Taking the 24th edition of a major European annual conference online for the first time

Our client

ILGA-Europe convenes over 600 organisations from 54 countries in Europe and Central Asia working towards equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Our client’s big question

How do we turn a major in-person event – that’s been the pillar of our community for years – into an engaging online gathering for the first time?

The brief

The annual conference is central to our client’s mission. It’s established itself as the biggest gathering for this community in Europe, pulling hundreds of activists together from 50+ countries each year since the mid-1990s.

In 2020, COVID-19 restrictions demanded an imaginative new approach to get people together. More than ever, our client needed an inspiring collective space for its many members to rally in a difficult time.

We were briefed to create and manage a vibrant online gathering for activists to engage, regroup and be empowered in times of turbulence.

What we did

We helped our client think through how they wanted to enter the world of digital events. We asked: what matters most in your annual conference? What do people walk away with that’s so valuable to them? We knew we had to recreate this online.

We then conceptualised, designed and organised the online project and event. Turning a lively face-to-face week into a series of online sessions meant scaling back on some of the traditional elements of the conference, and leveraging the possibilities afforded by online formats.

For ILGA-Europe, this meant:

  • An event that was accessible to more people
  • More guest speakers from further afield
  • Fewer sessions overall
  • Some sessions publicly broadcast for the first time
  • More opportunities for their members to engage, in more ways

We delivered

We helped our client select an online platform to their specifications, and set it up for them.

Together with Martin Gilbraith, we organised a 5-day online gathering for 500+ activists to connect across 25 sessions, leaving everyone time to connect and discuss important topics informally outside of sessions.

We also trained the client’s internal team of 20 in online facilitation skills so they could run their sessions with ease and confidence.

We managed this complex project across a dozen people spanning the client’s team and ours.



Call us to design your online conference: