Rethinking funding

With in-person meetings, we allocate funding to visas, elements of privacy, spaces for focused attention, meals, technology, and materials needed to make the workshop possible. Now that the money isn’t going to venue rental or accommodation, where should it go to achieve the care and safety of everyone involved? Is it really cheaper to move online? 

 

Funding direct support for participants

It is not often recognised that both online and offline events require a travel process— commuting to a space where they can devote their full attention to the matter at hand. What do ‘travel costs’ look like for attending a remote gathering? Participants at remote workshops should not have to bear the burden of their varied hidden costs to be fully present at your event. 

Consider: 
  • Why not include a flat per diem with no claims process that allows them to determine what they need to participate fully? This may include the cost for arranging for elder care, child care, cooked meals, renting a private space with internet access, paying for data, internet, and electricity, buying art materials needed to participate fully and commit themselves to the workshop. This could include sponsoring devices and apps. 

 

Funding a dedicated support team

An online team looks different  and may function at a slightly different dynamic than an offline team. While a clear terms of reference (TOR) are always needed for every organising team — online or offline —  at physical workshops, a lot of tasks are not obfuscated by the limitation of the screens we sit in front of, so someone can easily jump in and help if the other team members need them.

(Note from Liy and Zana: It would also be helpful to solicit a list of the typical tasks of the tech team as a resource for creating TORs.) 

Considerations on the documentation team: 
  • Making a list of expectations for writing and graphics. What would be important for both the immediate and long term? Is there a meta-layer of learning that you want to capture for future organizing? 
  • How can your documentation team be part of the agenda-making processes? What do they need to look out for from each day’s sessions in the workshop, and what should they do about it? Consider setting expectations and co-creating ways of working together during the workshop, especially on forming links between the more immediate work of a graphic documenter and more belated work of a rapporteur. They may need briefs about what needs to be captured at different points of each day. 
  • Is one documenter enough? Consider that recording the session is not a substitute for coherent documentation. For example, matching the chat box to what is being said on video— or compiling side conversations in chat— needs active work simultaneously and alongside documenting the event. In our experience it requires at least two rapporteurs to get a full sense of the event’s proceedings. 
  • Live visual documentation is an emergent practice. How do we explore it in online spaces? What expectations do we have of the process and how do we see it being useful beyond the event? In what ways can rapporteurs and artists support and build on each other’s work? 
Considerations on the tech team: 
  • How many ways can the tech team offer guidance to the participants? Some of your participants might be new to using the platforms and tools of the workshop. Consider the kind of support you want to make available to them and when. 
  • Can they offer a short custom tutorial asynchronously or in real-time to explain ways to use the features of each platform used for the remote storytelling workshop?