The Includers Project
To center our #YouAreIncluded theme throughout our events, we decided to name our volunteers ’Includers’, as they would be at the forefront of ensuring that attendees and participants felt included.
The Includer Project organised, educated and prepared the community of Includers for Copenhagen 2021. The project succeeded in:
- Recruiting more than 1000 Includers and hosting workshops, Q&A’s and social events in the run up to Copenhagen 2021
- Developing and distributing an extensive handbook for Includers
- Developing and offering an intersectional education programme for the Includers
The Includer project aimed to organise and include young people from all walks of life, and teach how to build inclusive and diverse communities and spaces, while building such a space at the same time. The Includer Project aimed to make inclusion accesible by way of ‘learning by doing’, and making inclusion, intersectionality and discrimination subjects to openly talk about, share experiences and learn from each other. This way, the Includer Project not only prepared the volunteers of WorldPride and EuroGames to build better spaces for each other and guests during the event, they are also better equipped to spot discrimination in their everyday settings and address it on behalf of themselves as well as others.
Combining recruitment efforts and skill-building not only prepares the volunteers for their tasks and create a better and safer space for them and the guests, it also sparks conversation and pushes for knowledge-sharing and knowledge-building in the organisations that organise and take part in the event. Relevant themes to inclusive major events include accessibility, safer spaces, cultural and physical barriers and invisible structures in the workplace, NGOs and at live-events are centered in ongoing conversations on how to make our spaces better, safer, inclusive and diverse in the future.
The goals and expectations of the project had to be flexible and adjustable according to changing COVID19 restrictions, which affected all areas of the project and it’s aims, but online solutions, and the hard work and flexibility of Includers and the volunteer team made the project a success.
Includers were organised through a closed Facebook group and a volunteer-sign up system hosted on our website. Info-meetings were held regularly, recorded and uploaded to the group for wide and accessible information. The handbook was another source of information for the Includers, which acted as a guide to being an Includer, where to go, what to do, who to contact and more. If includers felt they needed more knowledge to offer an inclusive experience to guests and fellow Includers, our online education module offered 25 courses on topics relating to intersectionality and inclusion.
The Includer Education Programme
The Programme was developed by the Copenhagen 2021 partner Conzentrate. The site stands as a testimony to the #YouAreIncluded theme of Copenhagen 2021. Through the six categories shown above, Includers had access to 25 courses preparing them for the most significant LGBTI+ event of the year, where the diversity of the world was celebrated – even during a pandemic.
The platform offers live online and physical talks and e-learning activities. A diverse group of individuals and organisations were invited to teach engage and uplift the Includers, and join in on our goal to make Copenhagen 2021 inclusive, diverse, open and safe. The recorded content is available in English, Danish or Swedish and some are captioned with English, Danish and/or Swedish subtitles.
Includers were introduced to the use of the platform through the closed Facebook group ‘Copenhagen 2021 Includers’ and through online meetings, which were recorded for all Includers to watch, as a step-by-step guide on how to access the page and utilise it. The Includer Education was a key component in our volunteer-organising process and created a space for learning, reflection, debate and community. Organising around personal development opens a door for those who might feel unprepared to volunteer with people who may be very different from themselves. The Includer Education is an open invitation to develop one’s approach to the diverse LGBTI+ community of the world, and with its intersectional approach it gives insight to many different lived experiences, with something new to learn for everyone.
Below is an overview and a list of courses which were held prior to Copenhagen 2021:
- Basic Modules (Fundamentals & Practicalities)
- Project Management, Activism and Volunteer Leadership
- Guiding, Hosting, Volunteering
- Pride in Sweden & Denmark
- Safer Spaces
The following modules were offered
- Basic Module 1.0: Being an Includer by Copenhagen 2021
- Basic Module 2.0: The Includer Handbook by Copenhagen 2021
- Project Management by Michael Bager from Copenhagen Pride
- Activist Leadership by Nynne Juul from Extinction Rebellion
- Leading Volunteers by Anette Jorn from Roskilde Festival
- Guiding in Copenhagen by Copenhagen Visitor Service
- Guiding in Malmö by Malmö Tourism
- Safety Awareness Training for Includers
- CPR and basic fire safety
- What type of volunteer am I? by Helle Glyø
- The history of LGBT rights in Sweden by RFSL
- Intersectionality and Inclusion by Mira C. Skadegård
- Anti-racist Workshop by Mica Oh
- Workshops by Violeta Ligrayen on the History of Pride, Pride is Political, Activism 101, privilege and oppression, intersectionality, anti-oppression and intersectional practices
- Intersex allyship by Intersex Danmark
- LGBTQ Allyship by LGBT+ ungdom
- Disability and Allyship by Henrik Silvius
- LGBT Asylum by Maria Kortenbach from LGBT Asylum
- The Birds and the bees – is nature really as rigid as you learned in school? By Rebecka Eriksson
- Trans allyship part 1: decolonized transness by Paulie Amanita from TransAktion
- Trans Allyship part 2: Trans-history by Paulie Amanita from TransAktion
- Disability and Accessibility by Henrik Silvius
- Self-care and boundaries by Elin Björkstam
- Meeting people in emotional distress by Elin Björkstam
- Building A Trans Inclusive Environment by Natasha Handley
Besides being equipped with knowledge on intersectionality, diversity, inclusion and safer-space practices, Includers were also informed by The Handbook, developed by a dedicated group of Includers themselves, together with the volunteer team of Copenhagen 2021.
