Announcing the Tracks, Practice Spaces, and Network Gatherings of AMC2014

The Allied Media Conference is a collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies for transforming our world, held every Summer in Detroit.

Check out the participant-designed tracks, practice spaces, and network gatherings of what will be the most engaging, diverse, fun and magical AMC ever!

Tracks, practice spaces, and network gatherings were selected through an open submissions process and reviewed by a group of over 30 volunteers.

Click here to propose a session for AMC2014. When you propose your session you can propose to associate it with any of the tracks and practice spaces described below.

Support the AMC by registering today.



A track is a series of workshops connected by a shared theme.

Abundant Bodies Media
ln this track we will gather, share and celebrate the wisdom and abundance of our bodies. Abundant/thick/fat bodies are the target of so much hate, policing and negativity, even in our organizing communities. How do we unlearn mainstream ideas of what a body should look like and (re)-learn to celebrate the diversity, resilience, wisdom and beauty of all bodies? This track will explore these questions and create spaces to challenge the ongoing ways mainstream media shames and harms abundant bodies, to name fatphobia in our organizing and activism, and to create media and practical strategies for resistance, healing and community building. We will broaden the conversation around fat activism by centering this track on the voices of Indigenous, Black, people of color, dis/abled, super-sized, trans and queer fat folks. Through workshops, panels and skillshares we will transform mainstream ideas around abundant bodies and create resilient communities, media and art centered around abundant bodies!

Building Better Futures Through Play
How does play inform our social movements? Exploring how we play, and how we can build games to reflect our hopes and aspirations for the world. Games are a crucial avenue to understanding the systems we inhabit and allow us to envision new, different systems. Through sharing tools and know-how to build and publish independent games, engaging in critical conversation about existing games, and relating game cultures to social justice, we are making games a more accessible medium for players and designers of all ages. Participants will work on their skills, discuss the strengths and limitations of games, and push the boundaries of what they think of as possible through this dynamic medium. Let’s play together!

Creative Placemaking / Placekeeping
What is the word for "the opposite of gentrification"? And what is the role of creativity in achieving that thing, for which we have no word? The alignment of philanthropy in recent years around the framework of "creative placemaking" brings new urgency to these questions. Investments in creative placemaking must "keep" and honor the existing creativity and identity of a place, if they are to foster holistic, just development. They must also address what Roberto Bedoya has called "the politics of belonging and dis-belonging," which determine who has power to make a place their own and who does not. This track will explore the ways that media, art, and technology intersect with community efforts towards creative placemaking and placekeeping. We will build upon conversations that have taken place at previous AMCs in the (No) Blank Slates: Detroit X New Orleans Cultural Exchange Track and expand those conversations to learn from the experiences of other communities.

The General Track of the AMC is home to all of the incredible sessions around themes and ideas NOT covered by any of the other tracks or practice spaces.

I ♥ Print Media
I ♥ Print Media is a track for media rabble-rousers committed to the role of print media in our increasingly digital world. The track is a mix of hands-on skill-building through workshops and a print lab aimed at building creative ways to sustain print media. Print has a long history of helping to share ideas, build community power and infrastructure, and report on neighborhood news to build solidarity. Print can be passed from one hand to the next regardless of a person’s access to technology or Internet know-how. We envision a place for print that is not separate from digital, but complimentary and collaborative. From video scripts to social media to podcasting – print copy is central to the creation of digital media. Print is not dead, its just ever evolving.

Liberation Technologies for World Building & Survival
The post-apocalypse is here and real, where ancient and varied modes of survival and technology have been erased in the name of Empire and Progress. What do we do when access to memory/the past is standardized? This track explores how people at the margins can remix, rewire, and revive emancipatory technologies such as storytelling, world-building, magic, sci-fi and speculation to envision and conjure narratives of power and joy. Through engagement with tools like portals and time-travel, we will develop strategies to manifest new/ancient narratives into reality. We will envision a world that has happened, is happening, and will happen. We hope that travelers will walk away with the courage to embody the power of fiction and visioning in healing personal and historical trauma and disenfranchisement. We want to create and share multifaceted inclusive networks that emerge our bodies from isolation and oppressive paradigms to keep our souls alive.

