October saw the launch of SCoJeC’s eagerly anticipated hybrid events project, Jewish Scotland Connected (JSC), with a training session followed by an interactive meeting in Edinburgh’s Salisbury Centre. The purpose of the project is to involve participants who cannot attend live events as fully as those in the room, in order to instil a greater feeling of belonging and engagement, so it was appropriate that this was the first time the project team had met in the same room!
Programme Manager Mike Beral began with a two-hour tutorial explaining what it is necessary to consider in order to set up a hybrid event, covering topics such as the best layout for the room, and how to ensure quality audio in order to enhance the hybrid experience. Several volunteers from the Edinburgh Jewish community were present as they sought to expand their technical knowledge in order to run hybrid events independently.
Feedback from the training was positive and will serve as a good foundation for the more in-depth training sessions scheduled for November. See below for how to get involved in these and master the skill of running hybrid events for yourself or for your organisation.
The training session was followed by an event hosted by the Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre (EJCC) and chaired by David Neville. This was EJCC’s first live audience event since the pandemic began, and Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director of Jewish human rights group René Cassin, gave a presentation from her home in London to raise awareness of the oppression of Uyghurs in China.
Participants at the Salisbury Centre were joined by other guests on Zoom as the JSC team facilitated equal participation of both groups to provide a truly hybrid occasion. But not all things can be recreated digitally – the refreshments on offer at the event were hard to beat!
Hilary Rifkind, Chair of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation, who attended the training session live and the EJCC event remotely, remarked “It felt quite intimate and probably no different from being in the room. And when someone asked a question from the [live] audience that was fine.” The JSC team will learn from this experience for future events and aim to build continuously on past performance, but the measure of success of the project will be determined by similar sentiments by remote audience participants.
A few days later, Jewish Scotland Connected facilitated another hybrid event, this time the launch of a new book by former SCoJeC Chair Kenneth Collins. Zev's Children – an International Jewish Family follows the descendents of Kenneth's five-times-great great-grandfather from the Ukraine in 1740 to present day Moscow, Buenos Aires, Boston, Jerusalem, and, of course, Glasgow.
Some 50 people from around Scotland and many other parts of the world participated remotely alongside those present at the Archives Centre, and Archives trustee Fiona Brodie commented, "I worked with Adam and Sami from the Project's tech team, for several hours ahead of the event, and we made use of some of the new equipment purchased by the Project. As well as those present on the evening, 44 devices were logged in, and the event was also recorded and uploaded to YouTube channel for others to view later. The event was an opportunity for the Project team to learn about technological issues and how to ensure the best positioning of equipment and the audience in the room, and thanks are due to the Project for an excellent start."