Taking place over three days, the retreat will bring together a range of selected individuals from the worlds of comedy, video gaming, broadcast, visual and performing arts, digital and news media, the charity sector together with the fields of policy, activism and philanthropy.
The primary aim of bringing different people and sectors to this retreat is to lay the ground for new cross-sector exchanges, ideas and collaborations, with a view to finding better ways to represent the lived experiences of diverse communities and audiences within pop culture. We hope to create a space to nurture and connect a growing body of artists and change-makers operating in the dynamic intersection of popular culture and social change.
The primary aim of bringing different people and sectors to this retreat is to lay the ground for new cross-sector exchanges, ideas and collaborations, with a view to finding better ways to represent the lived experiences of diverse communities and audiences within pop culture.
The timing of this retreat is shaped by a series of significant intersecting social and cultural events, including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the MeToo movement alongside escalating environmental crises. These have further exposed deep inequalities in our society, further amplified by perceived ‘culture wars’ over history, culture and identity.
Calls for action, social solidarity and justice have also catalyzed urgent conversations and changes within the arts, culture and entertainment industries. This has resulted in a growing body of artists, activists and content makers demanding that institutions become more democratic, more culturally polyphonic and attentive to the urgency of representing the intrinsically diverse stories of our past, present and future.
Over the three days of the retreat, we hope to explore some of the above challenges with a view to finding many creative opportunities for social change.
Our conversations on Day One will kick off with a keynote provocation by Marcus Ryder, a leading diversity champion and co-author (alongside Sir Lenny Henry) of the hugely influential book: Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond. The day will also feature the launch of a new report: New Brave World: The power, opportunities and potential of pop culture for social change in the UK by Alice Sachrajda, Marzena Zukowska and K Biswas. This report sketches a map of an emerging pop culture for social change ecosystem in the UK, drawing from the insights of many commissioned practitioners and pointing to the opportunities to both influence and invest in what is still a nascent nonetheless immensely vibrant creative space.
Day Two will explore questions surrounding pop culture and social change through the lens of comedy. It will feature conversations and workshops with top comedians including Britain’s Got Talent superstar Nabil Abdulrashid about how comedy engages, provokes and activates public conversations about migration. Writers, including Brian Logan and Momtaza Mehri, will reflect on how we might expand and embed a critical discussion about comedy across both analogue and social media. The day ends with a ticketed comedy gig hosted by the brilliant Mo Omar and headlined by Fatiha El-Ghorri and Nabil Abdulrashid.
The discussions and workshops continue on Day Three with a focus on the immersive world of video games. Ubisoft’s Kurston Timothy, Code Coven’s Tara Mustapha and actor August Aiden Black from hit game Tell Me Why are among the speakers exploring representation and the opportunities and impact of bringing diverse perspectives into game design. Get involved in the lunchtime Let’s Play session and join workshops on writing, real world impact and more with hosts including narrative designer Corey Brotherson, UN Live’s Nikolaj Møller and award-winning studio ustwo’s Maria Sayans. Then join us over on Twitch with Black Girl Gamers as they live-stream a GAME TIME HAPPY HOUR on the games that most inspire.
The popular culture for social change ecosystem in the UK is ripe with potential, but there is much to be done in the context of building new relationships and brokering trust and connections across and between practitioners and industries. We hope that this retreat will bring us together as artists, creative producers, policymakers, activists and funders for what promises to be a lively three days of talk, collaboration and the imagining of future action.
What are the different networking options?
We invite you to join us in using the Airmeet platform to make new connections during the networking, lounge chats and coffee hour slots in the programme.
- Lounge Chat: an informal coffee and chat session in small groups, where the participants will host conversations of their own choice.
- Speed dating: Our Speed dating sessions are an opportunity for participants to pitch an idea where they seek creative, financial or other support. The Speed Pitchers will move from Airmeet table to table, can make short presentations and take questions. Sign up in advance to Pitch.
- Speed Networking: Airmeet’s all-new “Speed Networking.” feature randomly matches participants with each other for a quick one-on-one virtual meeting.Three rounds at 5 minutes each.
How can I join the sessions?
If you are a retreat guest you will have received an email with a direct link to join the retreat on the platform Airmeet. If you have any problems, please email Mira (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sam (email@example.com).
Is there technical guidance and help on using AirMeet?
If you have any technical issues during the retreat, you can contact the Airmeet tech team using this link. You can also visit the Help Desk within Airmeet where a member of our team will be on hand to help guide you.
Airmeet is best experienced on a Chrome browser (version 79 or higher), on a laptop or a desktop. You can download the latest version here. For phones and tablets, Airmeet is also available as an App from the Apple iOS Store and Google Play. If you’d like to familiarise yourself with Airmeet before the session, you can do so via this link.
Will anything be filmed?
Some sections of the programme will be live-streamed, but only participants who choose to go ‘on stage’ will be visible. Presentations by speakers (but not the Q&A sections) will also be filmed and shared online.
Is there a hashtag for the event?
We’d love you to join the conversation online using the hashtag #popxchange