Throughout the degrees of our University of Chester archaeology students we emphasise the need to conduct archaeological research that’s public facing, public engaged, as well as ethical and original in equal measure. This approach fits in perfectly with this ethos for our higher education programmes in archaeology (undergraduate and postgraduate) that we extend to discussions of the broader public realm in which archaeology operates in contemporary society.

Addressing the spirit of this approach to our teaching, the first public talk for the University of Chester’s brand-new Culture & Society Research and Knowledge Exchange Institutes was by archaeologist and TV presenter Natasha Billson who spoke on ‘From Trenches to Screen: Social Media, Great British Dig & Public Archaeology’.

I was honoured to introduce and chair Natasha’s talk in which she used her own career as a basis from which to conduct a fascinating and wide-ranging review and evaluation of the current state of public archaeology in relation to television and social media.

The pressing and insightful questions, many by University of Chester undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers, took the debate in a range of relevant and challenging directions.

The students greatly benefitted from not only asking Natasha questions and also from meeting with her after the talk.

Here’s a group photograph of some of the students together with myself, Natasha, and Dr Morn Capper.

Check out the comprehensive live Twitter thread from Natasha’s talk here by the Archaeology Chester Twitter account (@ArchaeologyChe1) in which Natasha offers both insights and practical tips for public archaeology in the 2020s. Thanks to doctoral researcher Ellie Chambers for doing this!

For more about Natasha’s archaeological and TV work, check out her YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/BehindtheTrowel/

her TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@tash_archaeo

and her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tash_archaeo/