hanging up the whip

The last month or so has been one featuring much deliberation and soul searching but at last it is time I can reveal some big life changes and a new career direction for yours truly.

From the start of January I will be working at Edinburgh-based web design agency Net Resources. I am faced with the tough task of replacing the irreplaceable Roan as web design manager there with him going on to do more lovely shiny things with gradients, whitespace and Calibri at Freeagent Central.

I’ve been the web designer (latterly web development manager) at RCAHMS for over 2½ years, starting in April 2006 (the day our son Gethin was born). Although I had been doing web things as a hobby for about 8 years, taking this forward to a job was a daunting prospect and a big gamble at the time. It was the first time there had been a web position at RCAHMS and in those early days was a role I was lucky to be able to have some input in shaping.

In the past 2½ years I have seen a changing attitude towards the web at RCAHMS and it is great now to see the significance attached to the web in promoting the work of the organisation and also the importance being attached to creating accessible online experiences shaped by the principles of web standards.

Sadly, in the past few months (perhaps spurred on by the uncertainty associated with an impending bairn 2.0) I have felt like I needed a change from the Commission and when the opportunity came up at Net Resources it was one I had little difficulty in accepting.

I have known of Net Resources for 3 or 4 years and always had a great respect for their work. It was doing a PHP/MySQL training course there in 2006 that I realised I could probably treat web design as more than a hobby, giving me the confidence to move jobs at RCAHMS. So it is great for things to come full circle.

Alas, it is ultimately a time that I must say farewell to archaeology. Although I have not done archaeology in the 2½ years since I moved to the web, working in a heritage organisation has kept me in contact with the subject that has dominated so much of my life: from amateur enthusiasm in my teens through university and ultimately the PhD. I started at RCAHMS almost five years ago as a HLA officer and along the way I’ve met some great people and worked on some great projects. Working there it is impossible not to be swept along with the passion for the historic environment shared by all its staff.

It is truly a unique organisation, one I will be sad to leave and I can only hope that it survives the recent proposals from the Scottish Goverment and continue to play an important and independent part in recording and understanding Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

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Congrats, and hooray for change! This does mean you’re still able to attend all kinds of conferences, huh?!

Congratulations Cole, it must have been hard but somehow methinks the archeology won’t be disappearing in a hurry and who knows what the future holds!