#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.

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

The next session will be held on Thursday 17th May 2018, 13.00-14.00 (UK time) on a theme that comes out of the Heritage 2020 ‘Discovery, Identification and Understanding’ working group.

Research impacting practice: collaboration, synthesis and innovation between the academic, public and commercial sectors‘ – picking up on points explored at the CIfA 2018 conference and inviting more people to contribute to the discussion on how we can ensure good connections between research and practice.

We have five great questions that will be used as discussion points throughout the #HeritageChat.

  1. Are organisational research agendas useful tools for starting conversations about collaboration and does there need to be some kind of clear follow on procedure from these?
  2. How can we break out of our academic/public/commercial silos to ensure research genuinely impacts practice (and vice versa)?
  3. How can we improve access to existing research and data, particularly access to cross-sector research and resources?
  4. How can heritage organisations make researchers aware of their research needs? What structures can be put in place to help?
  5. What innovative models can universities introduce to support the CPD and research pursuits of heritage professionals/volunteers?

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.

    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.