Tweet tweet tweet: conferences and COVID-19

12/06/2020   |   Lara Band

Over lockdown we’ve all been trying to find new distanced ways of doing old things. Conferences have been switching to online formats instead of cancelling or postponing: the Society for Post Medieval Archaeology congress in April this year switched over to Twitter instead, directly inspired by the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference or PATC for short.

Now in its fifth year, PATC aims to make conferences more equitable and accessible all round by minimising cost, time away and travel among other issues that can make attendence at conferences difficult. You don’t need a Twitter account to follow the conference (more on that below), or experience of Twitter itself: at least one presenter at PMAC20 had never used Twitter at all before.

The emphasis for #PATC5, held on 29 May, was ‘Public Archaeology in Lockdown’. Over 30 papers filled the jam packed day, on topics as varied as LIDAR and citizen science, archaeogaming, online exhibitions and CITiZAN’s own (and for the time being, virtual) Low Tide Trails

As with a real-life conference, papers are assigned a 20 minute slot: 15 minutes for the paper and 5 for questions. You send out a Tweet every minute or so, each one replying to your last to create a thread for people to follow. Twitter only allows 280 characters and four images per Tweet so it’s a great way of condensing research into the key points.

As mentioned above, if you aren’t on Twitter you can still catch up on #PATC5 papers. Click here and here to go directly to CITiZAN's two papers (or see our Facebook post for links to 'unrolled' versions). For other papers see the timetable. Then search for the following in Google (or your preferred search engine): Twitter, #PATC5 and the presenter’s name. You may come in halfway through a paper but click show this thread in blue at the bottom of the Tweet and you should be able to see it all. Search for the Society of Post Medival Archaeology Society #PMAC20 papers in the same way.

If there's a paper you'd like to read but can’t get to it, get in touch with me, and I’ll help you access it. Happy hunting!

Twitter paper for PATC5_thumb
Twitter paper for PATC5_thumb