#HeritageChat September 2021 – What do Universities need from the sector (and vice versa)?

A student walking close to a building of the University of Oxford.

September’s #HeritageChat discussed What do Universities need from the sector (and vice versa)?

This #HeritageChat was run in collaboration with Lizzie Glithero-West (the Heritage Alliance, HEF member and hosting organisation) and Oliver Cox (University of Oxford).

Participants shared ideas, thoughts and experiences on practical barriers and positive examples for collaboration; ways to diversify audiences and to enhance the sustainability of organisations through collaboration; policy challenges that collaboration could contribute to solve. In the last three questions, #HeritageChat addressed heritage organisations, students and academic research and asked them to share future outcomes for collaboration, practical needs and opportunities for support.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture credit: Victoria Heath on Unsplash.

#HeritageChat July 2021 – Industrial Heritage

July’s #HeritageChat was dedicated to Industrial Heritage.

Participants lively debated important topics for the future of industrial heritage, such as the skills that the next generation of industrial heritage volunteers need; steps to be taken to ensure that communities remain at the heart of industrial heritage; tips to engage younger generations; practical solutions to provide marketable experiences that are authentic and avoid over-commercialisation; adaptation of industrial heritage to a low carbon world and interpretation of their fuel use to a more environmentally aware audience (this is also connected to the work of our COP26 TG); main challenges and opportunities for industrial heritage in the next three years.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture credit: Ray Harrington on Unsplash.

#HeritageChat June 2021 – Reopening Heritage

June’s #HeritageChat focused on ‘Reopening Heritage‘, as many heritage venues and museums reopened (with capacity adapted to social distancing measures) in Step 3 of the Government Roadmap. ‘Reopening’ is also one of the main themes of the Heritage Recovery Plan, prepared by Historic England with and on behalf of the Historic Environment Forum. This chat was led in collaboration with Mike Heyworth, manager of the HEF Covid Task Group. 

Participants shared thoughts on: the positive aspects they noted when visiting a heritage venue since reopening, the feedback that venues and museums are receiving from visitors, lessons learned and challenges, further support needed for staff and volunteers, good tips to share with other heritage venues that still have to reopen.

You can read the full summary of the chat here.

HEF COP26 Task Group: Call for climate change and sustainability case studies

In November 2021, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Inspired by the summit’s aim to ‘unite the world to tackle climate change’ the Historic Environment Forum created a task group to focus on heritage and climate change, using COP26 as a catalyst.

The task group will create a sector and public-facing shared statement on climate change and collate best practice case studies to support and strengthen this work.

Case studies: What are we looking for?
We are looking for inspiring, practical, and outcome-focussed examples of environmental, climate change and sustainability-related best practice across carbon reduction, adaptation, resilience, and heritage skills. Please find more information here.

Why is the task group collating case studies?
The case studies will showcase the progress already made by organisations across the sector, will allow others (sector and public) to learn from real-world, practical examples and will inspire positive action on climate change.

What will we do with the case studies?
The content will be:

  • Hosted on the new HEF website.
  • Drawn upon to create a case study ‘Storymap’ via ESRI with support from Historic England.
  • Shared with appropriate sector and non-sector groups, networks and stakeholders.
  • Referenced/linked to in task group comms including for example:
    • Social media posts (activity Sep-Nov 21)
    • Press releases (TBC)
    • To support public-facing publicity opportunities (TBC)


The task group would love to hear from you and your organisations; for more information on how to submit your case studies, please read the guidance and template here. The deadline is 5pm, Monday 28th June.

Many thanks for your support and involvement!

HEF COP26 Task Group

#HeritageChat May 2021 – Future Innovation Challenges for Heritage

What does ‘innovation’ mean today in heritage? What challenges may be tackled through innovation? May’s #HeritageChat explored these topics, in collaboration with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Young Foundation. as part of a new research and development project. The chat built on the results of a series of workshops run by NLHF and The Young Foundation, and the responses shared in the chat will be included in their ongoing analysis.

The chat wanted to encourage ‘blue skies thinking’ in relation to innovation and collaboration in the sector. It started by exploring the ‘distribution’ of innovation in the last years, through the identification of the areas where heritage innovation energies have been concentrated over the last five years. Then, participants were asked to share case studies of effective collaboration between different parts of heritage (HEF is a successful example!) and of the adoption of innovations from beyond heritage. Participants shared thoughts on how to move forward, and on what would they need to innovate in their work. The chat concluded with a forward-looking question on future challenges in the next ten years. Read here the summary of the chat.

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