The first phase of Trust in Play had reached his peak yesterday (May 31st) with the closing of the Open call for the research of the first group of Trainee that will take part of the schools first years activities.
It was a very successful and exciting period (from April 15th til May 31st) during which we set up a customized version of Discourse, we planned a strategy, we launched the call and we organized online activities to start sharing contents immediately and of course a landing page.
This post is to sum up what happened and share what we learned.
Edgeryders in particular is responsible for the Nomad (or nomadic) branch of the school i.e. our goal is to organize and learn mostly remotely with creators that are everywhere in Europe (both me, @natalia_skoczylas and @noemi are involved in different capacities).
1. Put the community at the center since the beginning.
During our kickoff meeting in Berlin (January 2019) we were, thanks to @matthias already able to use the discourse platform, and together we committed to use it and familiarize during the kick-off. This was painful and my feeling is that after that experiment not all the partners felt comfortable on using it in the following months, also the activities were reduced at that time.
But because the platform was there we were able to engage with it and one decision that was taken was to have some sort of interaction in it mandatory for everybody that was interested on participating to the school.
It’s again raising the bar for someone that want to participate and “it didn’t make the call so open”, but at the same time we thought that the discourse platform will be the place where all this people will meet, and why don’t start since the beginning to meet to each other?
In the form for the application there was then a request for the link of your “presentation” comment on the platform
2. This little trick created this a thread of 212 posts so far, with stories coming in from all around the world, interactions between the applicants, with a visible immediate value for everyone that landed there.
You can read it though the conversations that are naturally happening.
Some of the applicants figured out that in order to stand out they have to start a new thread and this is interesting too, it means that there is a familiarity with the tech that this little choice was able to enhance.
3. The number of complete application that we received is high, -we were expecting half of it-, and the quality is also really high (I didn’t look at all of them yet but at first screening everyone put a lot of work in it), the Nomad branch received 54,3% of it, the Athens branch 32,1% and the Amsterdam branch 13,6%.
Amsterdam has a 1/3 selection ratio which is enough to have astonishing Trainees.
4. As Nomad branch we used 2 main strategy to communicate the call, but I have the feeling that the result was more organic then driven by those.
First we mapped a lot of community that were connected with our topic and we shared the call but then, and I think this was a key feature of the open call, we organized two webinars, i.e. conversation with guests artists around topic that could be interesting for the Trainee that we are engaging.
For the first one we had 30 people registered to the event and a presence of 20 guests during the webinar, for the second the number of registration rises to 48 but the number of people present was around 25. The good news though was that a lot of the creatives that were present the second time were not present the first time.
Webinars are not easy to attend, you have to stick to a certain time and topic, but all the feedback that we’ve received where really positive, and personally, I believe that sharing curated contents for free, is a feature that will define the kind of school we want to be and will attract the students that we want to have and the organizations that we want to work with.
So to sum up:
Sharing free content immediately
Put your face out
Now the call is closed and we will select a small number of trainee though ;( and we are scared that this value that we have will got lost because:
a) we are not structured to do community management (there is no money in the budget for it and this is not the short term goal of the project, but could be a long term goal)
b) the open call was the main reason because the applicants got involved so if they are not selected what could keep them interacting to each other? Or will they interested on it?
Did you see some possible solution?
Luckily for me I’m in good company: for three days I will spend time with @johncoate in northern California so we are going to talk about it but I feel that all of you have a lot of stories about it that could help us going in one direction that is better for the designers that shared their story with us.