Media Strategies for Transforming Justice
How does your community respond to violence? How can we use art, media, and technology to envision and practice a world without prisons and police? The Media Strategies for Transforming Justice track is a dynamic collection of workshops and strategy sessions that explore what transformative justice means and the creative ways we are keeping ourselves and our communities safe and working toward the abolition of prisons and police. We will explore successes and failures of transformative justice efforts to date, share creative skills and practical strategies for embedding transformative justice into our daily actions, our community responses to violence and our culture as a whole. We'll look at all the ways we create safety, healing and justice--from community databases and bad date lists to zines, social media, cell phone apps, dance, food, crafts, storytelling, radio and video.

Youth Media & Movements
Young people are currently transforming our world through movement-building, media-making, research, healing practices, and other activities that create bridges between community organizing efforts. The Youth Media & Movements Track is an invitation to all youth media and youth leadership organizations to explore connections between our work and share tools, skills, and media that we've created. We will strategize on how to build powerful intergenerational alliances to solve the deepest problems our communities face, using youth media, creativity, and radical leadership. Participants will walk away with new ideas for what's possible in their youth organizations and their communities.

Research Justice
Our communities are experts with first hand experience of oppressions. Our experiences, stories, community knowledge, as well as reports, studies and data, are all legitimate forms of research that can effect change. But is it "Research Justice" or just research? The Research Justice track, in its third year, brings forth stories of struggle, change and liberation with a transformative research agenda. We’ll share skills, theory, and case studies of radical research in the context of social justice movements. Together we’ll build the mission and vision of research justice, and share methods for grassroots research that: tell untold stories that foreground the expertise, knowledge and action of communities most impacted by injustice; challenge dominant narratives; produce evidence of social injustice; and support organizing and movement building. Finally, we’ll continue to build our network of radical rabble rousing researchers.

Resourcing and Sustaining Our Movements
How do we sustain our resources in the movement? We will explore creative responses to some of the common fundraising and sustainability challenges we face through a variety of interactive and participatory workshops, skill shares, and peer networking and learning spaces. We will provide a learning space for participants to share ideas, skills, and strategies for sustaining and resourcing our communities, groups, and movements in the spirit of collaboration, solidarity, and abundance (within and outside of nonprofit structures). Participants will walk away with fundraising ideas, strategies, skills, along with new relationships, resources, and connection to a network of other folks who are interested in continuing this dialogue. The track will integrate fundraising and resource organizing strategies for rural and urban communities with an emphasis on grassroots fundraising.

Sound Track
Music and sound are powerful communication and organizing tools that have shaped and archived social movements since our earliest ancestors. We will explore how music and sound shapes our perception of each other, how we listen to each other, and how we think about the future. We will investigate soundtracks of our past to understand the potential of music and sound, explore tools that allow us to collaboratively build the soundtracks of our lives and movements, listen to each other to understand the diversity of sound each person carries, and reflect on influences that have shaped sound and music over time. Participants will walk away with insight on the ways in which music and sound influences our lives and communities and how we can use these tools to shape the worlds we want to see.

Watch This! Surveillance, Security, and Organizing
Surveillance is nothing new; and neither is creative, resilient resistance to its impacts. "Watch This!” is designed to bridge the gaps between policy, technology, and social justice/human rights communities – all of which are involved in their own, often siloed conversations about surveillance. We aim to locate recent conversations about NSA surveillance in the broader context of social movements, focusing on the experiences of poor people, communities of color, other marginalized groups, and political organizers in these communities. We will explore safety and security from a holistic approach, speak frankly about our strengths, needs, and concerns and do hands-on work in sessions, workshops, and Discotech spaces. Our conversations and engagement will involve not only digital trickery but also analog solutions that have strengthened our communities and our movements throughout history.

Practice Spaces

Practice Spaces

Practice Spaces are ongoing hands-on labs for idea exploration and media creation.

