2020 marked our first online Convention, otherwise known as #Locality20 unConvention! As we head into a new year likely to be packed with virtual events, we reflect on what we learned from running an online event of this scale.
The power of community can’t be stopped by a global pandemic – our members have been as adaptable and resilient as ever
- Entertainment is a must. We weren’t sure if we could capture the energy and power of community online, but we certainly tried our hardest! With a carnival dancercise session, pub quizzes, virtual visits and – most important of all – regular tea breaks – we did our best to make our delegates feel as connected as possible in our virtual conference hall.
- It’s impossible for everything to go to plan, so make a contingency plan and be adaptable. As we had over 40 sessions on offer – that’s a lot of Zoom rooms – we were bound to encounter a technical hitch or two. But thanks to brilliant technical support from our team, we were able to fix these issues as quickly as possible.
- Imposter syndrome is rife in our sector. However, this can be seen as a strength rather than a weakness. Those of us who feel like ‘imposters’ may be able to bring fresh ideas and be best placed to recognise the gaps in provision or knowledge.
- Being a ‘gobby disruptive’ is a duty! If we care about social injustice, which we do, we need to call out and challenge structures that aren’t right or fair to everyone, rather than letting them go unchecked.
- Social justice organisations can find it harder to perform well on diversity – and patterns of bias and oppression persist as they are microcosms of wider society.
- We must not value comfort above the need for honest conversations about racism. We will continue to have these difficult conversations at Locality to make sure our structures and processes work for everyone.
- Our network is a vital source of knowledge and experience. Members contributed to sessions on a breadth of topics including good governance, the climate crisis, coastal communities and community led housing. Those of us who ran sessions were inspired by the comments and ideas delegates shared.
- The power of community can’t be stopped by a global pandemic – our members have been as adaptable and resilient as ever and continued to transform lives in their communities. We were built for this.
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