The Handbook is available in Danish, Swedish and English, and available for download with a limited number available in print. Together, the info meetings, social events, the education programme and the handbook provided holistic information for the Includers and served as vital parts of the onboarding pathway and knowledge-sharing which needed to happen very shortly before the first shifts of some of the Includers. Whether Includers signed up years before the event or just months before the event, they were provided with the opportunity to gain basic information on the practicalities of volunteering, or extend their knowledge through the Includer community and the education programme.
Events and projects
Prior to the events in August 2021, numeral events were held for and by Includers from early spring and throughout the summer of 2021. Both informative and social events were held both online and with physical presence, to ensure the widest accessibility, including for Includers who were volunteering from oversees or were arriving closer to the event-live dates. Events included meet ups in Copenhagen and Malmö, with boardgames, picnic and games, cinema-trips, online scavenger hunts, online bartending/drink mixing workshop, general info-meetings, Handbook presentation, Includer programme introduction and more. More than seventeen such events were held between March and August 2021, not counting the Includer education programme which also consisted of both online and physically present workshops, courses and talks.
Includer / Volunteer Areas during Copenhagen 2021
More than 1000 Includers spread across 27+ venues in total (including individual sports areas) and made Copenhagen 2021 become reality. Each area was set up with a designated volunteer check-in area with volunteer area managers, assistants and helpers. Check-in areas and the central Includer Hub provided practical information, Includer merchandise and equipment. Includers received a hummel gym bag filled with a Pantone rainbow drinking bottle, a keychain, the Copenhagen 2021 wristband, the Handbook, t-shirts, food and drink tickets and hand saniitiser.
Each area had direct contact with the Includer Hub, and shared volunteering Includers between them when needed. This allowed Includers to explore more than one venue, even while volunteering.
In total 1830 shift-plans (with a varied number of Includers needed for each shift) were scheduled, and 3624 individual shift-signups were registered in the volunteer system.
Includers Project partners
The Includer Project was funded by Tuborg Fondet. Tuborg Fondet suports projects for the benefit of Danish society and business, but also supports the dreams and communities of young people between the age of 16-30, in pursuit of a brighter and more sustainable future. These values are reflected at the core of the foundation that the Includers project was built on.
Besides Tuborg Fondet who made every part of the Includers project possible, several partners supported different parts of the project.
Conzentrate provided the project with the Includer Education programme, Boblberg provided games for our picnics, and Copenhagen Volunteers, Danske Bank, Novozymes and Hverdagsaktivisterne organised and gathered volunteers to join Copenhagen 2021 as Includers.
Thanks to Tuborg Fondet, a wide and diverse range of speakers, teachers and activists were able to share their knowledge and insights with the Includers, and in return Includers could share their knowledge with their surroundings. Combining education with volunteer organisations and corporations invested in diversity proved to be a successful strategy in terms of skill-sharing. The more volunteers a partner could mobilize, the more knowledge and experience in intersectional practice their employees or members returned the organisation with.
Tuborgfondet generously awarded DKK 640,000 (approx. €86,000) to support the recruitment, training and workshops for Includers. Other partners included Conzentrate who provided the platform for the Includer Education programme, Boblberg who provided games for our picnics, Copenhagen Volunteers, Danske Bank, Novozymes and Hverdagsaktivisterne organised and gathered volunteers to join Copenhagen 2021 as Includers.
Thanks to Tuborgfondet, a wide and diverse range of speakers, teachers and activists were able to share their knowledge and insights with the Includers, and in return Includers could share their knowledge with their surroundings. Combining education with volunteer organisations and cooperations invested in diversity proved to be a successful strategy in terms of skill-sharing. The more volunteers a partner could mobilize, the more knowledge and experience in intersectional practice their employees or members returned the organisation with.
The Includers of Copenhagen 2021 represented the community and its allies. Their motivations included being passionate about LGBTI+ rights, Pride, representation, political debates, sports – and some did it just to have a good time.
The Includer programme sought to bring the world together, even during a pandemic, long-distance and online opportunities allowed the world to join from afar, and some Includers were able to travel across borders. The sign-up system allowed us to gain insight to this diversity through voluntary registration of languages spoken:
Of the 2920 Includer profiles registered in the volunteer system:
- 1713 speak English
- 1153 speak Danish
- 401 speak another language than the ones listed
- 389 speak Swedish
- 222 speak German
- 221 speak Spanish
- 135: speak French
- 72 speak Norwegian
- 66 speak Portuguese
Evaluation and survey findings
Below a few findings from our Includer Project survey shared through the Includer newsletter as well as the facebook group are listed:
1) Most includers who responded to the survey defined themselves as a part of the LGBTI+ community.
2) Most includers who responded to the survey felt included at the activities before and during WorldPride and EuroGames.
3) Most includers who responded to the survey signed up to volunteer in the spring or summer of 2021.
4) Most includers who responded to the survey had participated and/or volunteered at a Pride before.
5) Most includers who responded to the survey heard about WorldPride and EuroGames in Copenhagen through social media and the news, 25% answered that they knew about it through their engagement with the Pride movement.
6) Most includers who responded to the survey had a good or very good time before and during WorldPride and EuroGames.
7) Most includers who responded to the survey would volunteer again.