By SSI Community Manager Rachael Ainsworth.
The Software Sustainability Institute 2023 Fellows met together as a cohort for the first time during their Inaugural Meeting on Wednesday 1 February. Once again, we brought the new cohort of Fellows together online and kept the condensed schedule trialled last year. We wanted to dedicate most of the meeting to opportunities for the Fellows to introduce themselves, network with each other and the staff, explore potential collaboration pathways, and ask questions.
In order to make the most of the event, we required the Fellows to do some preparation work in advance. We asked them to watch recordings made by the SSI Team Leads to learn more about the various initiatives and activities taking place within each team (Community, Training, Software, Policy/Research, and Communications/Outreach) and where Fellows could get involved. We had a live introduction and brief history of the Institute by Director Neil Chue Hong, followed by an ask me anything session with the SSI Staff.
We then had an Introducing the 2023 Fellows session where each Fellow gave a one-minute rapid-fire summary of their plans, including the activities and communities they plan to work with and if they’re seeking help or collaboration from others. We wanted to avoid a long day of presentations on Zoom and give our Fellows time to talk in smaller groups, and this was a fun way to break the ice, showcase each Fellow and hear about the plans for their Fellowship.
After a break, we opened a number of breakout rooms for Fellows and staff to move around in to discuss themes relating to the Fellows’ plans, such as community building and Communities of Practice (CoPs); infrastructure, tools and documentation; policy and research; software development and review; and workshops and training. We also added a few additional side rooms in case people wanted to discuss something specific with each other. Many connections were made, and we look forward to supporting our Fellows' work in the coming months! You can read more about the 2023 Fellows and the work they are doing or planning on doing in their profiles.
After another break, the meeting ended with presentations and a Q&A session about the administration of the Fellowship and, most importantly, how to access and use their £3k award!
This was the third time that the Fellows Inaugural Meeting took place online. The condensed format seems to work well to minimise Zoom fatigue, but timing the meeting to accommodate a large range of time zones and number of people was a challenge. We encouraged Fellows to attend as much or as little as they could and recorded the whole meeting for folks to catch up on what they missed. We also provide many other opportunities for our Fellows to connect, such as through Community Calls, study groups, and of course, Collaborations Workshops.
A huge thank you to the Staff and Fellows whose preparation helped the meeting run smoothly. We look forward to bringing our Fellows together again in person and remotely at Collaborations Workshop 2023 (CW23) in May!
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