Future Design Lab
What should our future look like? Throughout the AMC, we reimagine and reinvent our collective worlds as more just and sustainable places. The Future Design Lab will be a space to map out these alternative visions of the future and begin making them into realities. We will experiment with speculative design and technology to show with clarity and elegance how we get from where we are to where we want to be. We will prove that alternative futures are desirable, crucial, and within reach. We will draw from design, communications and technology to collectively respond to the question “What should the future look like?” Participants will be invited to brainstorm, sketch and prototype ideas using analog and digital tools to begin building that future. The resulting drawings, mind-maps, graphics and technologies will be exhibited throughout the AMC and will be collected and published following the conference.

Healing Justice
The Healing Justice Practice Space will provide individual and collective healing throughout the conference, while sessions are occurring. We will offer community acupuncture, energy work, massage therapy, herbalism, nutritional counseling, general counseling and crisis support, art therapy, dance, and yoga, among other practices.

Kids, Caregivers, and Community
When we care for each other we can transform the world! The Kids, Caregivers and Community Practice Space is a place for intergenerational community building. This year we are expanding the scope of the former Kid’s Practice Space by increasing resources and strategies for all conference attendees to support children and caregivers throughout the conference. We will be offering sessions designed for kids 4 years and up (including a farm field trip and scavenger hunt), as well as sessions for tweens, parents and other caregivers. Our goal is to facilitate kids’ involvement throughout the AMC and for every family member to participate in amazing media-making adventures.

Movement // Movement
Movement//Movement Practice Space is rooted in the belief that embodied awareness is a critical way of interpreting and shaping our ourselves and our extended environments, one whose development and practice requires safe facilitation, open space, and lots of playtime. This practice space will be a blend of technique-based workshops of all kinds; open studio time where people can practice, improvise, and expand on what they learn; collaborative workshops with other AMC tracks; and multidisciplinary performance time. Folks will leave the conference with new connections to their hearts, bones and muscles; we’ll return home with concrete strategies for using movement and performance in our communities, campaigns, and movements.

Really Rad Radio/TV Station
Experience the best in DIY media production. Interested in learning new radio and TV production skills or want to share what you know with others? Then come out to the Really Rad Radio and TV station which will feature an FM and Internet radio broadcast, a live video streaming studio, and ongoing demonstrations and workshops that will teach participants the basics of radio and video production at the conference. We will be producing live programming throughout the weekend and encourage both veterans and folks who are new to radio and TV to come out to the station to be a guest on a show, host a show, and/or be an audience member. Making live media is fun, so join us at the Really Rad Radio/TV station, geek out on cool equipment and lend your voice to the Allied Media Conference!

Transformative Arts
What is the role of the creative process (imagination, collectivity, collaboration, storytelling, education...) in movement building? And how can "art objects" (posters, websites, zines, paintings, prints, culture jamming...) move movements? The Transformative Arts Practice Space (TAPS) is a place for exploring the role of art and artists in building an equitable, liberated, and loving society. Play around – no experience necessary to learn new skills! Hone your arts practice through advanced workshops. Reflect through critical dialogues. We will explore arts practices that value collectivity, collaboration, inclusivity, liberation, radical imagination, love, and fun.

Network Gatherings

Network Gatherings

Network Gatherings are day-long convenings at the AMC for strategizing and creating. All network gatherings are held on Thursday, June 19.

Complex Movements’ Art, Science, and Social Movements Cohort
It is time to rethink how we make change. Complex Movements will gather artists, presenters,organizers, and science geeks to explore the relationship between art, community transformation, social movements, and complex sciences through the lens of their performance installation Beware of the Dandelions. We will discuss the way scientific principles can help build a stronger movement for social justice and create intersectional trans-local strategies. This group will continue to meet virtually and convene at the AMC for the next three years. This network gathering is invite only.

Education for Liberation
The Education for Liberation Network Gathering aims to bring together local leaders from around the country to prepare for the 2015 "Free Minds, Free People" (FMFP) national conference. FMFP, convened by the Education for Liberation Network, brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. At our network gathering, we will develop strategies to organize our communities to participate in the conference and to use the conference to support local education justice work. Participants will also be invited to share local perspectives that will help inform the development of the conference. This network gathering is closed and invite-only.

