To what extent have hybrid events in Europe tapped into their intervention potential? An explorative qualitative study
Christine Essling is a Berlin-based curator with a background in theatre, film, and museum. She holds a MA in Art Studies (TUB) and an Advanced Curation Certificate (UDK). Her research interest is cutting-edge forms from the late 19th century to the present day, like media-art and experimental performances with a keen eye for dramaturgical strategies and curatorial concepts. Her practical experience includes directing, special effect techniques (TC Effects), and curation for mixed-media art events. Currently a Research Associate and Project Manager (Stiftung Humboldt Forum), her recent projects include developing a hybrid one-to-one station and co-curating a hybrid event series. Her team’s “Hello Hybrid” toolkit empowers cultural professionals to create tailored hybrid programmes.
Christine Essling‘s project examines hybrid events from the European CCE, focusing on involvement. In this context we observe a shift towards more participant engagement and agency. One example of this has been the experiment of a livestream at the Humboldt Forum, which connected participants in one-on-one conversations with researchers stationed in Antarctica. What is particularly remarkable about this event is how it activated and energized participants. Rather than simply receiving information or following a predetermined script, participants could shape the conversation in their own way. The example above shows how an intervention broke down barriers and hierarchies, reducing certain forms of gatekeeping. By creating spaces and opportunities for people to take an active role in shaping knowledge and content, hybrid events can become powerful tools for social change and transformation. Can this type of active engagement shape the future not only for the individuals involved, but for society as a whole?