Statement from the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology on the EAA Conference in Budapest

Friday 3 December 2021

As Europe’s leading society for the archaeology of the period from AD 1500 to the present, SPMA has followed with interest recent discussions on the forthcoming 2022 European Archaeology Association conference in Budapest and concerns over LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary. 

While SPMA welcomes EAA’s recent attempts to engage with LGBTQ+ organisations in Hungary, we do not think that the EAA’s Safe Space policy or the ‘EAA Executive Board response to concerns about the LGBTQIA+ policy of the host country’ go far enough in addressing the legitimate concerns of LGBTQ+ colleagues over Hungarian government policy and their own safety in Hungary.  We also note the recent use of social media to block colleagues who raised concerns.  While encouraging steps have since been taken to rectify this, this was a counterproductive approach.

SPMA has engaged with EAA conferences in a number of ways in the past, welcoming the opportunity to promote European post-medieval archaeology.  However, as a result of this lack of support for LGBTQ+ colleagues, SPMA Council has decided – with regret – not to engage as a society with the Budapest conference.

We recognise that many of our Hungarian friends, family, and colleagues, particularly those who share our concerns on these issues, will be disappointed with SPMA’s decision.  SPMA is a European society, and wishes to support archaeology and archaeologists working in Central and Eastern Europe.  We are considering holding our own 2023 annual conference in Poland, a country that also has a contested relationship with LGBTQ+ rights.  However, we believe that the correct step forward in these cases is to work in a spirit of support and allyship to address legitimate concerns alongside promoting our discipline and colleagues.  We regrettably believe that EAA has fallen short in this regard with its response to the 2022 conference.

We look forward to renewing our engagement with EAA in 2023.