We started 2020, 20 years after first talks about creating EXARC, with some internal changes. First of all, we opened our own office space! Over the first few months of the year, many small and bigger steps were made to make EXARC professional, including 0.5 FTE employee, and a huge EXARC volunteer Team.
The EXARC conference end of March was changed to an online conference #EXARCBerlin. In April we started our interactive Podcast #FinallyFriday. Both use the online platform Discord. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated our plans for going digital without losing the human aspect out of sight. Our Discord server was used this year as well for more relaxed Saturday Chats on subjects like beer brewing, textiles or pottery.
By June, we held a training day for our volunteers in the Netherlands, funded by the Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie.
Both EXARC Twinning Projects made a lot of progress. This goes for the Sintashta Bow Project between Russia and Greece, but also for the Medieval Project between Germany and Ireland.
Our worries were with EXARCs 350 members: it was long unclear how COVID-19 would influence all the museums, living history groups, universities, freelancers and students. The world remained unpredictable for the full year 2020. EXARC offered its members help, mainly with many digital communication and events. One event we had to cancel was our own Workshop Weekend, where we had planned to meet so many EXARC members.
In November, we co-hosted an online conference, Archaeological Approaches to the Study of the Potter's Wheel. This attracted an audience from around the world and even today, video presentations are still online on our YouTube Channel.
EXARCs social media received a make-over, with several volunteers improving our presentation, and with that, the presentation of our members on our website was updated as well.
Going Digital was a red thread in 2020 for EXARC, when not only our March Conference went online, but also our Annual General Meeting took place by email. Finally, our EU Project Application RETOLD, prove to be successful and we could start in December. RETOLD is a project where we cooperate with five partners in documentation and digitisation in open-air museums.