Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education breaks records with successful webinar

Over 1400 people attended a live webinar on 16th September, with many more catching up on the recording (available on YouTube here). It was the largest online event ever hosted by Kingston University.

The webinar was chaired by Irene Tuffrey-Wijne (Professor of Intellectual Disability & Palliative Care and the Palliative Care at the Joint Faculty), who had put it together with the Palliative Care for People with Learning Disabilities (PCPLD) Network.

The PCPLD Network (of which Prof Tuffrey-Wijne was chair) had planned a one-day conference in Cardiff on that day, titled End of Life Care for People with Learning Disabilities: Are we prepared? It had to be cancelled because of Covid-19. Instead, they invited the keynote speakers (Dr Kathryn Mannix and Baroness Ilora Finlay) to speak at a 1.5 hour webinar. Professor Tuffrey-Wijne also contributed a talk.

To keep the voices of people with real-life experience central to the topic, the webinar included pre-recorded interviews with six people with learning disabilities, a family carer and a support worker – seven short videos in total. The webinar ended with Tiny Lights, an uplifting lockdown song involving hundreds of people with and without learning disabilities – causing delegates to tweet that their mascara was running!

All this was quite a technological feat. Kingston University used the new platform Microsoft Live Events, which took quite a lot of rehearsal time to get to grips with. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Anastasiya Stravolemova, our events manager, it went like clockwork.

The feedback from delegates was overwhelmingly positive. We received over 600 comments in the Q&A box. The event was live-tweeted, and Twitter went into overdrive. Professor Tuffrey-Wijne says:

We were blown away by the number of people signing up for this webinar. It just kept rising and rising… I absolutely love it that this way, we can really communicate and talk to each other. I love it that we can include people in this who would never otherwise have been able to join us. By popular demand, we are now planning a series of monthly webinars!

She has written a blog post about her experience of hosting this webinar, which you can read here.