2020 is not the year we expected it be. For any of us.
The pandemic has severely disrupted our routines and rhythms, put enormous strain on our resources, and devastated our communities – especially those already disproportionately suffering from systemic inequities. That’s the bad news. And it’s news to none of us.
As for routines and rhythms, we don’t yet know when or how we might be able to gather together in person.
With a sensitivity to the significantly increased demands we’re all facing in our daily lives – and to ensure we prioritize the health and safety of our community – we’ve decided to evolve Upswell 2020 into a high-energy virtual experience.
The dates are the same – October 14-16. The location has been updated to everywhere.
That’s just the first bit of good news. And there’s a whole lot more of it. In fact, we’ll number it so that you don’t miss anything.
1. Most importantly, we have an unprecedented opportunity to come together as changemakers and fundamentally rethink the way civil society operates. As the United States examines its very identity in the context of this uncommon crisis, we have the chance to fast-track our best thinking and transform the country for the better. That’s what’s going to happen at Upswell 2020.
2. We’re going to pioneer new ways of building community since we can’t be in the same physical place. Over the past few weeks, the Upswell team at Independent Sector has been hard at work exploring an incredible range of technological possibilities to bring Upswell 2020 to life. If we’re going to deliver on the ambition of seizing this moment in history, then we’re going to need to do much more than just observe a computer screen. Stay tuned for some big announcements on that front.
3. As always, Upswell is about elevating your work and ideas – connecting local know-how to national scope. Before the pandemic, we opened a call for proposals around four key themes: resilience, innovation, collaboration, and acceleration. We’ve extended the deadline for submissions. If you have something to share – and we suspect that there have been plenty of lightbulb moments recently – we hope you’ll submit a proposal. If you’ve already submitted one, we’re in the process of reviewing it.
4. Who is going to engage with your ideas at Upswell? Thousands of changemakers from all over. That’s the power of a virtual gathering. You don’t need to worry about blocking travel time, paying for a flight, or packing for a hotel stay. You can fully participate from where you might be in October – and you should invite your colleagues, friends, community members, and perfect strangers to do the same. Our aim is to make Upswell 2020 accessible and welcoming to anyone who is interested in creating a world where every person can thrive.
5. You don’t have to wait until October to experience Upswell. We all need a boost right now, so we’re excited to introduce Upswell Pop-Ups – shorter events, produced every few weeks, designed to deliver inspiration and give you a sense of what’s in store for the big event. The first Pop-Up is on May 19. Check it out and register for free here.
And one last thing. We want to close with a critical piece of information, so it doesn’t get lost in the mix.
We will be back to Pittsburgh when it’s safe. We’re disappointed that we can’t bring Upswell to the City of Bridges in 2020. But we’re not chalking this up to bad timing and moving on. Pittsburgh is bursting with innovation for good and we’re committed to you experiencing it firsthand. Trust us, it will be worth the wait.
In the meantime, we’re excited and grateful to be with you in 2020 – wherever you are!