The activities started with a Project Team briefing on 11 January, in order to plan the following steps to be taken.
The Academic Coordinator, Prof. Baruffi, and Isolde continued to organise the Inaugural Conference throughout the month of January 2016. In particular:
- the programme and the interventions of the key speakers have been defined. The involvement of academics, legal practitioners and experts on innovation and management make it possible to cover many topics related to the fashion industry. Moreover, the Teaching Staff members of the Summer School serve as planned speakers. The Conference is in fact split into two sessions: the first one addresses the topics of imaging, innovation, and commercial advice; the second one focuses on the historical aspects and legal counselling.
- The requests for accrediting the participation to the Conference have been submitted to various academic institutions and practitioners’ associations. For the former, the accreditation has been requested to the Didactic Boards of Law, Economics, Languages and Literatures and Communication Studies, as well as the Ph.D. School of Law and Economics of the University of Verona. For the latter, the accreditation has been requested to the Bar Association and the Journalists Association of Veneto.
Isolde also performed a review of the mailing lists that serve as dissemination channel. In particular, they consist of the mailing lists already used by the European Documentation Centre, updated with contacts provided by the Academic Coordinator and the EU Law Chair.
Cinzia continued her work on the promotional materials, updating them with the latest details that were progressively confirmed. In particular:
- the promo poster has been updated and finalised, adding the dates of the two main events (Conference and Summer School), as well as the references to social media accounts;
- the Conference programme’s poster has been updated after all the key speakers confirmed their participation;
- the brochure has been accordingly updated in its relevant parts (for example, descriptions of the Conference and the Summer School, registrations deadlines, etc.).
Cinzia also made sure that the Project’s logo was consistent with the Commission’s guidelines. To this end she e-mailed the Visual Identity services on 21 January and got their approval on the proposed logo.
As far as the website is concerned, the activities in January (carried out by Isolde) focused on the definition of the various files and materials to be uploaded on it:
- in parallel with the requests for accreditation, a specific section of the website regarding “Registrations” has been created (it is accessible from the navigation menu), and regularly updated with useful information for everyone interested in attending the Conference, as well as the following Summer School. It specifies the registrations’ deadlines and methods, and the requirements for credits acquisition.
- The contents of the files “Conference’s presentation”, “Project’s presentation” and “Project’s objectives and monitoring” have been defined according to the latest updates.
Moreover, social media accounts of the Project have been created on Facebook and Twitter. Beside the website, they provide an effective and quick source of information on the Project, particularly on its events, and make it possible to reach a wider audience of potential attendees. Their update is taken care of by Diletta in collaboration with Cinzia.
With regard to the Summer School-related activities, the Module Leader, Caterina, in collaboration with the Tutor, Diletta, carried out the following tasks:
- definition of the Programme for the 2016 edition, adjusting the previous draft version according to the availability of the Teaching Staff members. At the same time, the file “Programme – 2016 Edition” has been finalised and uploaded on the website;
- definition of the Teaching Staff, in particular the experts in charge of running the workshops (Events n. 3/4/5). At the same time, the file “Teaching Staff” has also been finalised and uploaded on the website;
- creation of the letter of admission template, which is going to be used to collect registrations to the Summer School, and its upload on the website.
Also, Diletta created the Newsletter template, which is aimed at disseminating the Project’s contents and results at both European and national levels. Each issue contains news and updates concerning the Summer School and its related activities, as well as brief notes or bibliographical and normative references edited by the Teaching Staff of the Summer School. The aim is to further promote its contents to a wider public, beyond the Summer School attendees. The European Documentation Centre manages its publication and dissemination by means of its mailing lists.
The organisation of the Conference continued with its final activities also in February.
The website of the Project has been equally finalised, with reviews and touch-ups of its graphics and visual aspects.
The final versions of the contents and the promotional materials have been uploaded on the website. In particular:
- the files “Conference’s presentation”, “Project’s presentation” and “Project’s objectives and monitoring” (finalised by Prof. Baruffi and Isolde);
- the promo poster (finalised by Cinzia adding the URL of the website);
- the updated versions of both the Conference programme’s poster and the brochure (updated by Cinzia);
- the first issue, n. 1/2016, of the Newsletter (finalised by Diletta). Moreover, the issue has been sent to a wider audience thanks to the already reviewed mailing lists (academics, practitioners’ associations, general public).
Before releasing it online, the Project Staff performed an overall review of the whole website.
