AMP Wraps Up First DFM Apprenticeship Program

Allied Media Projects recently completed its first ever Detroit Future Media (DFM) Apprenticeship Program, partnering eight digital media artists with local businesses and community organizations for a Summer-long knowledge exchange. The program provided a critical link between the classroom experiences of Detroit Future Media workshops and real-world application in Detroit's emerging media economy.

Host organizations included: 5E Gallery, Ink in Bloom, Detroit Soup, Vanguard CDC, Latino Family Services, Detroit Asian Youth Project, Fresh Corner Cafe, and the Boggs Educational Center.


Since the launch of Detroit Future Media in February 2011, DFM graduates have been infusing video, audio, web and graphic design into our local ecosystem of entrepreneurship, community organizing and transformative education. The Urban Innovation Exchange recognized these contributions by naming AMP as one of Detroit's "greatest resource-providers," alongside the Skillman Foundation in a March 2012 survey.

AMP developed the Apprenticeship Program following the first round of DFM workshops as a post-graduate support system for program alumni to continuing learning and contribute their skills back to the community.

DFM prepared me for the apprenticeship, but this experience is really different. In DFM you’re being trained to do work, so it’s about developing yourself. The focus is on you. The apprenticeship turns that around, because now it’s your job to help develop the organization. It changes the participants into facilitators. You’re learning, but the organization is learning as well. – Nathaniel Mullen, DFM2012 Apprentice

The design of the Apprenticeship Program was a collaborative effort between DFM program coordinators, Janel Yamashiro, Imad Hassan and Diana Nucera, with significant input from program participants. The eight DFM apprentices and the host organizations were selected through an application process and then paired based on alignment of skills, interests and needs. Detroit Future Media Program Coordinators monitored the partnerships and provided mentorship to apprentices throughout the three months of the program.

Here are some of the outcomes of the apprenticeships:

  • Andrew Plisner rebuilt the Detroit Soup website to an easy to update and user friendly Wordpress platform.
  • Amany Killawi managed and created newsletter campaigns, lead a youth workshop on Audacity audio recording and editing, and worked on increasing social media presence.
  • Lance Hicks coordinated community outreach and created three infographics for the Boggs Educational Center
  • Prema Qadir rebuilt website for Latino Family Services:
  • Kadiri Sennefer lead youth media training workshops with the Detroit Asian Youth Project
  • Nathaniel Mullen redesign the website for 5e Gallery:
  • Meagan Singh edited photos and managed e-commerce for Ink in Bloom
  • Patrick Geans promoted Fresh Corner Cafe's food justice mission and supported outreach and development through the youth food brigade


The goal of Detroit Future Media is to cultivate a healthy digital ecology in Detroit. The DFM2012 Apprenticeship Program made progress towards this goal by increasing the digital media capacities of community-rooted businesses and organizations. Equally importantly, the program built ongoing relationships of mutual support.

The apprenticeship project really helped the artist develop his skills but it really helped me as well. I also learned a lot in this process. I now have a new, functional website that will really help me move the organization forward. I would definitely hire him, because we developed a great relationship and value each other as human beings. – Amy Kaherl, Detroit Soup, DFM2012 Apprenticeship host organization

The collaborative process was a key factor in the success of the partnerships. Traditionally, an apprentice works under a more established artist, taking direction from them. In the DFM Apprenticehsip Program, the artists worked directly with organization hosts, while being supported by an AMP staff person acting as mentor. The artists also relied on each other for support. Through a "Critical Friends Consultancy" process, artists met regularly to discuss challenges, share learnings and collectively find solutions.

The mentors and the 'Critical Friends' provided amazing support. We established a democratic process in terms of how Critical Friends was going to be facilitated and how it would unfold. Having this level of peer support and staff support was great. – Andrew Plisner, DFM2012 Apprentice

To find out more about Detroit Future Media, please visit:


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