#HeritageChat is a monthly, one-hour Twitter chat for the historic environment sector. It is run on the third Thursday of the month, 13.00-14.00, from the handle @HeritageChat and uses the tag #HeritageChat so that participants can keep track of the conversation.


Please email us at heritage2020@theheritagealliance.org.uk if you would be interested in helping to run a #HeritageChat or you would like to suggest a theme for a future #HeritageChat.

Taking part in #HeritageChat

To take part in #HeritageChat you’ll need a Twitter account (find out how to sign up here). Follow @HeritageChat and type #HeritageChat in the search bar to get all the tweets. Filter the results by ‘latest’ (top left bar) to follow the chat as it happens. Alternatively, use a platform such as TweetDeck or HootSuite.

Our next Heritage Chat will be held on the 20 June 2019 (13.00-14.00) and will discuss heritage and the high street. 

What would you like to discuss during the chat? Suggest your questions here.

During the chat both questions and answers are tagged using #HeritageChat so that everyone can follow the contributions. The first question uses Q1 as part of the tweet, and people responding to that question use A1 as part of their reply so that they link up.

    Follow @HeritageChat and use #HeritageChat in your tweets to take part!

    If you can’t join the #HeritageChat live, we also produce a summary so that you can catch up later.

    May 2019

    Last week’s #HeritageChat explored ‘emergency preparedness in the historic environment sector’, a theme that has been discussed frequently in the media following the tragic fire at Notre Dame. The chat provided participants the chance to explore lessons for the future and share with each other their wisdom and experience. Questions explored included: how historic buildings can plan to effectively respond to an emergency; what guidance and networks exist to help with this process; and what we need to think about in terms of managing communications during and after an incident. You can catch up on the ideas that were explored here.

    April 2019

    The April #HeritageChat was led by  the CIfA Voluntary and Community Special Interest Group and explored how the legacies of archaeological community engagement in place making can be improved. Discussions focused on what exactly is meant by ‘place making’ in this context and what it means to communities in practice. Also explored was the role archaeology can play in influencing the design of new places before construction, and particularly, in consideration of health and well-being. Catch up on all the discussions here.

    The topic will be explored in further detail at a session of the CIfA 2019 conference where comments made during the chat will also be discussed. 

    March 2019

    Our March #HeritageChat explored all things technology and innovation in the historic environment sector. Participants discussed how technology is shaping research in the sector and what opportunities new technologies present for public engagement. There was also a focus on the digital skills that need to be developed in the sector and how the sector can work together to deliver the goals of ‘Culture is Digital’.

    Read an extended summary of the chat here.

    February 2019

    Our February #HeritageChat explored how heritage professionals can encourage communities to share their heritage with them and what communities want most from the heritage sector.  Also discussed were approaches to strengthening links between heritage organisations and community groups, and particularly with social groups who do not normally access heritage. The role technology can play in initiating and developing these relationships was also a prominent theme in the chat.

    Read a summary of February’s chat here.

    January 2019

    Our January #HeritageChat explored how infrastructure projects can be used to connect communities with place. Discussions focused on  when there is greatest potential for engaging communities, how communities can take a leading role in interpretation and be involved in post-excavation research, and what problems ‘client confidentiality’ poses to community engagement. Read the summary here


    Our December #HeritageChat explored how the impact of collaborative working can be maximised in the historic environment. Discussions focused on the benefits of collaboration, what the key attributes are of successful collaboration, and what the common challenges are in the historic environment when trying to work together. Attention also turned to how we can effectively measure the impact of collaboration and whether there is a model or framework for collaboration that the sector should encourage people to use. Read the summary here.


    Our November #HeritageChat provided a forum to discuss the Historic Environment sector’s relationship with health and wellbeing. Participants explored in what ways the sector can help to address health and wellbeing issues, how we can make the public more aware of the benefits of actively engaging with heritage, and how we can ensure communities throughout the UK have equal access to programmes. It was concluded that as a sector we need to embed wellbeing into institutional thinking, and, in the final stages of the chat, attention was drawn to the need to have meaningful evaluation frameworks to measure the impact of heritage activities on general wellbeing. Read the summary here.


    Our October #HeritageChat was on the topic of apprenticeships in the Historic Environment. Topics discussed included how employers should approach recruitment, how apprenticeships can help the sector and examples of good practice. The chat also provided a forum for individuals and organisation to learn about and share their understanding of the new government guidelines on apprenticeships. Read the summary here. 


    Our September #HeritageChat explored mobile heritage. Participants identified the issues that pose the greatest risk to keeping historic transport mobile, including new legislation, access to fuel and a potential shortage in skills, before going on to suggest ways of addressing them. Also raised as talking points were ways of increasing collaboration between heritage institutions and the owners of historic transport, the separation of horse drawn transport from conversations about mobile heritage, and finally, the conundrum of fabric vs operation within mobile heritage. Read the summary here.


    Our July #HeritageChat provided a forum for institutions and individuals to share lessons learnt from their own past experiences about what encourages young people to engage with heritage.  Greater collaboration with the creative industries, the adoption of a shared authority approach and the role of interactive technologies were all raised as talking points. Moreover, lessons to be learnt from social action programmes and natural heritage were discussed, as well as where and when conversations between heritage institutions and young people should be happening. Read the summary here. 


    Our June #HeritageChat explored new uses for historic buildings. Topics discussed included the need to maintain historic value whilst embracing any new uses, how best to communicate the positives of re-using historic buildings and related funding issues. Also explored was the potential to encourage new uses for historic buildings by embracing the government’s current focus on ‘place’.  Read the summary here.


