I am so excited to be heading back to the Allied Media Conference this year. And not just that, but I get to facilitate a session with Knight-Mozilla Fellow alum Gabriela Rodriguez while two of our current fellows Tara Adiseshan and Francis Tseng facilitate a session of their own.
I have only been to the AMC once before, but I've been wanting to get back ever since. Personally, it was an experience where I built relationships with activists in Philly during a long car ride, learned about political perspectives I never encountered in college, saw amazing art in museums and on buildings throughout Detroit, and generally had my assumptions and comfortable resting places challenged. It was the first time I had been to a conference that had personal and professional significance. Since then, I've encountered hints of the AMC spirit, such as from events with Aspiration Tech, who are facilitating the community technology network gathering on Thursday.
As my professional and personal work has continued at the intersection of media, technology, community, and activism, I've longed to return to the AMC. But the timing hasn't worked out. Till this year. I am able to attend, and I won't be there alone. I'm again carpooling with a couple of friends and will be joined by inspiring colleagues. I know that there is a huge amount of overlap between the activism and tech work that many AMC participants are involved with and the work we do at OpenNews. I know there are some amazing Knight-Mozilla Fellowship candidates in the crowd and I cannot wait to chat with them. (Please do say hi or ping me on Twitter if you want to chat.)
It's already clear that the community technology network gathering will be a highlight. The agenda makes it clear we'll have the time and space to talk through how our work in tech affects us as individuals and within the communities we serve. The coordinators of the gathering include folks who have spent years leading open source community efforts and the chatter I've seen on Twitter has shown participants will have a lot to teach and learn from each other. It also appears that the agenda has been evolving a bit over the past few days--I love being able to learn from how organizers put together a schedule, choose activities, and the big (and small) decisions that go into creating a safe, supportive space that encourages open dialog. I'm confident the network gathering and AMC as a whole will be such a space.
And so I get to spend a weekend immersed in an activist world, talking about my favorite subjects, and even facilitating a panel about one of them--you guessed it--journalism technology. Then, a few days later, I get to take all that I learn at the AMC and apply it to helping run our own conference, SRCCON. It's going to be a busy week in the midwest. I can't wait.