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The ALLIANCE eBulletin

your latest media arts + culture news—January 2019

From the Executive Director

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”   Mary Oliver
It’s January, and we have some good news to share. Today, The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture announces a $250,000 grant from Adobe. Adobe has been one of our core funders for a number of years, supporting youth media and creative tech initiatives like the National Youth Media Network, HatchLabs and the Innovation Studio. This grant will support significant growth for Arts2Work, our creative workforce development initiative that includes the very first federally-registered National Apprenticeship program in media arts + creative technologies. We’ll launch pilot programs across the country later this year, laser-focused on providing pathways to creative media careers for those so often excluded from opportunity, working with employers to build cultures of mentorship, increase diversity with intention, prioritize equal pay, and prevent harassment and bias.

/Users/wendylevy/Desktop/Screen Shot 2019-01-21 at 11.03.19 PM.pngDon’t miss the new Storytelling Matters blog this month, from Alliance member Rasheedah Phillips, Black Quantum Futurism. Rasheedah received one of our 2018 HatchLab mini-grants to support collaborative, co-creative, community-based work. Her project, Black Space Agency, addresses issues of “affordable and fair housing, displacement/space/land grabs, redlining, eminent domain, and gentrification through the lens of afrofuturism, oral histories/futures, and Black spatial-temporal autonomy.” In Philadelphia, community programming was produced in collaboration with Youth HEALers Stand Up!, All That Philly Jazz, Metropolarity, and Brewerytown-Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Committee.

/Users/wendylevy/Desktop/Screen Shot 2019-01-21 at 11.02.02 PM.pngIt’s also good news when we can start the year with some extraordinary new and renewing member organizations. Welcome to StoryCenter (formerly Center for Digital Storytelling), Girls Voices, and Signifyin’ Works, (New Yorkers, don’t miss the 8-day Marlon Riggs retrospective at BAM next month!).

Over the next few months, I’m on the road a lot and looking forward to less video chatting and more real world face-to-face time with Alliance members and partners. I’ll be at Sundance this month, followed by meetings NYC and DC in February, SXSW in Austin and the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship in Charleston in March, followed by London and the Skoll World Forum in Oxford in April.  Please get with me and let’s talk about projects emerging, thoughts percolating, and the state and promise of the creative world.

~ Wendy Levy

Left: Still from Anthem by Marlon Riggs Screening at BAM Sun, Feb 10, 2019
Right: Iranian Journalist Marzieh Hashemi


Notes from the Field

Signifyin' Works Participates in Race, Sex & Cinema: The World of Marlon Riggs
Alliance member Signifyin Works are promoting events to celebrate the 30th anniversary since their founder Marlon Riggs Tongues Untied was released. It's been 25 years since Marlon passed. It all kicks off with an 8-day retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Feb 6-14.

Registration Open for Storytelling Workshops with Storycenter
A series of Storytelling workshops, intensives, and master classes are being hosted by new alliance member StoryCenter and are open to the public. Their classes include a Digital Storytelling WorkshopDigital Story Master Class, and Facilitator's Intensive.
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New and Renewing Members

StoryCenter (Berkeley, CA)
Since 1998, StoryCenter (formerly the Center for Digital Storytelling, and originally the SF Center for Digital Media) has worked with nearly a thousand organizations around the world and trained more than fifteen thousand people in hundreds of workshops to share stories from their lives. Through their wide-ranging work, they  have transformed the way that community activists, educators, health and human services agencies, business professionals, and artists think about the power of personal voice, in creating change.

Girls Voices (Oakland, CA)
Girls Voices is an organization that serves over 300 girls in 14 countries – providing media training, leadership development and scholarships,  informed by the belief that with a camera, a girl can change the world. 

Roderick Demmings (Baltimore, MD)
Award-winning pianist and organist, Roderick Demmings Jr. gave his Carnegie Hall debut at age 12, performing on the piano on PBS.

Signifyin' Works (Berkeley, CA)
Signifying Works is a nonprofit founded in 1991 by the late Marlon Riggs. Their mission is to produce and distribute content exploring the history and culture of African Americans.

Spokane Area Jewish Family Services (Spokane, WA)
Spokane Area Jewish Family Services (SAJFS) provides programs and support services to help strengthen families, children and individuals of all ages in our community, while incorporating Jewish principles, culture and values.

Kristi Denton Cohen (Mill Valley, CA)
Kristi Denton Cohen is an award-winning filmmaker with more than 25 years experience in documentary and narrative filmmaking. She most recently produced the narrative feature film, The River Why, based on the acclaimed novel of the same name.

Media Policy Watch

by Pris Genet

This Tuesday, Iranian journalist Marzieh Hashemi, who had dual U.S citizenship, was released from U.S government custody following a testimony before a grand jury. She was arrested on the 13th on a material witness warrant when she arrived at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, where she had been working on a documentary about Black Lives Matter, according to a Washington Post article. Nothing is known about the nature of her arrest as grand jury proceedings are closed. Prior to her release, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that he believes Hashemi’s arrest was a “very clear affront to freedom of expression, a political abuse of an innocent individual” and that he “[believes] the United States should release her immediately without further delay.”

In related news, during his confirmation hearing, attorney general nominee William Barr refused to offer a definitive answer as to whether he would detain journalist if elected. Barr stated “I know there are guidelines in place, and I can conceive of situations where, as a last resort.” This response is especially concerning given the current climate of journalistic freedom as Committee to Protect Journalists, an "independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide" reported 53 journalists killed worldwide between January 1st and December 14th in their annual report.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “has not taken questions from the podium since Dec. 18, and [...] appeared just once in September, November and December.”  According to the New York Times . Data from the University of California Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project shows that this is both the White House's longest span of time with no press briefing and the “all-time record for time with no on-camera briefings since they began during the Clinton administration.” according to abcnews.

