CCAT held its final bi-annual meeting online on 15th and 16th Nov. 2021. It was a great opportunity for the team to reflect on the project’s work since it started in Sept. 2019. Little did we know when we began the enormous challenges the world would face in early 2020 with the emergence of COVID-19. In the project’s early days, we had concerns about a no-deal Brexit, but this was replaced by a much bigger concern when COVID-19 arrived at our shores.
Just six months into the project, we were in lockdown and working from home. Until this point, we had been busy developing initiatives to engage face-to-face with communities in Fingal and Pembrokeshire, but this all came to a very sudden stop. While there was a lot of uncertainty about when people would be able to meet in person again, we decided not to wait and see but to move our activities online. In hindsight, this was a great decision, and we spent the next few months developing new online engagement initiatives, which have been very successful in engaging people with change. These new activities ranged from online Minecraft workshops, participatory mapping projects, virtual reality experiences, geodesign initiatives and online educations resources. We also held several online events that were very well attended. Through this process, the team gained lots of new skills in digital citizen engagement.
In the end, we only had two bi-annual events in person, one in Milford Haven and one in Cork and the rest were held online. We did test several virtual reality meeting apps, which was a fascinating experience. While we missed the chats over dinner, the online events proved to be very effective. We reduced our carbon footprint and were more environmentally sustainable, which was in line with our eco-code.