International Trans Women of Color Gathering
This network gathering will use media and technology to connect diverse and dispersed trans women of colour so that we can build the bridges, networks, and resources necessary to transform our communities. We will use this space to create a new international network of Trans Women of Colour, using blogs, social media, video conferencing, Theater of the Oppressed, fashion and wearable electronics to build connections between us. While we have intentionally chosen 'Trans Women of Colour' for the name of this Network Gathering, it is inclusive of non-binary trans feminine people of colour as well, which includes, but isn't limited to, people of colour who identify as bakla, hijra, fa'fafine, third gender, genderqueer. This gathering will centre the most vulnerable in our community – Black, Indigenous, and/or Latina trans women, binary or not, sex workers, incarcerated people, disabled people and immigrants. We hope to create sustainable revolutionary relationships for our collective liberation! This network gathering is invite only.

Move Up, Fight Back: Midwest LGBTQ Youth of Color
LGBTQ youth of color are moving up and fighting back against injustice everyday. We are taking back our streets and our safety, fighting for education and healthcare, building our own safe spaces, and interjecting our lives into frontline issues where we are often silenced and forgotten. Move Up, Fight Back will lift up the work of LGBTQ youth of color organizers from across the Midwest, and together we will create strategies for strengthening regional and national solidarity. This region-specific gathering will dig deeper into naming, understanding and connecting issues and local conditions and participants will share campaign, base-building, and media organizing strategies. We will link local conditions to a national context using findings from FIERCE’s national report, Moving Up, Fighting Back: Creating a Path to LGBTQ Youth Liberation. The network gathering will engage interactive, multi-media, and hands-on activities for LGBTQ youth of color to share, learn and create together. This network gathering is open to all.

Muslims Making Media, Making Change
Muslims Making Media, Making Change will focus on the media tools we are using in our communities to challenge violence with the hope of inspiring each other, building solidarity and spearheading future collaborations. Mainstream media often reduces the diverse voices of Muslims. We are are made to be monolithic, silenced, or relegated to the margins. Our own communities as well, can make us feel isolated, judged or policed. This gathering will be an opportunity for anyone that self identifies as Muslim through the spectrum of familial, spiritual, political, cultural, or ancestral connections to come together. We want to meet Muslim artists, community change makers, media makers, designers, bloggers and activists to learn the ways we are using media to tell our stories and make grassroots change. We know that our liberation from violence can only occur when we are at frontlines of the resistance strategies.

Nation Inside
We will focus on building communication capacity and grassroots organizing power within the platform’s partner campaigns, which represent local, state, and national efforts to address the U.S. criminal justice system. We will focus on building stronger messaging, better communication capacity, and a broader base of support for our individual campaign efforts. Grassroots efforts, such as Ban-the-Box, will be part of our strategy sessions. The gathering will be organized as an innovation lab for advocates. We will pick up flip-cams, test our messaging, build our communication capacity, and network with other advocates from across the United States. This will be a closed session limited to existing campaigns on the Nation Inside platform.

Racial Justice and Surveillance
Surveillance has a purpose – and one that is often rooted in systems of power and control. For decades, surveillance has been used by governments and companies to stifle political speech and shut down our movements. These programs cause entire communities to live in fear. We will examine the relationship between race, surveillance and social control, and what happens when our communities are targets of surveillance systems. A movement to liberate our communities must also be a movement to liberate our technologies. We will invite technologists, activists and organizers to join this informative and interactive gathering to explore the impact of surveillance on social justice organizing and political dissent and to help frame an agenda that our movements can use to fight back. This network gathering is invite only.

Research Justice
Research justice is a community of activist-academics, a network of co-researchers, and a movement of militant researchers. We will gather the summer of 2014 in Detroit, Michigan, to draw translocal connections between our work, to build a vision and strategy for research justice in 2015 and beyond. We will map out the research justice movement, identify gaps and areas of need, and create strategy to move our agenda forward. Participants will identify how our work in 2015 will bring us closer to our goals. This network gathering is open to all.

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