diy days NYC: a recap

We’re still reeling from the incredible experience of diy days NYC.

This past Saturday, PC hit the road and trekked up to the Empire State to attend the day-long interactive event at The New School and, we have to say, from start to finish we were completely enthralled. Not only did we get a chance to experience the event first-hand, but we also were thrilled to document in a real-time Storify as editorial producers.

The event’s “learn. do. share.” motto truly reverberated throughout the entire day. After a quick registration, the kick-off was a dynamic series of keynote speakers who each spoke to attendees collectively about their awesome projects. Every presentation was uniquely punctuated by a brief open mic intermission where participants got the chance to address to the listening audience of creators what we were working on and what we needed.

Following an hour break for lunch at midday, the afternoon sessions gave attendees the opportunity to get our hands dirty. We were able to meander throughout the building to various workshops where we got to delve into a variety of undertakings that challenged our creativity and encouraged us to think outside the box. Activities were both clever and engaging, from a creative financing exercise centered around the concept of a “gift economy” with the Knowledge Network workshop led by Arin Crumley to a collaborative challenge to create a transmedia storytelling world in just 60 minutes with Ele Jansen’s StorySprint.

We have to say that hands-down one of our favorite workshop experiences that day had to be the remarkable rendering that was My Sky is Falling (MSiF). A project of Reboot Stories, the MSiF experience was a simulation that harnessed technology and story to create empathy for the challenges faced by foster care children. Guided by immersive performances and sensor technologies, participants took part in a dystopian sci-fi tale, but the ending revealed how MSiF was actually rooted in true life experiences of foster care.

The conference wrap-up gave attendees a real-time case study of that day’s MSiF experience. The Harmony Institute’s data researchers took a look at the balance between emotion, empathy, and data from MSiF participants from the day.

Project collaborators including filmmaker Lydia Joyner, upon which whose foster care experiences that day’s simulation was based, the foster care-geared NGO, Orange Duffel Bag and, diy days moderator Lance Weiler, among others, concluded the day posing a takeaway challenge to participants. They issued a call to action beseeching us to take part in a proposed solution that aids young adults in transitioning as they age out of the foster care system.

This final appeal was a truly ruminative way to end the jam-packed day of creative exploration. It surely left attendees in a reflective mode hopefully considering ways in which we could steer some of our own creative ventures toward causes that provide a positive societal impact. We know we’re bursting at the seams with all the creative inspiration that we took away from diy days and can’t wait to put all our thoughts into action!

-Jessica Fenney, content manager, pride collaborative

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