Lockdown 2020’ raises webinar bar – and more than £37,000

Series featured whisky tasting, wine imbibing, curry making … and some CPD

15 June, 2020 / editorial
 Will Peakin  

Towards the end of March, Clive Schmulian was scheduled to present an NHS Education Scotland workshop on oral surgery. With less than a week to go, the nation went into lockdown.

“As luck would have it, I had previously proposed an online education series so had an ‘oven-ready’ plan,” recalled Clive. “I contacted colleagues who agreed to present webinars as part of a series. The non-clinical content was really about supporting colleagues’ mental health – providing a distraction from the anxiety caused by lockdown.”

In ‘Slàinte Mhath – slanj va’, Mike Gow, of the Berkely Clinic, shared his knowledge of whisky. ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get into the kitchen’ saw Phil Friel, of the Scottish Dental Care Group, draw on his previous life as a chef to cook an asparagus velouté and chicken fricassee. Ian Macmillan, of Balmore Dental Care, guided attendees through Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. And Arshad Ali, of the Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry, hosted a curry masterclass.

There was some serious stuff in between all the scoffing and imbibing, from Attiq Rahman, Stephen Jacobs, and Professor Mike Lewis among others. Mindfulness, running, and golf helped offset any excesses.

All in, 40 online events in seven weeks – quite an achievement. “I consider myself to be relatively IT literate, but I had never used webinar software before,” said Clive. “There are quite a few platforms available. 

“I spent an hour watching YouTube reviews, chose a package, spent a few hours practising and – before I knew it – I was hosting webinars.” The series was rounded off by Clive’s interview with Scotland’s National Clinical Director, former consultant oral surgeon Professor Jason Leitch and, memorably, the online karaoke that followed immediately after (cue hasty shirt change by Clive).

“At the start of lockdown, ours were ahead of the curve. I kept adding content to present a wide range of both clinical and non-clinical subjects. But as time went on, everyone had the same idea and I definitely think we reached ‘peak webinar’.”

His highlight? “Phil Friel’s culinary master class. He cooked live and I ended by being cameraman, handling the lighting and sound, and ‘directing’ – all while socially distancing. Other great memories are James Livingstone’s Star Trek costume, Rory Scott’s running tips – whilst drinking beer – and the karaoke.”

The series has also raised more than £37,000 (the target was £5,000) for the The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice. “It truly is a special place,” said Clive. “Last year, I raised several thousand pounds, again by asking colleagues to donate rather than charging for courses. 

“It relies on sponsored events to raise money but during lock-down this has been curtailed. They’ve been overwhelmed by the response of people who donated during the series.”

Will there be a repeat? “Hopefully, there won’t be another lockdown, so this will have been the beginning and end of my webinar production experience. Never say never, but I want to get back to work.”

Tags: june2020 / Scottish Dental Magazine

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