Isolde was also in charge of providing estimate costs for printing out the promotional materials and contacted various printing services to this end. This is a preliminary task of the dissemination activity, which was also carried out in February. Further steps have been planned as well, in particular:
- Caterina and Diletta posted the promotional materials at relevant locations in order to attract potential attendees (such as Departments and Libraries of the University of Verona, practitioners’ associations offices, the Court of Verona);
- Diletta introduced and illustrated the Project’s events to undergraduates in their last year of studies, as well as to young practitioners attending the legal school of the Bar Association.
March 2016 (before the Conference)
The dissemination activities continued to be performed during the first weeks of the month in order to promote the Project and the Conference taking place on Friday, 18 March:
- Baruffi has been interviewed on the Project by the press and an excerpt of the interview was published on the online newspaper “laprimapagina.it” and on the magazine of the University of Verona “Univr Magazine”. A column on the Conference also appeared on Verona’s local newspaper “L’Arena” the day before the event;
- Baruffi and Isolde worked together with Patrizia Salvaterra, journalist and expert in communication, who helped keep a close contact with the media and organise the press office activity, and also served as moderator during the Conference;
- moreover, Isolde disseminated information about the Conference and the project thanks to the various contacts she holds as responsible of the EDC of Verona (in particular to: Sidi/Isil – Italian Society of International Law; Eurodesk Network; Representation Office of the European Commission in Italy; Enterprise European Network; Eurosportello Veneto);
- Cinzia and Diletta regularly updated the social media accounts of the project, posting useful information and links to the websites that published news on the Conference and interviews of the Project Team.
A renowned fashion designer from Verona, Patrizia Prencipe, personally contacted Prof. Baruffi in order to know more about the project and to offer her expertise in the implementation of its activities. She was invited as a guest speaker during the Conference on the topic of the organisation of a fashion company and became involved in the upcoming Summer School.
Isolde, together with the IT Offices of the University, updated the website in order to enable the live streaming of the Conference. A specific banner was created on the homepage and some technical tests took place before the event to ensure its functionality.
Isolde and Caterina also prepared the materials for the Conference: folders for the speakers and the participants, lists of participants to be signed before and after the event, posters and evaluation surveys to be distributed to the participants during the event.
18 March 2016: Inaugural Conference
The event has been successful as to the number of attendees and the overall positive feedback it received (for a detailed review, see the analysis of the evaluation surveys in Annex 1).
The registered participants were 196 in total, consisting mainly of three categories: lawyers and legal practitioners (52), journalists (52), University students (69) and doctoral candidates (14). Also in attendance were practitioners and stakeholders from the fashion industry (9), among whom fashion designers and delegates of Consorzio della Moda of Verona (a consortium of local fashion companies that helps them improve their businesses).
Virtual participants were satisfied with the live streaming video of the Conference and positively evaluated its functionality.
The Conference was conducted according to the agenda, starting at 10.30 and ending on time around 17. During the first two sessions each speech lasted 15/20 minutes, whereas the programmed speeches by the Teaching Staff members of the Summer School lasted 5/10 minutes. The moderator Patrizia Salvaterra introduced each speaker and the topic of their intervention, and managed the time schedule of the event.
The break was scheduled at 13 and a light lunch was offered to all attendees. It provided a useful opportunity for networking among the members of the Project Team, the speakers and the participants, as well as a further occasion to disseminate the Project’s activities, in particular the upcoming Summer School.
The Conference itself offered the possibility to build synergies between the Project Team and practitioners working in the fashion industry aimed at further developing the implementation of the project with new activities and contacts. This expertise will be valuable for the organisation of the following editions of the Summer School and the Conferences. Particularly fruitful will be the collaboration with Consorzio della Moda of Verona not only in helping disseminate the project among practitioners from the fashion industry and organise the internships offered to selected Summer School participants, but also in improving the effectiveness of the course in order to provide tailor-made activities that can meet the sector-specific demands. Furthermore, such collaboration will represent a reliable contribution when drafting the policy brief, which can better reflect the issues emerging from the practice within the industry.
March 2016 (after the Conference)
Following the Conference, a Project Team briefing took place on 22 March. The planned activities focused, on the one hand, on the analysis of the evaluation surveys filled out by the participants and the overall review of the event, and on the other, on the organisational tasks required to prepare the Summer School course.
In particular, regarding the Conference-related activities:
- Baruffi e-mailed each speaker at the Conference to thank them for their contribution in the successful event and to ask them whether they could prepare a brief paper on the topics of their speeches that will be published on the project’s website;
- Isolde collected all press releases published on the Conference and uploaded them in a specific section of the project’s website. In particular, after the Conference two more articles were published: one on the local newspaper “L’Arena”, the other on the magazine of the University of Verona “Univr Magazine”. Moreover, she collected the pictures taken during the event and uploaded them as a presentation on the website;
- Isolde collected the Powerpoint presentations of the speakers who agreed to publish them in the “Scientific activities” section of the project’s website;
- Diletta carried out the analysis of the evaluation surveys and discussed them with the whole Team before drafting the report on the collected data (see Annex 1).
