From the Executive Director
I have a new mantra this year. Thanks to Toni Morrison in her recent piece in The Nation called “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear”:
“In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”
At NAMAC, we gather artists and their colleagues and partners and communities with intention—so we do not remain silent. In the cold and often unbearable state of the world, we heed Ms. Morrison’s words:
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”
This year, NAMAC will be hosting numerous ways to come together in community, to find new ways of working, share challenges, excavate solutions, make and share stories and images that move the world, create abundance and equity for artists, hold the space for creative leaders and practitioners everywhere to find their light, their voice and their power. This is what we are up to:
I hope everyone is saving the date and socking away some cash to attend NAMAC’s ALLIANCE 2016 Conference in Oakland June 9th – 12th, 2016. Our beautiful conference website will go live any minute now and early registration will be available mid-January. Keynote speakers include Jax Deluca, the brand-new Media Arts chief at National Endowment for the Arts, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, award-winning spoken word poet, dancer and playwright who is Artistic Director of the 7-part HBO documentary Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices and Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, NAMAC’s Creative Impact Network officially launches with three HatchLabs—international creative workshops that bring artists, activists, scientists, and communities together to explore new collaborative models for environmental justice storytelling:
- • March 21st/22nd in Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Environmental Film Festival at our Nation’s Capitol
- • April 10th in Oxford at the Skoll World Forum, in collaboration with the Sundance Institute and Skoll Foundation’s Stories of Change Program
- • June 8th in Oakland, as part of pre-conference events at NAMAC’s ALLIANCE 2016 Conference
Our Video Roundtables were so successful last year, we are growing the program in 2016 to provide more opportunities for open dialogue, connection and collaboration. NAMAC Consulting Producer Melinda Weekes will be facilitating “The Future of Storytelling” series—online conversations designed to unpack some of our field’s most pressing issues, raise awareness across cultural boundaries, examine innovations that support freedom of expression, equity and a more just creative community. Stay tuned for opportunities to register for “Black Lives Matter and the Future of Storytelling II,” “Indigenous Narratives and the Future of Storytelling,” “Women’s Voices and the Future of Storytelling”—and more. NAMAC members can curate & co-host their own Video Roundtables—contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule!
Applications for NAMAC’s Creative Leadership Lab at Sundance will be available January 15th at namac.org/leadership. Check out the report from last years Lab—and apply, spread the word on social, recommend to a friend. The world needs media and visual artists to think big, speak up, and be fearless. The Creative Leadership Lab is a gathering focused on self-care, loving community, personal/professional growth, courage and change.
Member News and Notes
Histories of Sexuality on Video Data Bank’s VDB TV
Last month, Video Data Bank released new collections of archival video on VDB TV, its digital distribution project offering free, online streaming access to curated programs of video and media art. Collectively titled Histories of Sexuality, the two programs (Parts I and II) explores two past programs from the New Museum that focused on sexuality and gender in then-recent video works.
Southern Documentary Fund seeks new leadership
The Durham, North Carolina-based Southern Documentary Fund, which cultivates documentary work made in or about the American South, seeks a new Executive Director to begin no later than May 1st—applications are being accepted via Submittable until February 1st.
Venice Arts wraps youth-made web series Pushing Buttons
In the fall, youth filmmakers at Venice Arts debuted their own web series Pushing Buttons, about a young music producer balancing her burgeoning career and the needs of her family. Just last month, the final episode of the eight-episode series debuted on YouTube—watch all eight episodes here!
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Media Policy Watch
By Rose Kaplan
Last month, Media Policy Watch opened with info from the then-ongoing Philly-Comcast franchise renewal talks. Free Press’s Dana Floberg has an excellent summary of how the city fared—briefly, very well (although funding was lacking for public access and community media organizations), in an agreement that could serve as a model for other cities looking to hold cable providers accountable for corporate malfeasance.
From Net Neutrality to media mergers, state surveillance, and new media policy laws across the nation and the world, 2015 fundamentally reshaped the media policy landscape. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a fantastic series of recaps of some of last year’s most important stories—click through for more stories on student privacy, patent reform, cryptography and encryption, or check out the entire series of posts here.
T-Mobile has been in the news lately for deceptive marketing, particularly around its new Binge On initiative, which claims to offer customers free streaming video from many popular video services. As EFF’s Jeremy Gillula explains, however, with Binge On, T-Mobile has also begun throttling all its video streams—a definite violation of the FCC’s new Net Neutrality and Open Internet rules. Along similar lines, labor federation Change to Win has launched Calling Out T-Mobile, a new website detailing other deceptive and false T-Mobile advertising, particularly around its no-contract claims.
To end on a more fun note—the EFF has released Pwning Tomorrow, a free anthology of short speculative fiction that delves into the media policy issues of today and also tomorrow. Authors are scifi newcomers and veterans alike, including David Brin, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Rudy Rucker, and Bruce Sterling.