From May 14th-16th we started our structural CHANGE project with a kick-off meeting in Graz in Austria with colleagues from Germany, Israel, Slovenia, Slovakia and Portugal. Beside our project officer Katherine Quezada from the European Commission's Research Executive Agency, also Nina Baumeister, who works as a policy officer for European Commission in the Gender Sector, joined our group.
This first meeting was the starting point of our co-creation process, as one of the main features of CHANGE is the co-production and reflection of gender equality knowledge within a diverse group of researchers and practitioners of the participating organisations.
One central question discussed was how sustainability of projects like CHANGE can be achieved, or in other words how the working environment in academia can be improved in the long run and for all. One strategy to increase gender awareness and understanding on all management and employee levels is to use so called Transfer Agents, who will be members of the CHANGE group and help co-creating knowledge and procedures which is suitable and accessible for the respective organisation.
As a social activity the group took a feminist guided city walk, where the local diversity expert Edith Zitz showed us especially the diversity and social justice perspectives of Graz to visualise how social gender justice can be understood out of the academic context.
Overall this was a very fruitful first meeting, with a lot of insights and inspiring discussions, which left us with the conviction that we will have four great project years ahead of us!