We want to hear from you. Are you concerned with any national media policy stories that are underreported? Are there any local stories in your area that need highlighting? Please let us know.



Job Bank

Media Coordinator (Northampton, MA)

Principal, High School – Denver School of the Arts (Denver, Co)

Communications Director (Philadelphia, PA)

Content and Production Manager (Duluth, MN)


more jobs on the Job Bank

From the Alliance Blog

by Rasheedah Phillips, Black Quantum Futurism

With support from a HatchLab mini-grant from The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, Black Quantum Futurism created Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly 002 – Black Space Agency an art exhibition and community programming inspired by the legacy of the Fair Housing Act, Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements, and the space race in North Philadelphia during the 1960s. Black Space Agency was held at Icebox Project Space during the 50 year anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and the founding of Progress Aeorspace Enterprise from April 14-24, 2018, and featured an art installation and five community-based events. Featuring Philadelphia-based art works by Betty Leacraft, Black Quantum Futurism, Bryan O. Green, and Sammus, Black Space Agency addressed issues of affordable and fair housing, displacement/space/land grabs, redlining, eminent domain, and gentrification through the lens of afrofuturism, oral histories/futures, and Black spatial-temporal autonomy. Community programming was produced in collaboration with Youth HEALers Stand Up!, All That Philly Jazz, Metropolarity, and Brewerytown-Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Committee.

In North Philly in the 1968, Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, a civil rights leader and minister at Philadelphia’s Zion Baptist Church, established Progress Aerospace Enterprises (PAE) shortly after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. PAE was one of the first Black-owned aerospace companies in the world, with Sullivan stating that “when the first landing on the moon came, I wanted something there that a black man had made.” An innovator of its day, PAE had strong connections to the Civil Rights and Black liberation movements, affordable housing, economic stability, passage of the Fair Housing Act, and the space race. Sullivan also founded the Zion Gardens Apartments affordable housing project and Progress Plaza, Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc., and other innovative organizations and programs. In 1968 and 1969, the Civil Rights movement and space race would collide, with a lot of popular resistance to the Moon landing and the space race from the Black community, such as the Poor People’s March at Cape Canaveral; as well as critiques of the lack of diversity in NASA employees, and the destruction and displacement of Black communities in order to build subsidized housing for NASA employees. Partly in response, NASA became involved in the design and applicability of spaceship materials in “urban” housing, and created campaigns to increase diversity in employment. Much of this resistance and engagement with the space race from the Black community has been largely erased in popular memory


Storytelling Matters features original and curated writing and photography about global story culture and innovation in order to facilitate conversation about the ethical and responsible use of creative technologies in community. If you have a story to share, let us know!


Workshops, Festivals, Convenings

Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 24 – Feb. 3rd, Park City, UT)

Slamdance Film Festival (Jan. 25-31, 2019,  Park City, UT)

San Diego Black Film Festival (Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2019, San Diego, CA)

San Francisco Indie Fest (Jan. 31 – Feb. 14, San Francisco, CA)

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Feb. 15-24, Missoula, MT)

New Jersey Film Festival (Jan. 25 – Mar. 8, New Brunswick, NJ)

Winter Film Awards Independent Film Festival (Feb 14-23, NYC, NY

Grants and Calls

Screen Australia: Documentary Development
Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program assists experienced documentary makers to achieve planned outcomes for the development of their projects. Deadline: 1 February 2019

Sundance Documentary Creative Producing Fellowship and Lab
The core of the Creative Producing Program are its Labs that identify and nurture the independent producer. There are three different producing Labs throughout the year: Documentary, Feature Film, and Native. Deadline: February 12

LEF Moving Image Fund: Production & Post-Production 
 The LEF Moving Image fund is offering grants of $25,000  for films in the production phase and 15,000 for films in post-production. This grant is specifically for New England filmmakers with film budgets under $400,000. Deadline: January 14


THE JOYS OF ALLIANCE MEMBERSHIP • Networked Web PortalA robust website that visually showcases the impact stories of member organizations and individual artists serving marginalized and under-resourced communities across the country and around the world • Leadership RoundtablesQuarterly Creative Leadership Roundtables will be developed as a year-round participatory framework for peer-to-peer mentorship relevant to a range of arts and culture staff, from founders to mid-career leaders and next-gen emerging voices • Innovation StudioA virtual and actual lab space to receive mentorship and support in the development of unique open source media/arts/tech initiatives, with an opportunity to present your ideas to funders and investors • Media Policy Action HubThis very public action hub will aggregate breaking news, legislation and current campaigns in a live interactive map interface, focusing on issues like net neutrality, surveillance and human rights, censorship and free press • Global Artist Residency Program and FundTo facilitate the most dynamic collaborations between artists, organizations and communities, The ALLIANCE will partner with trusted cultural exchange programs to design The ALLIANCE co-branded media arts residencies, with a companion fund to support collaborative projects between artists and NGOs • National ConferenceBiennial gathering of the media arts and culture community

The ALLIANCE for Media Arts + Culture
The ALLIANCE facilitates collaboration, strategic growth, innovation, and cultural impact for the media arts field; through a strong members network and state-of-the-art programming, The ALLIANCE supports a vibrant and essential role for media arts in culture and community. JOIN TODAY
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