27 Oct Three Years of COVINFORM: A little glimpse into what we have done.
As our COVINFORM project comes to an end we would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of our outputs.
COVINFORM was put in place in November 2020 due to the unprecedented experiences of each and everybody with COVID-19. Due to the novelty of government, public health as well as citizen and community responses, COVINFORM was strongly research oriented and sought to assess impacts on managing the pandemic in order to develop inclusive crisis communication principles to elicit behavioural change and fight misinformation. From this, solutions, guidelines and recommendations were developed which can be utilized in times of future crises. In the course of this, the COVINFORM consortium produced a number of interesting and insightful outputs. Research projects often forget that there are multiple ways to communicate with practitioners and a general audience and tend to only focusing on scientific publications. The COVINFORM project, however, tried not to fall into this trap and aimed at producing a number of engaging outputs that were targeted at practitioners and the general public. Some of them we would like to showcase here.
A Collection of Blog Posts:
Due to the high frequency of our blog posts, they were able to touch upon a wide array of subjects such as mental health, the vaccination, the dealing with and tackling of vulnerabilities exacerbated by the pandemic also in regard to gender inequalities and governmental responses towards COVID-19. Several blog posts were also dedicated to specific themes that arose during the pandemic in the countries analysed like Romania, Austria, Germany, Spain, Wales, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, UK, and Israel. Memes that started to circulate in the course of the pandemic, criticising measures, expressing fear and being a ‘source of escapist satire’ found their way into our posts, too. Finally, the project also dedicated a blogpost to the spread of conspiracy theories.
Our engaging podcast:
Another output – for those who prefer listening over reading – was our podcast series “Beyond Numbers: Covid19 and Society”, comprising five episodes of about 40 to 45 minutes. In each episode a conversation unfolded based on a different set of questions discussing core themes of our project. Our wonderful COVINFORM researchers tried their best to answer them eloquently. Amongst the speakers were Diotima Bertel, Lore van Praag, Sara Clavero, Niahm Aspell, Susan Anson and Viktoria Adler. They are worthwhile listening to.
Section 4: Bi-Monthly Reports:
The COVINFORM project decided to regularly publish bi-monthly reports to engage with a broader non-academic audience. Due to a large body of conspiracy theories and fake news circulating in regard to the COVID-19 vaccination, the first two bi-monthly reports focussed on the COVID-19 vaccine linking it with a brief history on pandemics and vaccinations in general. In order to fight misinformation, the report summarized relevant sources of information for the public and included the case study example of Spain to discuss possible challenges public bodies might face regarding the vaccination implementation.
The reports also shed light on certain aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that had not been addressed so far in other outputs, such as how humour was used as a way of coping with the pandemic circumstances or the immediacy of death. The pandemic brought forth several experiences with death, that most people had not experienced so far and hence, needed to learn how to live with. Themes identified in the report include the nearness of death, social thoughts about dying, and the randomness of whom COVID-19 affected. One way of dealing with COVID-19 was humour, for example manifesting itself as internet memes. These memes provided a mode of sharing experiences during lockdown, from mocking containment measures to express the absurdity of their everyday lives during lockdowns.
Section 5: Interactive Workshops & Knowledge Dissemination:
COVINFORM also put an emphasis on disseminating the knowledge that was created Workshop and dissemination activities were highly effective as COVINFORM was able to reach highly positioned policy makers such as the Swedish Corona Commission. A COVINFORM representative was invited to a working meeting of the Commission to talk about ongoing research, lessons learnt as well as outcomes of the COVINFORM project. COVINFORM was also able to directly engage with practitioners through the five workshops organized by SAMUR and MDA in June and July this year.
Section 7: Further outputs
These outputs, however, only present a brief overview of what we have done in the past three years. For an even deeper dive into our findings and also our scientific publications go to www.covinform.eu. Here, you will also find country reports which function as a means of emphasising differences, similarities and especially peculiarities among the countries in dealing with COVID-19 on a governmental, public health, societal level or an communication level. You will also find our technical reports, whitepapers there and if you cannot read any more, have a look at our intriguing project videos. The COVINFORM is confident that you will find something of interest to you.