Being Hybrid is a guide to adding hybrid provision to your literature event. Why? Because everyone thinks this is a huge challenge – and it’s not. We are sure that most events can offer a basic range of hybrid position – they just need to understand how.
What’s the problem?
With a full return to in-person events, more and more literature organisations are casting Zoom to the winds and reopening doors to welcome back the crowds.
However, in doing so, they are simultaneously closing the door to another group of attendees. This is a potentially far larger group. This group crosses regional and national barriers. Indeed, it is more geographically dispersed, more likely to be disabled, be poorer, have caring responsibilities, and be unable to attend your in-person event. Many of these people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Online programming was vital for their connection to the world, and it’s been taken away.
What are you going to do about this?
In an ideal world your hybrid programming would be equal in value to your in-person programming, with a budget for your online venue, support team, and access. You would be organising the announcements, workshops and registration. You might not be running it as identical to your in-person stream, but you would have built them simultaneously from the beginning of your planning work. However, if this isn’t the case, you might feel a bit stuck.
You’ve got a designed and curated event, a very limited amount of funding remaining, and potentially not much time. Maybe you suddenly realised in dawning horror that you haven’t got a hybrid version. Maybe someone reminded you that without a hybrid offering, you risk excluding very marginalised audiences. Either way, you’re overwhelmed. The idea of suddenly going hybrid might feel like a huge amount of work, with very little time, for an unclear payoff.
It needs doing anyway. Not just because it’s a matter of arts, but because it’s a matter of your moral centre: your commitment to access and equality.
This guide isn’t “how to run an accessible hybrid event”. To run an accessible hybrid event, you need to have built access provisions into the main event. These include BSL interpreters, captioners, rest breaks and more – that you may or may not have in place. Whilst it will make recommendations on how to use those provisions you have in a hybrid event, ultimately, if they’re not there – that’s the subject for a different guide.
What is Being Hybrid for?
We wrote this guide to support a time-poor and resource-poor organisation to offer the best possible hybrid event. When we talk about a hybrid event, there’s a difference between streaming an event and it being a hybrid event. A streamed event offers people the chance to view it from anywhere – but a hybrid event focuses on engagement, on participation, whether in-person or online. While streaming events is very valuable, hybrid events go far beyond that. This is what we hope you can reach towards with the help of this guide.
I’m not going to pretend you’ll necessarily get high numbers. You may be looking at an empty stream for hours – but this isn’t because of the lack of demand for hybrid work, it’s because of the lack of planning and promotion. And if nobody comes, was it worth doing? Yes. You’re building skills and expertise in your organisation, you’re offering the possibility of attending to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to come, and if you try it in an ad-hoc way this year, you can include it in a funding bid next year.
What does Being Hybrid cover?
This guide covers:
- Five reasons for making your event hybrid
- Going hybrid with limited time
- Going hybrid with limited technology
- Putting it into practice
- Beyond audiences: hybrid speakers & facilitators
- Access and hybrid events
Accessing the full guide
There are lots of different ways you can access Being Hybrid. These are linked below:
Plain English summary of the guide
Shorter version of the full guide
- A webpage containing a shorter version of the report
- A formatted .pdf file containing a shorter version of the report
- A word document containing a shorter version of the report
- A video with the shorter version of the report in audio, British Sign Language and captions
Full length guide
- A webpage about the full version of the report
- A formatted .pdf file containing a full version of the report
- A word document containing a full version of the report
We apologise that at this time the Full Guide is not available in BSL or audio formats. As the guide was not funded, we were limited in the range of accessible versions we could provide. Many thanks to Spread the Word for funding the British Sign Language translation. If you need an accessible version that is not currently available, please email email@example.com and we will do our best to create it.