News From The Field

A Year in Chrysalis: Reflections on the Changing Shape of the Allied Media Conference

29 September 2019
BY Jenny Lee, Allied Media Projects and Nadine Marshall, Allied Media Conference

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This piece is part of the NoVo Foundation’s Radical Hope Blog Series, a platform for social justice movement leaders from around the world to share learning and insights, hear what’s working and what’s not, build solidarity, and spark opportunities for collaboration. Amid daily headlines of division, this blog series is intended to serve as an active and dynamic beacon of hope, possibility, resistance, and resilience.

After 20 years of creating, connecting, and transforming our community, the Allied Media Conference took a one-year break. The organizers used this year to devise a new shape that could hold healthy, purposeful growth over the coming years. They called this period the Year in Chrysalis.

After spending the year in reflection, deep-dive evaluation, research, and development they’re finally ready to become a butterfly. Here Jenny and Nadine talk about the new shape of the conference.

Tell us about the past year of AMC in Chrysalis. What inspired the year of reflection?

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the annual AMC in 2018 felt like a big milestone. When we started in 1999, AMC was really small, just a couple hundred people. In 2018, there were 3,500 people across all media forms you could imagine — from video production to embroidery to culinary arts and more — organizing for all the types of justice it will take to create the world we need.

AMC is an intimate place where connections are made. It’s not transactional in the way that conferences can be. It’s a transformative space where attendees create connections that last for years, return in new shapes, and evolve as people’s leadership grows over the years. We wanted to preserve that quality but it was becoming increasingly difficult.

We wanted to be thoughtful about how we grow, and we realized we needed more than a month to reflect. (For the annual conference, planning started one month after the previous conference ended.) So we decided to take a year, to go beyond engaging staff and to engage our whole community. So that’s what Year in Chrysalis became.

Read the full story from the Radical Hope Blog Series website.