One year ago this month, who would have thought we would now be marking a full year of global pandemic conditions, living under various degrees of lockdown and adopting new ways of communicating and coping with daily work and life. At ANAMED, at least, perhaps we should have paid closer attention to both ancient and more recent histories, which are rife with recollections of plague and pestilence, quarantines, and divine questioning, as some of our guest speakers and fellows’ blog posts have recently reminded us. Adopting longue durée perspectives encourages us to remember that resilience in the face of such challenges has often led to florescence in the aftermath. Indeed, we will welcome resuming our now-dormant in-person activities once “new normal” conditions allow. For the time being, ANAMED’s dedicated and enthusiastic team has made a seamless transition to online life; they have provided our community with a more robust and regular selection of high-quality offerings than ever.
In addition to the ongoing ANAMED Library Talks series, established in partnership with the Turkish History Foundation, we’ve recently co-sponsored a workshop and hosted several talks. This includes a new talk series that will usually feature past ANAMED collaborators and fellows. Already there is significant interest: for the first two talks alone, more than 500 people from over 30 countries joined us! The increased reach of our activities can certainly be counted among the few positive outcomes of these times. All in all, we aim to offer at least two new and publicly accessible talks per month, in addition to the growing number of archived offerings available on our YouTube and SoundCloud channels. We hope that the online format of two symposia scheduled for April—one co-organized in partnership with Charles University and Tübingen University on western Anatolia in the second millennium BCE and the other the 15th International ANAMED Annual Symposium (IAAS) on environment and society in Anatolia—will attract similarly high levels of interest.
Other recent online initiatives include the virtualization of the “Archival Memories: Marcell Restle’s Research in Anatolia and Beyond” exhibition. Our popular past exhibition on “The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük,” too, will soon join our growing list of virtual tours. Meanwhile, the ANAMED Library continues its support of the Koç University research community with online instructional programs, mediated book lending, and scan & deliver services. This has been especially important for our research fellows.
Because ANAMED has remained closed to the public for much of this period, our twelve 2020–2021 regular and joint research fellows have participated remotely from the beginning of the year. Their research presentations during weekly “virtual tea” gatherings have provided regular points of contact to ensure their full inclusion in the ANAMED community despite their physical distance. Joining this group are the two holders of the new German Archaeological Institute (DAI)-ANAMED Joint Fellowships, part of a collaborative project on “Humidity and Society: 8,500 Years of Climate History in Western Anatolia” funded as part of the “Groundcheck” DAI research cluster.
Looking ahead to coming seasons, we’re planning for a continuation of online programming through the spring and summer, at least. Our summer language programs will be offered online, as will all other lecture and training programs. The entire ANAMED team (from library to fellowships, programs to publications) is eager to welcome our community back in person as soon as viable, and when that’s possible, we’ll also have the happy opportunity to introduce you to our newest staff member, Yağmur Civan Uyanık, who joins us as an administrative assistant. Until then, we wish health and well-being to our entire community with the hope of seeing you at one of our many online offerings over the coming months.
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