Upswell 101: Understanding the program
// By Christian Clansky
Following two years of planning, intentional outreach and listening to changemakers for design and programming ideas, Upswell LA sprang to life bigger than almost anyone could have anticipated. With more than 225 activities scheduled across three days, it was impossible to do it all – and that was exactly the point.
Main Stage presentations, interactive exhibits, musical performances and scores of workshops to choose from? Of course, but that was just the beginning. We also had innovative new formats and activities like Spark Talks, Focus Groups, Changemaker Challenges, technology demonstrations, a virtual reality arcade and a coloring wall – and that was just inside the hotel.
We also spent a half-day in 10 LA communities, talking first-hand with residents and leaders about difficult challenges, and gaining insight into their successes in addressing them. And we continued those conversations in the evening during community dinners — breaking bread, exchanging ideas, and building lasting connections.
As you can see, if you missed Upswell LA, you missed a lot. But not to worry. Check out these recaps of the three days of Upswell – and plan now to attend Upswell Chicago in November, where the wave grows stronger.
Upswell Day 1: Be Big. Be Bold. Be Loving
In a nutshell, Day 1 was the defining day when changemakers marveled at Upswell’s Public Square and LA’s amazing changemaking communities and realized, “This is not your mother’s conference.”
Upswell Day 2: A Better Way to Live
Day 2 began and ended with music. In between there were “Aha!” moments, challenges to established thinking by nationally-known speakers, including Ann Mei Chang, David Brooks, and Tarana Burke, and well-earned recognition of established and rising leaders who are helping to transform the sector.
Upswell Day 3: The True Meaning of Tribe
The music played on during our final Day 3. And after the final thought-provoking workshops, and inspired reflection on why “tribalism” is key to building community, the closing Upswell Surge brought us to our feet and inspired future changemaking with a burst of energy from Grammy award winning rock/salsa/hip hop group Ozomatli, supported by 200 LA community youth musicians!