#HeritageChat is a monthly, one-hour Twitter chat for the historic environment sector. It is run on the third Tuesday 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.

We are carrying out a short survey to improve #HeritageChat – please fill the form: It will take 2-3 mins and your opinions and experience will help us shape the future of #HeritageChat!

The next #HeritageChat will take place on Tuesday 21st September, 1-2pm as usual. The topic of July’s #HeritageChat is ‘What does the heritage sector need from Universities (and vice versa?)‘. 

The questions which we’ll be using are:

  1. What are the main practical barriers for collaboration between Universities and the heritage sector, and how can they be overcome?
  2. Can you give us positive examples of collaboration between Universities and the heritage sector? What are the lessons learned from this experience(s)?
  3. How can academic and heritage sector collaboration help widen and diversify  audiences of the future? 
  4. How can we evidence the idea that investing in research enhances the financial sustainability of heritage organisations?
  5. What policy challenges are on the horizon that academic research can help to solve? Do you have examples of projects underway?
  6. Heritage organisations: what would be on your practical shopping list for collaboration with a university? Money? Staff? Time? All three…?
  7. Researchers, students, university staff: what practical outcomes might you hope to see from collaboration with heritage organisations?
  8. Students who would like to join the heritage sector in the future: what can universities do to support your journey? What can heritage organisations do to help?


Please get in touch with Francesca if you want to suggest a topic for one of the next #HeritageChats. You can lead the chat or we can lead it for you! 

How to take part

Follow @HeritageChat. On the day of the chat, get online and search #HeritageChat on Twitter to keep track of the tweets (we suggest to filter by ‘latest’, rather than ‘top’). We will share the agreed questions one by one (they will all start with Q1, Q2, etc. and include #HeritageChat so you will see them in your filtered feed). You can reply to the questions and it’s helpful if you make reference to the questions in your answers, using A1, A2 etc. at the beginning of your tweet. Please remember to include ‘#HeritageChat’ in your tweets to take part in the chat. If you can’t take part during the live #HeritageChat, you can tweet your answers later in the same day and your answers will be recorded in our summary.

Do you need a diary scheduler to remember when #HeritageChat takes place? Download it here for Outlook and for Google calendar!

If you want to suggest a topic and/or to run a chat, please email us at HEFsteering@theheritagealliance.org.uk. If you want to be informed of the next #HeritageChats, subscribe to our newsletter!

#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.

#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.

#HeritageChat April 2021 – The Future of Volunteering

In April 2021 #HeritageChat focused on ‘The Future of Volunteering‘, an vital topic for many organisations in the heritage sector. This topic was suggested by Michelle Cook, a young professional, who helped us lead the chat. 

Participants shared thoughts on: the current and future challenges for heritage volunteering; how to sustain it now and in future, making it more beneficial, fair and inclusive; volunteering as learning opportunity; how to improve the connection between local communities and heritage sites/museums through volunteering.

You can read the full summary of the chat here.

#HeritageChat March 2021 – Local Heritage & Local Listing

In March 2021 #HeritageChat provided an opportunity to talk about ‘Local Heritage & Local Listing’, an important topic considering:


The chat was led in collaboration with the Council for British Archaeology, with Neil Redfern (Executive Director) participating.

Participants lively debated topics such as: how to facilitate a meaningful participation of local communities; what criteria should be considered; what level of protection should be granted to locally listed assets; what role the LPAs should have, and what are the main issues they may face.

You can read the full summary of the chat here.

#HeritageChat February 2021 – Funding & Fundraising in the Heritage Sector

February’s #HeritageChat provided an opportunity to talk about ‘Funding & Fundraising in the Heritage Sector’, a timely topic for the sector and one of the outcomes set out in our Strategic Framework. The chat was led in collaboration with Tricolor Associates, and we shared some tweets from Martin Kaufman.

Participants debated topics such as: what funding opportunities are missing from the current offer for the sector; suggestions on how to make funding application easier for small heritage organisations, the impact of Covid-19 and the opportunities of the Culture Recovery Fund; digital crowdfunding; successes in how funding has enabled organisations to improving diversity; funding for progression in the heritage sector in 2021.

You can read the full summary of the chat here.

#HeritageChat was born as a means of widening Heritage2020 programme’s consultation process. It is now an opportunity for HEF to engage in a conversation with the wider sector, and to inform the work to reach the outcomes set in the Strategic Framework.

#HeritageChat is run by different people and organisations from the heritage sector, on a rolling monthly basis. The theme is selected by that month’s host. These ideally relate to one of the priority areas set out in our Strategic Framework.
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-eight 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, and the summary is published here, in our website.

We want to connect HEF with historic environment sector organisations more widely than through the current working groups.

We want to provide new opportunities for the sector to contribute to our Strategic Framework, and for us to disseminate our resources.

We want to develop a network through which the sector can build and share the benefits of collaborative working.

#HeritageChat Archives

Each month #HeritageChat will be archived on the HEF website.

To view the #HeritageChat archive, click here.