Blue Bird Sessions

The Blue Bird Sessions will run over two days on 28 and 29 October 2020. The Blue Bird Tent is a story-telling tent at FestivalCHAT and will bring great tales and ripping yarns in contemporary and historical archaeology to a wider audience through the Twitter platform. If you have a great CHAT-related story to tell, and have never had the opportunity to tell it before, then this is the tent at FestivalCHAT for you. We encourage you to take full advantage of the Twitter format and we welcome the innovative, the unconventional, and the wholly original to dazzle and delight us through words, video, sound and images. Maybe you’d like to play on the images and focus less on the words, or present poetry or short videos to make your story more engaging.

We invite short proposals for 20 minute slots in the Blue Bird Tent. Please refer to the themes on the FestivalCHAT website, although we are open to proposals on other topics. Proposals are welcomed from those based in any part of the world, at any career stage and in any language. At this stage please submit a title, 100-200 word description and keywords by the 18th September call for proposals deadline to

But, is this a Twitter conference?

The Blue Bird Sessions are based on the idea of Twitter conferencing, but we’re running the Blue Bird Tent in the full spirt of a festival to encourage and promote the art of story-telling in archaeology, rather than conceiving of it as a conference. Besides, we’re not using the word conference this year. Our tag line for FestivalCHAT is …

Who can take part in the Blue Bird Tent?

If you have access to a Twitter account you can take part, either by using your own account, a company or project account. We can support anyone who is new to Twitter.

How will the Blue Bird Sessions be structured?  

We will have a line-up (instead of a program), there will be timed slots. Acts start tweeting as soon as their allotted time begins regardless of whether other acts have or haven’t finished. The sessions will be introduced and there will be time for you to engage with members of the Twitter audience back-stage after you’ve presented.

How should I prepare?

We’ll send you further information on how to prepare for your appearance in the tent. The basics are that you’ll need to prepare a thread of up to 15 tweets to create your story. The skill is in getting to the essence of your topic. Tweets are threaded consecutively by replying to each one in turn (it’s important to do this so your entire thread can be accessed from the first tweet). Each tweet needs to fit within the 280 character limit. You can also add links, images and short video clips. The hashtag #FestivalCHAT2020 should be used in every tweet to help festival-goers find the tent.

What are the advantages of taking part?

The Public Archaeology Twitter Conference #PATC4 was one of the first to spearhead this style of engagement and they address some of the advantages in their FAQs:

“social media event that occurs from the comfort of your desk/sofa/bed/bus/whatever. This event is meant to bring together public archaeologists from around the world in an online setting to encourage communication and collaboration, which also happens to be free, easy to follow and allows for multi-stranded communications, without the hassle of flights, accommodation and canapés.”

One main advantage is that people across time-zones can come to the Blue Bird Tent and the audience reach is potentially much greater than at a traditional CHAT meeting. Of course, if acts leave their threads on Twitter they can be accessed after the tent has been dismantled and FestivalCHAT is over.

Examples of great stories told at Twitter conferences recently are:

Kenny Brophy on rock art in the urban setting #PATC4

John Winterburn on trains and landscape in southern Jordan #PMAC20

Eric Tourigny on Taxidermy as Material Culture

@SoniaOverall and #distancedrift

Ashley Morgan and the experience of growing up in a steeltown #SWOS20