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Allied Media Conference an Inspiring Event
by tyler Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 at 2:57 PM
tnorman@equalvision.net

review of last weekends allied media conference in bowling green, ohio

The 6th annual Allied Media Conference was a great success. From June 18th-20th, Bowling Green, Ohio witnessed a convergence of educators, media activists, media makers, anarchists, and mostly those who fall in all those categories at once, coming together to strategize, share skills, and build a stronger, more vibrant community.
I personally missed the Symposium on Media Literacy in Education, June 18th, though I heard from those in attendance that it was an excellent source of information on methods of teaching from a radical standpoint and encouraging the necessary skills of media literacy, with sessions such as Analyzing Advertising, Zine Pedagogies, and Radical Education at Work, to name just a few. With keynote speeches by Rob Williams of the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) and Faith Rogow of the Alliance for a Media Literate America, the event attracted a large number of educators on the day before the big conference.
That evening there was a big crowd for Mark Hosler, founding member of Negativland, and his keynote address. He told stories about the many adventures of Negativland, including falsifying news stories, getting sued on behalf of U2 by Island Records, and making enemies and fans at every turn. But the main content of the address was the presentation of several video projects which Negativland had collaborated on with various experimental filmmakers, all of which were excellent and really inspired the crowd for the coming conference.
The bulk of the conference, on Saturday and Sunday, was packed full of seminars, ranging from practical activist advice such as Creative Fundraising and Video Interviewing Basics, to theoretical discussions such as Culture as a Tool of Resistance and Fostering a Culture of Inclusion in Independent Media, to workshops on how to make media such as Radio with a Kick and DIY Stencilmaking. There were also some very productive planning caucuses for the forthcoming U.S. Indymedia website and tactics for independent media coverage of the Republican National Convention.
On top of all the great seminars, there was a small film festival presented by Rooftop Films, and musical performances by The Evens, Urban Folk Collective, This Moment in Black History, Pretty Picture, and the Ahleuchatistas, as well as a huge collection of vendors with books, posters, stickers, music, and a mind-blowing collection of zines from all over the country.
I felt that this conference was excellent, because it brought lots of like-minded people together, it provided interesting and useful activities for just about everyone, and it was also entertaining. Mark Hosler’s address really set the tone for the whole weekend, which was fun, optimistic, and very friendly. This event was very different from other activist events I have been to, such as the National Media Reform Conference in Madison last autumn, and in the best ways – it was more enjoyable and tended toward discussion and productive strategizing rather than speech-making and pontificating. I definitely look forward to next year’s conference, as well as all of the great projects that this one has inspired me to start.

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