Conferences can be an amazing way for social justice advocates to build skills, connect with others, develop networks, generate ideas, and help movements strategize. But there’s so many out there across a wide variety of topics, that it’s hard to know what your options are.
To help you think about which ones might be best for you, we’ve curated a list of eight conferences you can attend to build your social justice skills.
Allied Media Conference
Description from their website: “Conference content explores the intersections of media and communications, art, technology, education, and social justice… The glue that holds these incredibly diverse content areas together is media-based organizing, or any collaborative process that uses media, art or technology to address the roots of problems and advance holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world.”
Focus: Media, art, grassroots organizing
Where: Detroit, MI
When: Annually, usually in the summer. (There will be no Allied Media Conference in 2019, as they are taking some time to re-strategize.)
Description from their website: “Labor Notes Conferences are the biggest gatherings out there of grassroots union activists, worker center leaders, and all-around troublemakers.”
Focus: Labor, unions, workers rights
Where: Chicago, IL
When: Every other year. (2018, 2020, 2022, etc.)
Description from their website: “For more than a decade, Netroots Nation has hosted the largest annual conference for progressives, drawing nearly 3,000 attendees from around the country and beyond… Attendees can choose from 80+ panels, 60+ training sessions, inspiring keynotes, caucuses, film screenings and lots of networking and social events.”
Focus: General progressive politics
Where: Changes yearly
When: Usually in the summer
Free Minds, Free People
Description: “Free Minds, Free People is a national conference convened by the Education for Liberation Network that brings together teachers, young people, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation.”
Focus: Education, social justice, community building
Where: Changes yearly
When: Annually, usually mid-Summer
US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Description: The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives conference focuses on promoting democratic worker-ownership and workplace democracy. Participants include both seasoned worker-owners as well as people seeking to learn about the subject for the first time.
Focus: Worker cooperatives, workplace democracy
Where: Changes each event.
When: Every other year (2018, 2020, 2022, etc.). However, in every off year, there are two mini, regional conferences held: the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy and the Western Conference for Workplace Democracy.
White Privilege Conference
Description from their website: “WPC is a conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world… WPC is open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including: race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. – the ways we all experience some form of privilege, and how we’re all affected by that privilege.”
Focus: Race, privilege, oppression, equity
Where: Changes yearly.
When: Usually in March or April.
Games 4 Change Festival
Description from their website: “The G4C Festival offers expertly curated panels, talks, workshops and demos that all revolve around the central issues of the games for good community.”
Focus: Games and media
Where: New York City
When: Usually early summer
Description from their website: “CommonBound will bring together movement leaders, activists, and organizations from across North America to create a space for planning, strategizing, and movement building. The conference will feature a combination of network gatherings, closed and open work/strategy sessions, trainings, listening sessions, workshops, debates, and other formats exploring a range of topics through thematic tracks.”
CommonBound is a conference organized by the New Economy Coalition.
Focus: Organizing, movement building
Where: Changes each time.
When: Every other year. (2016, 2018, 2020, etc.)