New Chair of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (South Australia)

Interview with the new Chair of AACAI (SA) 

We congratulate Dr Alice Gorman, Principal Cultural Heritage Advisor, (Adelaide office),  recently elected Chair of the South Australian Chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI). 

Here's what Dr Gorman had to say about the new appointment:

Dr Alice Gorman, Senior Cultural Heritage Advisor        
How did the AACAI start and what does the association do?

AACAI was started by Dr Laila Haglund, who was one of the first professional heritage consultants in Australia. Dr Haglund realised that there was a real need to introduce standards into the way cultural heritage is practiced throughout Australia, and this forms a big part of what the Association does.  The Association developed a Code of Ethics and a policy for engagement with Indigenous Communities and heritage, and further information about the Code and policies can be found on their website.

All the State chapters facilitate events (eg. workshops, seminars) for the members, to enable them to continue to develop and update their cultural heritage skills. The workshop on ‘Skeletal Identification’ was so popular in Victoria, we’ve decided to bring this workshop to South Australia.

What is your role as chair entail?  

My appointment is for a year, and as Chair, I'll be responsible of running meetings, as well as writing submissions to Government departments when there's an issue that is known to, or will potentially affect heritage management across the State. It is also my responsibility to be a voice for the South Australian part of the heritage sector for the Association.

I will be available as the first port of call for anyone with a cultural heritage issue to discuss. For example, if a complaint is received regarding the conduct of a member, it will be my role to liaise with the national Ethics Committee and ensure the complaint is managed in a timely and appropriate manner.

How often do you meet and what do you discuss?

We hold meetings as required, although generally we get together every couple of months. Among the business we discuss is professional development topics for members, the proposed changes to the State heritage legislation, how to recruit new members and other pertinent heritage news relevant for Association. 
If members have particular dilemmas that they're facing in the industry, we discuss these as a committee and provide professional advice in a secure and confidential environment.

What do you and/or the association hope to achieve?

The State Chapter aims to ensure that clients in South Australia are aware of, and understand the professional standards required of cultural heritage consultants. It is important for everyone involved, including stakeholder groups, that clients are not accepting work from consultants that do not meet or exceed industry standards. By the same token, occasionally members have had a successful way of operating for years that isn't quite the way things are done now, and as such, we support our members to be efficient in the current business environment without compromising on heritage protection and management.

We are also eager to actively contribute to, or be involved in, the revision of the South Australia Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, which has been in the process of reform for a few years. Our concern is to get the best outcome for retaining heritage places and values in the State. Government has an agenda, and Traditional Owners have their priorities - our role in this is to provide impartial perspective.

Why were you appointed Chair for the Association?

There are not many full members in South Australia!

I've had a long association with AACAI, I became a member way back when I was a young consultant. Over the years I've edited the newsletter, been State Delegate, represented AACAI on local government committees, and been a part of taking the Association from a small group based in NSW to a nationwide organisation with Chapters in every state. So I'm really pleased to be heading up the SA Chapter!

I know it’s early days, but has the SA Chapter made any recent decisions?

We're only just getting started for the year. We really hope that AACAI in SA will become a vital part of all decision-making about heritage in the State.

For cultural heritage information and advice
contact Alice Gorman on 0447 878 339 or, or contact one of our other consultants in our Adelaide office on (08) 8372 7829.  


Dr Gorman
(right) in the field in all weather conditions

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