Red Bull Amaphiko Connect brings the activist-artists of Oakland together to build community momentum and spark social change
Since 2014, Red Bull Amaphiko has been bringing together people who use their talent, creativity, and energy to tackle social issues and spark social change for an immersive summit that connects, coaches, and engages creatives to advance solutions in the city. Yulu worked with Amaphiko Connect Oakland to facilitate a two-day workshop for artists in the East Bay Area of California with the objective of fostering collaboration and giving participants a platform to tell their story and share their solutions in order to drive community momentum and action.
True to its name, ‘Connect’ was intended to amplify the voices of local activist-artists by connecting them with fellow solutions-focused creatives with thoughtful solutions to the social issues in the area. Yulu’s role in the project was somewhat unconventional, tasked with engaging a small number of media in Oakland to connect with participants at the event through informal conversation, rather than for coverage. Yulu was also tasked with managing and safeguarding event’s authenticity, ensuring all participants were given a platform through which to feel comfortable in sharing their ideas, challenges and solutions without judgement.
The intangible atmosphere and spirit of the event was the most important thing to honour and protect. In order to achieve this, Yulu took a thoughtful approach to all its work, including media relations, moderator research and briefing, and social media amplification.
When researching media to invite to Connect, Yulu set a criteria, understanding that reporters looking for a quick story would have had a detrimental effect on the trust built in the room and on the openness of all discussions. Media were selected based not only on their locality and relevant beats, but also on their own personal interest and engagement in the community. Many we contacted were involved in activist organizations and community initiatives themselves and so understood the perspective of participants, the importance of respecting their points, and how they as media could use their roles to give wings to the change-makers present. Media were asked not to attend as a reporter looking for interview, rather to consider it a fact-finding exercise to uncover some great possible subjects for future pieces and to build these relationships.
Yulu also provided counsel on sourcing and briefing an appropriate moderator to not only lead a well-informed couch-session, but also to manage high-energy, emotionally driven discussions, and maintain a positive, open, collaborative atmosphere. Yulu also supported with an on-site presence, managing media interaction with participants, fostering meaningful connections and giving live, in-situ consulting on managing the room, and amplifying the impact of the workshop.
RESULTS & IMPACT
Red Bull Amaphiko Oakland saw 35 participants and four attending media from outlets including ABC and KQED, connecting with each other and setting the foundations for relationships that would give participants a platform through which to share their work. Of the media who expressed interest but were unable to attend the weekend workshop, six requested a participant list to connect with artists for follow-up coverage. Attending media were engaged throughout, discussing community issues, solutions and future collaboration with participants in break-out sessions and covering the event with extensive social media activity.