WST Summer School 2023 – Review

Do you remember July 2023? Here’s a clue it was raining.  We persevered and what right on ahead with our Summer School 2023 programme.

Over 3 days (July 12-14) we held 8 sessions in our space in Agile lead by ourselves and our colleagues from across the University that provided some hands on skills workshops. The sessions were for small groups so that the session facilitators could take the opportunity to work through the real life projects and examples that attendees brought to the session. The aim was to encourage active participation from attendees and the facilitation of skills training based on actual current work.

It was a little bit of an experiement on our end because we intentionally limited the number of attendees we could have at each sesson. We’ve been thinking about engagement recently and what it means to offer training and learning to our colleagues and what people do with the training. Our question was how we could make our offering more immediately effective.  So we decided that we would create sessions that were lead by a mix of colleagues who were keen (or rather willing) to share new insights and skills they had learned and people who offered training elsewhere as part of the role.

We also asked people to engage with the sessions using their real world work as the exercise they would learn with so that when they left they would have learned a new skill on somethng that had hopefully progressed their work.

It meant we couldn’t reach as many people as possible but we hoped it would provide a more effective way of engaging with the sessions and the takeaways.

Olga Murdoch, Director of Agile ran sessions around process mapping for teams and individuals where participants were invited to examine a process that they had ownership of but needed more clarity around how it was working so that they could identify gaps or obstacles in consistancy.

Ciaran Byran & Gregori Meakin hosted a session on using Google Timelines to easily and quickly track and visualise tasks such as project tasks, marketing campaigns, schedules, cross-team collaborations, and any future plans.

Laura Toby ran a session on Using Spaces on Google Chat for project or team communications, which guided the participants through setting up and managing a google space for groups and gave guidance on settings and using the space effectively

Paul Fitzgerald ran the session on ‘Framing the Message’ which took the group through the key points in communicating your message effectively by thinking about the communications process for a project or piece of work from beginning to end and remembering that if you want your message to land with the audience, it is essential to consider what your audience is seeing on the receiving end.

Rachel Murphy from UCD Innovation Academy lead us through a whirlwind Design Thinking session which covered the Design Thinking approach to problem solving in brief.

Daniel Elliott and Emily Smith lead us through Universal Design & Accessible Communications  and helped our participants understand the dos and don’ts of accessible communication, our legal obligations under the EU Web Accessibility Directive and how to meet them! and give you the tools to adopt good practices and make your communications more accessible for our audiences.

Josh Clark showed us his canva skills to when putting together communications as well as how to plan and create a striking social media campaign for your work through this really accessible and colourful system.


Feedback for the sessions was really positive, many felt that the hands on nature of the session and the application to current work allowed them to immediately see the benefits of what they were learning.  We think that there’s a lot to be gained by running some of our future events with these smaller groups so if you have any suggestions for the tools you’d like to know about or a lead on people who can showcase a learnable skills let us know.



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