Regarding the Summer School-related activities:
- Cinzia drafted the consent declaration form addressed at the Teaching Staff members and the Conference speakers, in order to collect their authorisation to publish Powerpoint presentations, photos, brief papers and didactic materials on the Project’s website and other online platforms;
- Isolde and Caterina e-mailed the Teaching Staff members to remind them the upcoming deadlines of the project (the drafting of the didactic materials for the Summer School that will be put at the disposal of the attendees; the drafting of the article that will be published on the monographic issue of Papers di diritto europeo after the Summer School ends) and to send them the consent declaration form.
The organisational activities for the Summer School continued throughout the month, in particular regarding the accreditation of the course and its promotion.
Diletta and Isolde prepared the letters requesting the accreditation of the Summer School by the Bar Association of Verona and the Ph.D. School in Law and Economics of the University of Verona. Both institutions positively evaluated the request and the course is thus part of their respective accredited training programmes (more specifically, the Bar Association assigned 20 credits for the participation in at least 80% of the scheduled activities).
Cinzia drafted new promotional materials for the 2016 Summer School:
- a promo poster, with essential information on the course’s contents and agenda, as well as the accreditation and the deadline for registrations;
- a brochure, where one can find the detailed agenda and extensive information on the course’ structure, the registration procedure, useful contacts and links.
Moreover, she also drafted a course’s guide that will be distributed only to the participants, both in paper and electronic format. It serves as a source of information on the Teaching Staff and the contents of both lectures and workshops, and also provides useful explanations about the didactic materials.
After the drafting of the promotional materials, Isolde contacted the printing service in order to get estimate costs of printing them out (as she already did for the Conference promotional materials).
Verona, April 2016
* * *
Report on the Conference evaluation surveys
The surveys filled out by the Conference attendees that were collected after the event amount to 91. This number represents half of the total participants and can therefore give a quite reliable feedback, albeit partial.
The targeted population consists of people with various backgrounds: lawyers and legal practitioners, journalists, students and doctoral candidates, academics, practitioners and stakeholders from the fashion industry, general public. Their answers thus reflect also the different areas of expertise and levels of career development.
From a general overview of the collected surveys, a positive feedback on the whole event can be inferred, given the majority of positive answers (good/very good – useful – well/very well) in each submitted question.
More precisely, the last two questions on the overall satisfaction were positively answered by 94.25% and 84.89% of the target, thus highlighting the mentioned result.
As to the objectives and contents of the Conference agenda, the positive answers represented 93.26% and 91.01% of the target. When answering the free question on this aspect, some of the participants offered valuable suggestions on further topics that could be implemented in the agenda of the upcoming Conferences and project’s events (among others, the relationship between innovation and economics in the fashion industry, the implications of delocalisation processes, the building of a start-up company).
With regard to the question on the usefulness in terms of professional qualification of the attendance of an intensive course on the legal and economic aspects of the fashion industry, 80% of the target answered “moderately useful/useful”. This result gives a positive feedback on the following Summer School, but also needs to be taken into account according to the different professional backgrounds of the participants, being the course more appealing to young practitioners and students in order to build their future careers.
As far as the questions about the speakers are concerned, positive answers came from 95.5% and 76.41% of the target. However, the quality and effectiveness of the didactic materials used by the speakers (Powerpoint presentations) were reviewed “fairly” by 20.22% of the target. This result is partly due to the fact that some of the speakers did not support their interventions with such materials and also to the lighting system in the Conference Hall was not performing well with certain types of presentations (this criticism was also underlined by some of the attendees in the last free question of the survey).
Moreover, as to the organisation and delivery of the Conference, 68.96% and 91.96% of the target answered positively. It is however to be considered that the effectiveness of the promotional material created for the event received fair reviews by 26.44% of the target, thus providing a useful feedback on an aspect that is going to be improved not only in preparation of the following editions of the Conference, but also of the upcoming Summer School.
The last question of the survey gave the opportunity to the attendees to offer free suggestions, criticism and advice on the Conference. In particular, some of the participants suggested focusing on fewer topics that should be more developed during the interventions, as well as being provided with slides and brief papers to get acquainted with the topics in the agenda. Other pieces of advice concerned different topics to be dealt with (such as intellectual property rights, consumer law) and also the creation of a network among the participants to help their career perspectives and employment opportunities.