#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.

The next #HeritageChat will take place on Tuesday 19 July, 1-2pm as usual, and will focus on ‘Heritage Futures’.

These are the questions we will discuss: 

1. What assumptions do we often make about heritage and its relationship to the future?

2. Historical legacies are what we construct and leave behind; which historical legacies do you think will benefit future generations the most?

3. How might the challenges we face today impact on the future of heritage?

4. What lessons can future generations learn from heritage?

5. How can the heritage sector be more future thinking?


Contact Aisling at HEFsteering@historicenvironmentforum.org.uk 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@historicenvironmentforum.org.uk If you want to be informed of the next #HeritageChats, subscribe to our newsletter

#HeritageChat July 2022 – Heritage Futures

Decorative photo: A lightbulb on a stack of old booksIn July 2022, #HeritageChat discussed Heritage Futures. Our chat partners for this month’s session were Dr Leila Papoli-Yazdi and Dr Emily Hanscam, Researchers from the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures.

1.What assumptions do we often make about heritage and its relationship to the future?

2.Historical legacies are what we construct and leave behind; which historical legacies do you think will benefit future generations the most?

3.How might the challenges we face today impact on the future of heritage?

4.What lessons can future generations learn from heritage?

5.How can the heritage sector be more future thinking?

This was an engaging topic and contributors thoughtfully discussed the range of assumptions we make when we consider what the historic environment will be like in the future. Climate Change was recognised as an overarching challenge that will impact on the future of heritage. Contributors shared knowledge, research and foresight theories, and put forward ideas about how the sector can continue to be future oriented.

You can read the summary of the chat in our Twitter collection here.

Read more about the work being done by the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures here.

Picture: Beth Jnr on Unsplash.com.

#HeritageChat June 2022 – Citizen Science

In June 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Citizen Science in heritage. Topics covered in this chat included engaging citizens in project planning, ensuring data quality and making citizen science projects inclusive.

An image of some data in the shape of a heart

This was a quieter chat, but participants thoughtfully considered when and how to best engage citizens in heritage projects. A key suggestion was to ensure community partners are scoped out and engaged from the outset. Participants also discussed managing public expectations. Some case study examples and resources were shared about data collection quality and consistency. It was thought that citizen science heritage projects can be a popular and engaging activity, where children are also able to take part, enjoy and learn from collecting data. It was acknowledged that further work could be done in making citizen science in heritage more inclusive, and participating organisations shared their plans to grow in this area.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash.

#HeritageChat May 2022 – Heritage Skills

People working to preserve an ancient wall. In May 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Heritage Skills. The chat was co-facilitated by Victoria Wallworth (National Historic Ships UK) and Prof. Ian Baxter, chairs of the Skills, Education & Engagement Advocacy Group at The Heritage Alliance (HEF member). This topic is important to HEF, in fact it will be part of the forthcoming Heritage Resilience Plan, and it is tackled by a specific topic group, the ‘Heritage Skills Demand Group’.

Participants discussed issues related both to the supply side of the topic (e.g. traditional skills training, digital upskilling, professional routes in higher education) and to the demand side. Thanks to all the participants!

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Anne Nygard on Unsplash.com.

#HeritageChat April 2022 – Places of Worship

A man sitting in a church, with the sun light illuminating the wall behind him. In April 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Places of Worship from the heritage perspective. Climate change, redundant churches, the religious and historical significance of buildings were three of the topics tackled in April’s #HeritageChat.

Participants lively debated what does ‘sustainability’ mean in the context of religious buildings; the role of local communities and how to engage with them; community uses for historic churches; the management of historical and religious significance; threats resulting from climate change and adaptation. A lot of useful resources were shared over the course of the chat (e.g. Fundraising for Net Zero Carbon, Support Officers for Historic Places of Worship, Options Appraisals and Church Buildings Reports, House of Good Report, and many other).

This was one of the most successful #HeritageChats (for number of participants and tweets shared), with so many interesting points raised – thanks to all the participants!

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Isaac Sloman on Unsplash.com.

#HeritageChat March 2022 – International

A road with a lot of flags to the side, which is the entrance to United NationsIn March 2022 #HeritageChat discussed International engagement and collaboration. The chat was led in collaboration with Lizzie Glithero-West, CEO of the Heritage Alliance (HEF member) and Graham Bell, Director of Cultura Trust and member of the Europa Nostra board.

Lots of interesting points were raised in the chat. Participants discussed how can we make meaningful and ethical partnerships, and what role digital can play in this; what is the potential of international collaboration to improve resilience in the UK; what would be needed to improve international collaboration, and what barriers are still making collaboration difficult; how to measure the success of international partnerships. Considering the current difficult Ukrainian situation, participants also shared thoughts on the universal nature of culture, and what impact will this war have.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Canva.

#HeritageChat February 2022 – Storytelling and Heritage

Led on a wall that reads 'We are all made of stories'February’s #HeritageChat focused on Storytelling and Heritage.

Participants explored the elements that make a story really successful, giving also practical suggestions, and what is the potential of digital storytelling. They highlighted in particular the potential of reaching geographically diverse audiences. The chat then focused on community-led storytelling, with associated risks and opportunities, and the difficulties of telling stories about dark heritage.

The chat also explored how to measure the success of storytelling, and participants highlighted that the impact of storytelling is difficult to measure with numbers, as it involves emotions and reflections. Finally, participants discussed to what extent storytelling can be used to motivate the public become more engaged with important issues such as climate change. The power of giving examples and sharing stories is showcased in our report Heritage Responds, which aims to inspire heritage organisations to take action to fighting climate change through case studies.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Social Cut on Unsplash.

#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.