On Wednesday 27 Jan and Thursday 28 Jan of this week, the 6th University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference took place on Microsoft Teams and Twitter on the theme: DigiDeath: Public Archaoelogies of Digital Mortality.

Here are details about the event:

DigiDeath 2021 Timetable – 23-01-21

DigiDeath 2021 Programme 23-01-21


The Uni did a great press release too.

And our closing discussant, Dr Liv Nilsson Stutz, has composed a blog-post reviewing the event.

I facilitated the conference, but the students did a lot too. As well as the timetabling, poster and logo design, and chairing, Jade Foxall live-tweeted throughout. In addition to those credited in the timetable above, I’d like to thank learning technologists Rich Hind and Sam Chadwick for supporting the event so well, and to Reanna Phillips who worked as a demonstrator to support the students through the preparation sessions culminating in the conference.  To support the event, the students set up the following links for the conference:

They have their own WordPress blog too! https://digideath2021.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR3nvROSgjV6uglqPIvWB4DHzf6a5RJD9vDaRjcq008e-7FqG6i_UakfBks

This was a conference with 7 discrete components:

  • 6 Twitter presentations (by me; Robyn Lacy (Memorial University of Newfoundland); Vanessa Campanacho  (American Museum of Natural History) and Fracisca Alves Cadoso (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa); Anna J Fairley (Liverpool University), Richard Osgood (Defence Infrastructure Organisation), Kenneth Brophy and Andrew Watson (University of Glasgow);
  • 10 student live and recorded presentations
  • 4 keynote talks by Dr Lindsey Büster (University of York), Dr Hayley Mickleburgh (Linnaeus University), Aoife Sutton (University of Bradford), Professor Tim Thompson (Teesside University) on varied and fascinating aspects of  digital public archaeology of death.
  • A live session discussant who reviewed key themes and presented the findings of the discussant’s Continuing Bonds project (Dr Karina Croucher, University of Bradford)
  • 4 video presentations – talks by Dr Patrick Randolph-Quinney (Northumbria University), John Tierney (Historic Graves Project), Kat Fliegel (University of Manchester), Tom Farrow (University of Chester)
  • A video-interview with Liz Montgomery (Cheshire West Museums)
  • A far-ranging and insightful closing discussion identifying challenges for public archaeology, unlocking new dimensions of engagement, and ethical dilemmas by Dr Liv Nilsson Stutz (Linneus University)

I collated the Twitter presentations and all the responses in 3 Twitter Moments.





In terms of the content of the event, this was a truly far-ranging and insightful set of perspectives on the digital connections between mortuary archaeology and public archaeology building directly from recent work in this field. I learned a great deal and I was very impressed by the quality of delivery and content exhibited by the student presents. The 4 keynotes talks, 5 video presentations and 6 Twitter talks were packed with original perspectives and approaches to the digital public archaeology of death, exploring and questioning our theories, methods and practice.

I want to thank all the students and speakers, as well as the c. 33 delegates to attended, as well as the many more who read and commented on the Twitter presentations.

Already, feedback has been immense, as with the previous 5 student conferences. Indeed, I’m very proud of what the students and the other presenters achieved. In fact, I’m going to go further and post here the anonymised comments thus far!

  • Just wanted to say congratulations to you and the 3rds on yet another successful student conference. I thought given the digital circumstances, it went really well. The students did well overall and the multiple key notes provided an air of professionalism that if it wasn’t stated, I dont think anyone would have been able to tell the difference to a normal academic conference. 
  • I only caught bits of your deathly conference unfortunately, but the bits I did see were great!
  • Thanks Howard for the opportunity to be involved, it was a great day 🙂
  • Some really interesting talks already in the innovative archaeology student-run digital conference (especially thinking about the politics of digital remembrance!) well done everyone!!!
  • Thank you so much to all the students, guests and everyone behind the scenes – a great conference!
  •  Some fantastic and interesting talks by the students (many of which are giving their first-ever presentation) archaeology conference!
  •  I just wanted to say thanks for inviting me to be a part of the conference and how well I thought it went (despite technical glitches). The students were so professional in their presentations and their chairing- they did indeed do you and themselves proud!
  • I would also like to say thank you so much for the invite, Howard, the conference was great- the students did a really fantastic job! Looking forward to seeing more work in the future!
  • Thank you so much Howard, for a great conference. It was truly inspiring to hear and discuss the great work by your students (please convey to them how impressed we are), and to get a full day to explore and discuss these topics with such a great line-up of colleagues. Thank you all for an inspiring day! Congratulations once more to a very successful conference.
  • Absolutely – was a really good day and thanks for the invitation. I also thought the student presentations were great. Well done to all involved!
  • Thanks again for the invitation to take part in DigiDeath, it was a pleasure and I enjoyed the papers and discussions all very much. I was very impressed too by the quality of the student presentations; great Howard to have such a wonderful group of students to work with!
  • I can’t imagine what it must have been like coordinating this – herding (digital) cats comes to mind. Have very much enjoyed all the papers; congratulations to the students for pulling it off!
  • It’s looking good from what I’ve seen…students deserve a drink for this!
  • It was great Howard – really interesting and lovely to see all those students actually able to participate well in a conference in spite of everything. Huge congratulations
  • Twas a good refresher for me too – some new perspectives. I thought the conference format was v good. Well done.
  • Thank you so much for the opportunity to present our research at the conference. It is a great initiative with the students.
  • Great stuff this morning, Howard, sorry I had to duck out but you have some very impressive students, please pass on my congratulations and admiration! + Howard, sorry I could only be around for the first few lectures but I am so impressed with what you organised and the quality of work done by your students, from presentations to chairing. You have really got something good going so congratulations on another successful event.
  • I was able to watch the majority of the student conference this week (although I do have internet issues here so missed parts). I have to say – it was excellent!  The student’s papers along with the choice of guest speakers was perfect. I enjoyed the experience – you have some great students there!!
  • (from a colleague to the students direct) I was in the audience most of the day and, as Howard said, you certainly did yourselves and the university proud with engaging and thought-provoking papers and professional chairing and organising! A massive well done to you all.
  • (from another colleague to the students direct)I just wanted to let you all know what a fab job I think you all did yesterday. I was stealthily there in the virtual audience and thought you’d put together and run a really interesting and engaging event. Your papers were well considered and together with the excellent range of additional speakers I thought you covered some seriously pertinent and groundbreaking topics and ideas. You should be very proud of yourselves. I am!