doodle for the revised Workshop date (due to conflict with the IfA conference)
Carried over from previous meeting
- David Stott
- Find appropriate text for photography get out clause
- Ant Beck
- Photographs: Get everyone to sign off on a photography clause