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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday August 17, 2022

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Gina van der Linden

Gina van der Linden

Senior Event Manager , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Athina Papadopoulou

Athina Papadopoulou

Engagement & Events Coordinator , OpenAIRE

Going hybrid - bringing events in the cultural heritage sector online and on-site

With this year’s Europeana conference planned as a hybrid event, event managers Gina van der Linden and Athina Papadopoulou share how they have been adapting to new ways of working in the cultural heritage sector and share tips for organising your own hybrid events.

Children riding donkeys on the beach
Donkey Rides on the Beach
c.1890 - c.1901
The Netherlands

Bringing together events professionals at the start of the pandemic 

In the two and a half years since COVID-19 entered our lives, the world has been trying to manage and adjust. There has been a plethora of research, articles and blog posts about how we experienced the pandemic, and the changes made to the way we fundamentally exist, meet and do business with each other. 

When the pandemic broke out, event professionals were tasked with a next-to-impossible task overnight; cancel everything and set up virtual alternatives. To accommodate these changes, online event programme tools proliferated and new approaches had to be developed. You can read some of our reflections on these changes in an earlier Pro news post

When it became clear that things would not get back to ‘normal’ for a while, the Europeana Events team started to reach out to other event professionals working in the cultural heritage sector to organise regular informal virtual coffees. With this, a small community was born. Within the group, it was easy to talk to each other, share concerns, and most importantly, experiences! Researching and trying all kinds of new tools and programmes was an easier task as a group. 

Using our learnings - the move toward hybrid events

Fast forward two years, our communities are now accustomed to not travelling, and interacting with each other online, via a diverse range of online tools. Yet with the possibility of events happening in person again, event professionals are heading to a new challenge of organising professional, engaging on-site events with an equally engaging virtual alternative running simultaneously! 

Again, this change isn’t an easy one. Depending on the quality you are aiming for and to make sure that both your audiences are getting the same experience, hybrid events take a lot more effort and a significantly larger budget.

Looking back at previous on-site-only events, the biggest difference is probably that most roles and responsibilities have been duplicated. So start early by recruiting the help of colleagues to run your hybrid event in the smoothest way possible. Not only do you need people looking after your on-site guests but also people looking after your online guests at every single session are needed. Clear communication between those two groups is key to creating a successful event. 

This does not only apply to the plenary or parallel sessions but also to coffee breaks and lunch. Think about running a nice video for your online guests while your on-site guests are having a coffee or lunch and make those breaks longer so people get enough time to network or can get away from their computers. With regards to the technical support at your venue, we advise working with a company that has experience in bringing both audiences nicely together on one platform.

Find out more

We have recently added guidance for running hybrid events to the Europeana events toolkit, so if you are looking for guidance to organise a hybrid event, make sure that you check out the webpage

Building on our learnings, we are pleased that this year’s conference Europeana 2022 - making digital culture count - is hybrid and available to attend on-site or online. Register now to attend. 

And finally, over the last two years, our Event managers' support group has grown into a great community of peers, a place to meet, learn and share. Right now, the group represents a wide range of cultural heritage organisations and is more than happy to welcome any new members. If this caught your attention and you are interested in learning more, please send an email to We look forward to meeting you!