Online Closing Ceremony
Before we knew it, our lives turned upside down. In the current pandemic situation every big event was cancelled, so it's no surprise, that the Closing Ceremony of the NewPilgrimAge project as well. But fortunately Szombathely found an innovative way to make everything happen.
What was the original plan for the closing ceremony? How will you organize the event in the current pandemic situation?
Originally we planned a classic festive event in Szombathely: many participants, shining happy people playing a ’street game’ throughout Szombathely’s Saint Martin related places, the usual closing conference summarizing project results, as well as mistakes and lessons learnt, a study tour along Via Sancti Martini with the experience of getting very tired, very hungry but gaining spiritual insights. The pandemic with all the lockdowns in our countries forced us to redesign the event, with keeping as much features of the original agenda as possible. We will have an online study tour, an online game, video messages from each partner – basically we had to place all planned activities into the online space.
What are your thoughts: can an event be successful if the people are only connected online?
We are lucky that we have had 6 previous meetings, thus we have experience and memories of each other. We are also experienced in online meetings as 3-4 times we had to discuss occurring problems using online platforms. It helps us get connected. For our outside audience the situation is different: they will have a more distanced experience through the screen. On the other hand, it also has an advantage: originally –apart from the partners’ team members – only Szombathely people could take part of the event. In the changed situation partners have the chance to organise their local online closing event, thus celebrate the project’s successes with local participants in their national language.
How do you prepare for the event?
With all our creativity! The shift was however not easy. Focus points changed, and I must say organising an online event is more difficult as there are many new technical challenges – which online platform to use, how to prepare and send videos, language problems, subtitles etc. But of course it is a very valuable experience and knowledge we all acquire now.
What will be the most exciting part of the event?
The game! There will be a google forms based game that is getting finished just now, and the original English text can be translated to national languages of the partners. At the end of the Closing Online Conference on 28 May at 14.00 every participant will have the chance to play the game in English and afterwards it becomes available for anybody.