‘Shaped by Steel’ is the first ever ‘Twitter’ conference to be hosted by Swansea University. With more traditional ‘face-to-face’ conferences cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the History Department’s ‘Social Worlds of Steel’ research project team is taking to Twitter as an alternative way to share research and heritage practice to a different audience – the Twittersphere.
Historians, archaeologists, and heritage professionals from six different countries, and at different stages of their careers, will deliver their papers as a series of live ‘tweets’, exploring the human dimensions of work and life in – and after – steel.
Session themes include the preservation and interpretation of steelworks heritage; the responses of workers and their communities to steelworks closures; workplace experiences and identities; and the sustainability of steel in an era of climate change.
The two-day programme offers a wide geographical perspective, taking in Wales and the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Germany, the USA and Sweden.
The conference programme includes:
- Leslie Mabon, of the University of the Highlands and Islands, on ‘Steel, Identity and Sustainability in the Steelmaking City of Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan’;
- Lachlan MacKinnon, of Cape Breton University, on ‘Modernising to Oblivion: Social Upheaval at the end of Integrated Steelmaking in Nova Scotia, Canada’
- Joan Heggie of the University of Teesside on ‘Steel Stories: making sense of a Teesside without Steel’.
Conference organisers Professor Louise Miskell and Dr Hilary Orange, of the College of Arts and Humanities, are delighted that the event has attracted such wide interest.
Professor Louise Miskell said:
‘We wanted the conference to be about understanding the human experience of this global industry and to tackle some of the big themes of environmental impact, de-industrialization and regeneration which face current and former steel communities today.’
Dr Hilary Orange said:
“We are delighted that so many of our colleagues, working in steel history and heritage, are willing to try out this innovative format. When so many are working from home, in lockdown, Twitter conferencing provides a low-cost and sustainable alternative to traditional academic meetings.”
One advantage over the traditional conference format is that anyone can ‘attend’ simply by following @SteelWorlds and join in with questions and discussion using the conference hashtag #SWOS20.
Everyone is welcome. The team will also be marking the end of the event with a virtual wine reception.