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Giving voice to the REN community: SIG-Marcomms meets in Ljubljana

Breakout discussion during one of the sessions at SIG-Marcomms. Photo Credits to Ariela Herček, Arnes.

“The engineers of the future will be poets” – Terence McKenna

The quote was shared during one of the workshops at the Special Interest Group on Marketing and Communications meeting and is the perfect summary for the group’s work and purpose: giving voice to the research and education networking community and promoting its technical activities and services.

SIG-marcomms hosted the first meeting of this year in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 5-6 March, thanks to precious support and hospitality of the local NREN, Arnes. 27 participants had the chance to spend a couple of days in Ljubljana to explore the world of podcasts and storytelling, to learn about service marketing and discuss the activities within the GÉANT Community Programme, alongside hearing various updates from NRENs, both in-person and online.

Day 1

Damian Niemir, PSNC, editing the podcasts recorded by the participants.

The first workshop of the meeting was led by Damian Niemir (PSNC). His was not only a session on podcasts, but also on storytelling. Developing a podcasts is about telling a story worth sharing. Having the equipment is not enough – although key to a good end result – but one also needs a title, a topic and a strategy to attract listeners. The workshop didn’t stop at the theory. In the afternoon, the face-to-face participants split in smaller groups to record their very own 5-minute podcasts and put into practice what they had learned from the theoretical session. It was inspiring to see their creativity come to life and to see interest in replicating the initiative in the respective local organisations.

Tamara Gvenetadze presenting at SIG-Marcomms

Tamara Gvenetadze presenting at SIG-MarcommsThe same day, a few NRENs shared various updates and insights from their own activities. Ariela Herček (Arnes) walked the participants through the steps of their recent Hackathon, aimed at presenting Arnes’ projects in the field of Open Science and HPC to the general public. Naira Kocharyan (Asnet-Am) reported about her recent visit to their Malawian NREN, MAREN, as part of the GÉANT Twinning Programme, where Naira delivered a marketing workshop. She shared interesting insights into the local coverage of the event on social media and the press. Tamara Gvenetadze (GRENA) presented on the promotion of the EU-funded project Micro-GEAR and the NREN’s educational courses.

After lunch, the presentations continued. Erika Trotto and Elis Bertazzon (GARR) shared how they managed to connect with end-users at the Maker Fair in Rome thanks to a videogame. “Network Invaders” is a realistic interpretation of the Italian NREN’s network and digital environment that is usually invisible to the public. Next up was Davina Luyten (Belnet) who spoke about the importance of a transversal approach in promoting cybersecurity awareness, which sees communications and security experts collaborate at all times. Davina is part of the Awareness task of Work Package 8 (Security) of the GÉANT GN5-1 project. Last but not least, Jennifer Ross (GÉANT) launched the new Compendium website, which not only hosts historical data from past years, but has now also a new and more user-friendly look and functions to filter and search for specific data.

After a full day of knowledge sharing and practical sessions, the participants in Ljubljana enjoyed an entertaining walking tour of the city and had a taste of local Slovenian food.

Day 2

Breakout group creating personas during the service marketing workshop

The second day of the meeting started with an interactive session led by Karl Meyer and Leonardo Marino from GÉANT on service marketing. Service Marketing is about understanding why and who – why one is promoting the service, what problem the service is aiming to solve, and for whom. Using the example of eduVPN, the presenters challenged the participants to create personas, identify pleasure and pain points and what sort of messaging would work best with them.

The discussion continued with Dawn Ng (GÉANT) who led a session on optimising engagement in the GÉANT Community Programme to better reflect our community. Participants discussed ways to improve the Programme and intensify the community feeling, new ideas to make the TNC24 Community Hub a space for the community to come together and learn about ongoing joint activities, and how marcomms experts in the NRENs environment can help the GÉANT Innovation Programme reach the right audience.

It was nice to see old friends and new joiners come together to share lessons learned, learn new skills and step in to boost the community feeling. Thank you to all those who joined both in-person and online, and a special thank to our colleagues at Arnes who made all of this possible.

The slides of the presentations can be downloaded on the event page.

The next meeting will be hosted alongside TNC24 in Rennes, France on Monday 10 June. The meeting will not be streamed online. To register to attend in person, please purchase a Side Meeting Pass on the page. The agenda will be shared in the coming weeks.

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