    Our May #HeritageChat explored how best to improve links between research and practice and was led by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists with support from the Heritage 2020 Discovery, Identification and Understanding group. Conversation touched on organisational research agendas, cross-sector research and resources, and innovative models that could be introduced by universities to support the research pursuits of heritage professionals/volunteers. Read the summary here. 


    Our April #HeritageChat picked up the theme that Heritage 2020 working group members discussed at their annual Foresight workshop: ‘What’s over the digital horizon for heritage?’. We tweeted about how digital technology can be used to stimulate engagement with new audiences, how we can use technology and data to better understand audience needs, what new digital skills the sector needs and what the opportunities are for the historic environment sector to forge partnerships with tech organisations. Read the summary.


    In March, #HeritageChat explore Industrial Heritage – led by Dr Nicola Palmer from the Doctoral School of Sheffield Hallam University. The conversation touched on questions of sustainable management and reliance on volunteers, alternative modes of engagement with industrial heritage (from urban exploration to steampunk), and existing and potential future collaborations between industrial heritage sites and industrial bodies. Participants discussed the impact of such initiatives as the Brownfield Registers for unidentified industrial heritage, Industrial World Heritage status and the opportunities arising from the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. See the summary here.


    February’s #HeritageChat picked up on the topic explored a year ago at the Heritage 2020 Foresight workshop ‘Diversity in the historic environment sector’. Last year’s workshop concluded that there are three key areas in which action is needed to address diversity issues: data, process and perception. You can read the report on the workshop here.

    The questions that were used as prompts during the chat were:

    1. Is the issue of class overlooked in conversations about diversity in heritage?
    2. How can we best enable those from working class backgrounds to participate equally in a sector dominated by part-time and casual contracts?
    3. Does the intersection between class and ethnicity in part explain the underrepresentation of BME in heritage?
    4. How can targets be used effectively to drive improvements in diversity?
    5. Does the historic environment sector need a self-assessment process to enable an organisation to evaluate its performance – and a toolkit to address areas for development?
    6. Where are there examples of innovative practice in improving diversity that could be shared with the historic environment sector?

    A summary of the #HeritageChat is now available on our arhive page: Diversity in the heritage sector

    This session was led by Heritage 2020 tweeting as (@HeritageChat) and The Heritage Alliance (@heritage_ngos).


    If you missed January’s #HeritageChat on the topic ‘Evaluation: How can the heritage sector better share evaluation data and create a shared evidence base?’, you can catch up by viewing our summary on our archive page. The chat was led by ERS Research & Consultancy alongside Heritage 2020.


    You can also catch up on December’s #HeritageChat on the topic ‘Heritage and high streets – which way next?’ by viewing our summary. The chat was led by Heritage 2020 and tied into the Constructive Conservation and Sustainable Management group‘s work on high streets and recent workshop held on the 6 December 2017.


    The first session was held on 16 November 2017 on the topic of ‘Innovation and entrepreneurship in the heritage sector – are we doing enough?’ and was led by the Historic Houses Association. It is archived on our website.

    Why #HeritageChat?

    #HeritageChat came about as a means of widening Heritage2020’s consultation process. The original vision for taking forward Heritage2020 included an annual consultation on the Heritage2020 Framework and the evolving strategic priorities, to take place in the autumn of each year, and to link to the annual progress report. The HEF subcommittee wished to increase the opportunities for the historic environment sector to contribute directly to the Heritage2020 action areas. Thus, #HeritageChat was born.

    How does it work?

    #HeritageChat is run by different people and organisations from the heritage sector, on a rolling monthly basis. One in four are run by Heritage2020; the rest are hosted by other areas of the sector.

    The theme is selected by that month’s host. These ideally relate to one of the Heritage2020 priority areas:

    • Capacity Building
    • Constructive Conservation and Sustainable Management
    • Discovery, Identification and Understanding
    • Helping Things to Happen
    • Public Engagement

    All topics should seek to strengthen partnerships and collaborative working in the historic environment sector.

    The host puts out an open call for questions a couple of weeks in advance of the scheduled #HeritageChat, and selects around six questions for use in the session. The questions are published as the programme for the chat session a few days before the chat itself.

    During the chat, the organiser tweets the questions from @HeritageChat using a format that allows participants to respond to each question. Questions, answers and discussion are all tagged #HeritageChat during the conversation so everyone can follow the thread. The chat is recorded via Tweetdeck, linked through the #HeritageChat – Archive page.

    What will a #HeritageChat will achieve?
    • We want to connect Heritage2020 with historic environment sector organisations more widely than through the current working groups, HEF and news outputs.
    • We want to provide specific opportunities for the sector to contribute to Heritage 2020 action areas.
    • We want to strengthen Heritage 2020 working by benefitting from the wider sector’s ideas and enthusiasm.
    • We want to start to develop a Heritage 2020 network through which the sector can build and share the benefits of collaborative working.

    You can see how other Twitter chats run at #uklibchat, #museumhour, or how a session can be used to bring together contributions on a theme #wildflowerhour.

    Get Involved

    Please email us at heritage2020@theheritagealliance.org.uk if you would be interested in helping to run a #HeritageChat.

    #HeritageChat Archives
    Each month #HeritageChat will be archived on the Heritage2020 website.

    To view the #HeritageChat archive, click here.