When the coronavirus pandemic triggered lockdowns across much of Eurasia this spring, the Prague Civil Society Centre shifted its programmes online, most notably with Unlock, our annual civic tech summit, becoming the Unlock(ed) Webinars series. But rather than just translating what would otherwise be an in-person talk or workshop into a video conference meeting, the Centre has retooled the Unlock programme to speak to the changing needs of civic activists in these uncertain times.
The first Unlock(ed) webinars, launched in April when social distancing rules were at their strictest in many countries in our region, covered topics like effective remote working, community building during a pandemic, and the psychological effects of isolation. Clinical psychologist and trainer Jolanta Cihanoviča presented tips for understanding and coping with stress and anxiety during lockdown, such as meditation, breathing techniques, and diet.
“The seminar was very useful. I especially liked the approaches of psychodiagnostics of stress and anxiety and specific tips on how to overcome psychological problems associated with self-isolation during quarantine,” said one of the webinar participants.
Providing clear and accurate information about the public health crisis has posed a challenge for journalists, bloggers, public health officials and others reporting on the pandemic. In the early days of the crisis, the Centre invited a highly respected Russian science journalist to give a webinar on the basics of the epidemiological situation, background on different countries’ approaches to stemming the spread, and how to find reliable data related to infection rates, testing, recoveries, etc.
Crunching the numbers of the Covid-19 crisis and presenting statistics in a clear and engaging way has also been a challenge for independent media. The Centre hosted a two-part Unlock(ed) Webinar on using data visualisations with data journalist Savia Hasanova. In the first part, she showed participants the ins and outs of Flourish, a popular tool for data visualisations, and in the second, she showed how to use Datawrapper, Infogram, and other tools for map making.
Several more Unlock(ed) Webinars will be rolled out in May and June, including a series on how to conceptualize, produce and launch a podcast.
In addition to Unlock(ed) Webinars, the Centre’s other key programmes have also moved online, including Switch, our programme supporting civic tech, Bistro.edu, an accelerator for online learning projects, and Video Quest, a caption video workshop.