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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

Culture and Sustainability- why 'hybrid' events matter so much now

Communications in the cultural sector a few years back looked very different to right here and now.

We can now see and speak to our colleagues online at the touch of a button, we've learnt more about how to communicate with our audiences over video, we've brought content creation alive on multiple social media platforms and we've commissioned digital wizards to help us tell our stories.

We've thought and are continuing to think about accessibility and connection and keep striving to better our skills in this area.

So the age of working with people both in person or online or just online is most definitely here! It's always a joy to work with Berwick based illustrator Katie Chappell.

She's been really busy over the last couple of years working for companies all over the globe. I caught up with her over email recently after reading an article she wrote on the benefits of hybrid events.

I've personally commissioned her in partnership with cultural organisations and projects to illustrate live or record in graphic form and she always brings humour, fun and a bucket load of creativity to an event.

As us event producers have become more empowered around tech this last few years, we've been able to connect children in classrooms with the power of their ideas brought to life with illustrations on an iPad, note take in new ways, audio record, screen shot photos in video meetings... the list goes on.

Personally, I think the pandemic has given some of us more opportunity to learn and experiment with new forms of tech and what's more it's really exciting news for the environment - long may it continue!

(c) Katie Chappell, children participating in ideas generation Seahouses Primary School commissioned as part of a partnership with National Trust.

During one of the many UK lockdowns, I worked with Katie in a creative writing workshop for teachers as part of a freelance role with Woodhorn Museum.

Katie was tasked to bring characters to life and record the process of our zoom workshop with her illustration. It was the first time I consciously realised the power of visual note taking on both enthusiasm and creativity of our participants!

Over to Katie on her take on "hybrid events"

Hybrid (a blend of in person and online events) can be flexible, bring mental health benefits and save our planet too.

On flexibility, Katie says;

The flexibility of a hybrid event means that attendees who live in rural locations can attend easily. Parents don’t have to worry about childcare. Carers can stay with their loved ones while attending.
Also, if you’re reaching a global audience, the joy of hybrid events is cross-country collaboration. We’ve never been so well connected.

Being based in rural Northumberland like Katie, I completely agree. I logged onto an event Northern Stage in Newcastle were running (both in person and online) for creatives a couple of weeks ago on a 'non work day' for 40 minutes while my daughter was napping. I felt connected and updated and with my current work schedule it was enough to "pop in".

On access Katie says;

Not all disabilities are visible. And not all events are accessible. Even if you’ve thought of everything for the in-person event, streaming online will make it even better.
Virtual events include SO many more people. You can also add live captions, translation, sign language, and visuals via live illustration or brilliant interesting PowerPoint slides. Over 60% of us are visual learners.

Read more of Katie's thoughts on hybrid events in her BRILLIANT BLOG here and check her top 10 reasons to keep thinking about hybrid events in your creative process, projects and work.

(c) Katie Chappel

Are you planning any hybrid events? We'd love to share your process and promote what you are doing so please drop us a line

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