We have a soft spot for great conferences and convenings that explore the intersections of art, innovation and social change. They recharge us, inspire new work and give us new tools. What makes them “great” is more than just content.

We believe there are specific variables that account for great experiences for Creative Practitioners:

  • Consistency (annual, bi-annual)
  • Content
  • Design that allows for open space, collaboration and skill-shares
  • Multi-sensory presentations by masters in the field
  • Participant scholarships
  • Food (yes, food)

Our top picks:

The goal of the 99U Conference is to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution. Providing road-tested insights on how to make your ideas happen. They bring together some of the world’s most productive creative visionaries & leading researchers to share pragmatic insights on how ideas are brought to life. (Jess Solomon was selected to attend this year as a 99u Fellow! She’ll be reporting from the front lines this May.)

The Allied Media Conference is a collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies for transforming our world, held every Summer in Detroit. (The Art in Praxis team hopes to present a workshop at #AMC14  on Storytelling as Creative Placemaking using“Crank & Groove: A Go-Go Love Story” as a case study.)

Alternate ROOTS Week is part meeting, part retreat and part performance festival in the beautiful mountains near Asheville, NC.  It’s a gathering created by artists, led by artists, for artists and cultural workers/supporters that is rooted in a community of place, tradition or spirit. (Check out the current call for poster art and visual arts scholars!) 

Remixing the Art of Social Change is an annual international Teach-In hosted by Words Beats & Life. The Teach-In brings together organizations, artists and scholars that utilize hip-hop culture to promote social change and advance how hip-hop promotes lasting social change.

Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute is an annual 10-day intensive that serves as the foundation for all of UBW’s community engagement activities. SLI builds the global network of community arts practitioners, and front line social justice workers, by connecting dance professionals and community-based artists in a learning experience that leverages the arts as a vehicle for social activism and civic engagement.

Each year, the Creative Time Summit explores the many ways in which artists are tackling the world’s most challenging social and political issues. Innovative artists, activists, writers, and curators take the Summit stage to present bold new strategies for social change to a global audience.

What are your favorite convenings for Creative Practitioners?