Purpose & Netroots Nation Host “Cutting Through the Ish”

July 10, 2015

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In partnership with Netroots Nation, Purpose hosted a panel and mixer at its NYC office on Monday, July 13th. The event was held to kick off Netroots Nation 2015, the annual gathering of the Netroots Foundation designed to educate, stimulate, and inspire the nation’s next generation of progressive leaders.  The event brought together Netroots Nation fans, including those attending the the conference this week in Phoenix, along with Purpose staff and progressives and creatives from the NYC social good community.

The panel presentation focused on how to develop breakthrough content that sparks and sustains activism and reaches new audiences.  Our panelists highlighted work that uses the power of stories and innovative content forms to inspire action and launch new conversations on important issues.  It was moderated by Andre Banks, the Co-Founder and Executive director of All Out.  If you missed last night’s event, below are some examples of our panelists’ work and nuggets of wisdom that they shared when asked the question “How can you use creativity to drive change?” 

Jay Smooth (@jsmooth995), Video and Multimedia Producer, Race Forward Creator, Ill Doctrine

Answer: “Creative expression connects people with the urgency of an issue in an emotional way.  It provides an emotion by capturing those urgent feelings we all feel around an issue.  Effective stories connect people to the core of an issue where things like data couldn’t.”

Nicole Carty (@nacarty), Senior Campaigner, Sum of Us

Answer: “Creativity helps show people something they didn’t see before.  It’s thinking about direct action through a new lens: What’s the way I can be artistic that makes invisible systems more visible?”

S. Leigh Thompson (@sleighthompson), Creative Facilitator & Critical Educator and Founder, The Forum Project

Answer: “Creativity requires critical analysis and critical reflection. You have to look at the world and think about it differently. When you involve people in the creative process they have to open up to envision not how the world is but what it could be.”

Work: Leigh works as a facilitator supporting creative and critical exploration and dialogue around crucial social issues.  During the event Leigh took the audience through an exercise that called on them to express their thoughts and feelings on education reform through physical body movements, ultimately choreographing a group dance.  Below is a photo of this session at Purpose. For more on Leigh’s work you can visit Leigh’s website or take a look at The Forum Project

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Hannah Kreiswirth (@hannahhteak), Senior Director, Head of Creative, Purpose

Answer: “Art is the original form of activism –– natural to human communication and paramount to social progress. From cave drawings to that cat meme, creativity speaks to people as people–– it invites them into an issue on an emotional and human level.”