Since 2018, the GYA has organized 2-day science leadership workshops for its newest members in connection with its Annual General Meetings. The workshops, based on the Africa and ASEAN science leadership programmes, give participants space to reflect together on how to be leaders in diverse contexts: in their research contexts, in the institutions and communities where they live and work, and in the GYA.
This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the new cohort of GYA members could not meet in person. But with limited 5-year membership terms, new member integration early in their GYA membership is critical to maintaining an active organization. To create a platform for member integration, despite the challenges involved, the decision was made to hold an online workshop, spread out over the course of four days and split into two time-zone cohorts: “West” and “East”. From 26-29 May 2020, the first virtual new member science leadership workshop was expertly and creatively facilitated by Know Innovation, with support from GYA members as mentors. In addition to their separate sessions, the two cohorts met together twice, at the first and final plenary of the workshop, meaning uncomfortable meeting times for participants in some parts of the world, but a chance to meet even more fellow new members.
The first experience with this workshop in virtual format was very promising. Using a range of online platforms, including KI’s own host platform, plus Zoom, Mural, Slack, googledrive, and pre-recorded videos on youtube, participants were given different opportunities not only to listen, but also to interact in small groups, to generate ideas together and to visualize and create creative content in the process. The online workhsop also allowed some new members to participate who otherwise would not have been able to travel this year, for family or other reasons. Some members, however, experienced increased challenges to active participation in the virtual workshop, due to lack of access to reliable bandwidth or electricity in their homes. All workshop results and collaborative tools discussed are available to all participants on the workshop platform.
Over 35 new members took part in the workshop, experiencing and reflecting on collaborative leadership and sparking the beginning of lasting connections for the coming five years.
Read more about the GYA and science leadership programmes here.