Safeguarding Online Practices: Tinderbox

Around the world, lockdown measures to confront the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in organisations moving their activities online.

Delivering work using digital tools, live streaming events, and providing online workshops all require additional consideration for best practice, processes and policies, especially in relation to child protection and working with vulnerable adults.

In part two of our series on safeguarding online practices, we speak to Jed Milroy of Tinderbox Collective. Tinderbox is a diverse music collective of young people, musicians, artists, youth workers and volunteers.

A graphic advertising the Tinderbox Zoom Gig Saturday 16 May 8pm - 9.30pm(Pictured: a graphic advertising a Tinderbox Zoom gig, one of the online activities the collective has been putting together)

Tell us about your virtual project activity with participants

A guitar sits in front of a laptop which shows a series of faces participating in a Zoom call(Pictured: a Zoom call in progress as part of the Tinderbox online series)

We’ve been offering small group music lessons, open mic sessions, play along performances, orchestral experimentation workshops, music video projects, skills sharing sessions, dance hangouts, drawing hangouts, a creative response group and quiz nights.

You can see our full online programme on the Tinderbox website. Almost all of this has been on the video conferencing platform Zoom.

What have you put in place to ensure online safeguarding for those you are working with?

Our pre-existing child protection policy and code of conduct is still applicable to the current situation. Full details of the way we use the Zoom platform safety features are listed on our guide to online music and youth work using Zoom.

What have the challenges been and what have you learnt?

The initial challenge was to move as quickly as possible to find out what we could do online and how it could be made safe. We wanted to be able to help support participants at this incredibly difficult time. Alongside this was the challenge of calling up around 200 participants to check in with them and to find out if they would be able to access the opportunities we were researching. This led to a very frantic few weeks of work!

We have learned that there can be huge advantages to online delivery, but there is no substitute for face to face work. We’ve realised that online delivery will need to be included as a core part of our programme from now on, even when all social distancing measures are lifted. Partly because some things have worked so well and partly because we anticipate that there will be a demand for this from participants who don’t feel comfortable or able to engage face to face for the longer term.

What is working well about working online? Are there any surprising benefits?

Some participants who have moved to other countries or areas have re-joined our groups. Some participants who are usually very quiet and reserved are showing more confidence in the online format.

Some creative activities such as songwriting are working better in this format. Young people’s concentration and willingness to participate is much higher than expected.

How are participants benefiting from taking part in arts activity at this difficult time?

The main benefits are in wellbeing. Parents have been in touch to say that what we are offering is the only thing that their child is engaging with outside of school work. Some participants are saying that it is the only thing they have to look forward to in the week.

The sessions are generally very light hearted and fun and there is the social element of checking in with friends and familiar faces. We are also seeing vast improvements in the musical ability of some participants who are taking the chance to do a lot of practice!

What tips would you give to other creatives moving to working with participants online?

Consider the risks to participants of not offering online engagement.

Zoom features such as breakout rooms, screen sharing, annotation, music sharing are incredibly useful for creative workshops and well worth exploring.

Enjoy playing!

Follow along with what Tinderbox are getting up to over on Twitter

This article was published on 15 Jun 2020