The Deutsch Foundation organized a delegation of Baltimore-based colleagues, fellows, and grantees to attend the 19th annual Allied Media Conference on June 15-18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The participants included Jane Brown, President of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, and Jess Solomon, Senior Program Officer, as well as Khadija Nia Adell, Jen Schacter, Kimi Hanauer, Theo George, and Denise Brown.
Participants at the Allied Media Conference were able to attend seminars on a variety of subjects including “Oral History for Organizers” (hosted by Groundswell), “Numbers & Narratives” (about mapping data, hosted by CMU CreateLab), “Visual Media for Social Movements”, “Getting Good Audio” (Project NIA / Rediscovered Radio), “Visual Resistance & Design for Our Movements” (Design Action Collective), “Imagining a Radical History – Digital Online Portals,” and a number of other panels and workshops that envision new strategies for equity within media.
According to Jen Schachter, a Robert W. Deutsch Fellow, “There’s no way to visually capture what I got to be a part of this weekend… Around 3000 people from all over the world gathered on the Wayne State campus in Detroit – artists, educators, archivists, filmmakers, caregivers, musicians, technologists, environmentalists – all people using “participatory media as a strategy for social justice organizing.”
“Both within and outside of workshops, we engaged in some of the realest – and most challenging conversations I have had about the practice of art-making, and many other things,” Schachter continued. “I’m in awe. Humbled. Inspired. Reevaluating. And all of this among the most radical, positive, and meaningfully diverse community I think I’ve ever experienced. I hope this is what the future looks like.”
Kimi Hanauer, a Ruby Grantee and Organizer of Press Press, a community event space + library located in Seton Hill, said, “AMC was magic and it was an honor to get to experience it with this group.”
“This past weekend at AMC was transformative and has given me some much to think about,” said Khadija Nia Adell, a multimedia artist, arts administrator, and independent curator. “My mind and body were stirred. Thank you for the opportunity to visit Detroit and engage with this experience. I look forward to going back!”
“One of the most meaningful gatherings and takeaways for me was the shared chant of “Love is Lifeforce” during the session Publishing for the People: Books as Lovework, facilitated by Lisa Factora-Borchers, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and China Martens,” said Denise Shanté Brown, a Designer + Mental Health Advocate and graduate of MICA’s MASD Program. “I left reminded that in every effort to write, design, transform, I must not only remember the source of love but also act from a place that is deeply rooted in love—with enough fierceness to retain my voice and enough commitment to mother it into the world.”
“My favorite part of the weekend was learning more about the work of Detroit activists, Grace Lee and James Boggs,” said Theo George, Marketing & Communications Manager at the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation. “I’m constantly inspired by the work of community-rooted revolutionaries in Baltimore and beyond, and am thinking deeply about how I can support this ongoing work and be a champion of change in my own neighborhood. As Grace would say, “You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it, and responsible for changing it. We are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”
After she returned from her trip, RWD Senior Program Officer of Arts and Equity Jessica Solomon posted a photo on her IG account of some of her takeaway materials. Citing her weekend reading, she listed “Changing the Conversation: Philanthropic Funding and Community Organizing in Detroit” by the Detroit People’s Platform and Allied Media Projects. Solomon said that she was “Grateful for the labor and love that has gone into this transformative body of work.”
Dance party during the Allied Media Conference 2017