Register now for the 2014 Allied Media Conference. 

In an age where text messages, emails, and social media are constantly at our fingertips, the exchange of ideas seems as steady as breathing. Basic communication is something we sometimes take for granted as a fundamental right. That’s why social justice organizations like Allied Media—Semester in Detroit’s latest community partner—get people thinking about all the ways we create and share information.

This spring, SID student Jon Riley is working with Allied Media Projects to help plan their 2014 annual conference. Over 2,000 media makers will converge on Wayne State University’s McGregor Conference Center to trade tips and tricks for sharing information.

“Create. Connect. Transform.” Riley says that’s the mission of the national Allied Media Conference. There, visitors will share “media strategies for a more just, creative and collaborative world,” according the event website.

In the weeks leading up to the June 19th kick-off event, Riley has been working on outreach and logistics. That means he’s reaching out to community groups, booking sign language interpreters, and reserving housing. He recently found cheap “crash-space” for conference attendees traveling on a budget... on the floor of Detroit’s own anarchist collective, Trumbullplex. He's helping organizers make the conference affordable and accessible.

“Allied Media believes communication is a fundamental human right. So the conference lets people share ways to do that—from screenprinting to ‘zine making,” says Riley.

John says there will be media-making workshops to demonstrate those strategies. He says ‘media’ means everything from digital video and social networking platforms… to real, pulpy, print material.

Magazine making is actually what drew Riley to the Allied Media Projects internship. He says he remembered visiting a national ‘zine publishing conference in high school, and learned through SID Associate Director Craig Regester that the conference had evolved into many kinds of communications media. Today, Allied Media Conference brings the digital and physical worlds of information sharing together.

Riley says his internship with Allied Media has got him interested in new projects through Semester in Detroit.

“I’ve sort of been talking to people in the cohort about trying to organize a Semester in Detroit ‘Zine of photos, poems and things. That kind of goes along with our creative writing class with Lolita Hernandez.”

Riley says storytelling plays a large role in his time in Detroit.

"My goal as a media maker or media enthusiast is to make film a digital media that makes people expose themselves. I watn to do a lot of documentary work, which is why I wanted to do Semester in Detroit. So many documentaries have come out of the city lately...but they don't necessarily tell the true story."

For the next five weeks, Riley and his spring 2014 cohort will collect and share their experiences in the city. They might even pick up a few media techniques at the Allied Media Conference this year, so be sure to check back here for photos and their reflections on the event!

Allied Media Conference takes place June 19-22, 2014. All are welcome to register online.

John Riley (SID Spring ’14) is a Junior at the University of Michigan College of Literature Science and Arts. He’s studying Screen Arts and Cultures, Urban Studies and Law, Justice and Social Change.

Semester in Detroit Spring 2014 students are interning at several new partner organizations in Detroit! Check out the list of internship placements here…