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#DreamUp at the Centre for Social Innovation!

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A place in New York for people who are changing the world?  Look no further…

A couple of weeks ago, @wavemaven & I attended an event called Social Impact Media 101: How Films Inspire Social Change at the new branch of the Centre for Social Innovation in New York.  We were incredibly impressed with the event and the space, so I wanted to talk a bit about both.

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The Centre for Social Innovation (founded in Toronto in 2004) is pretty new  to New York and it’s an amazing space, roughly 24,000 square feet in the Starrett-Lehigh building in Chelsea that is slowly becoming an ecosystem for a community of creative change-makers and social innovators.   The CSI is described as “a community center and incubator for people who are trying to make the world a better place” by encouraging a “culture of collaboration and idea exchange.”

This is their video:

The Centre for Social Innovation from Centre for Social Innovation on Vimeo.

… and they’re described on the CSI Facebook page like so:

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from Conscious Magazine:

“The story of the Centre for Social Innovation began in 2003, when a group of visionary social entrepreneurs decided that something wasn’t working in the social mission sector. Too many organizations were working out of isolated and substandard facilities. They asked themselves some core questions including how can we best catalyze social change?

At the same time, while society was facing complex economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges, the CSI team also recognized that new innovations were the key to turning these challenges into opportunities to improve lives, communities, and the planet. Therefore, these group of visionaries launched the Center for Social Innovation, the part community center and part incubator for people and organizations that are changing the world. Now CSI has made it New York City and they are inviting social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, creatives, and innovators to help them build CSI.”

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I highly recommend checking out the CSI’s incredible website and visiting the office space for an event, or perhaps even applying to organize something there yourself.

The seminar we attended at the CSI a couple of weeks ago was called Social Impact Media 101.  The exciting panel brought together a group of women who were operating creatively in the film and digital space, using storytelling to shift the cultural narrative, to create awareness and make change.  I’ll be looking at some of the projects presented by the panel in more detail over the next few weeks.

The event was organized by film and television producer/change-maker, Greta Knutzen, and it was described on the event page like so:

Story has the power to inspire people to civic participation and social action, and to affect real and measurable impact on society’s most pressing problems. Anyone interested in harnessing the power of story to affect social change — media makers, social enterprises, nonprofits/foundations, advocacy groups will learn from this panel on the power of film to foster action.

In honor of International Women’s Day theme of “Inspiring Change” we celebrate female filmmakers whose work shines light on the worlds most pressing problems. With Social Innovation Strategist Lina Srivastava serving as moderator, industry experts Kristen Fitzpatrick (Women Make Movies) and Ishita Srivastava (Breakthrough) will sit with filmmakers Nisha Pahuja (The World Before Her), Julie Bridgham (The Sari Soldiers) and Joya Dass (First Sight) to discuss the overview and direction of the social issue media landscape with particular focus on:

  • engagement strategies, partnerships, educational distribution, community grassroots screening tours and online/digital plans.
  • advice for social organizations/advocacy groups seeking to use story to advance their message.
  • advice for media/filmmakers wishing to work with social organizations.
  • Have a question to put to the panel? Tweet #FilmsInspireChange
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I encourage you to check out each of these projects.  We were also introduced to Lady Drinks, a networking event for professional women, founded by Greta Knutzen and Joya Dass (from the panel), described as:

“a women’s networking initiative held the first Thursday of each month. It features workshops, panel discussions, and networking events/dinners geared towards the female entrepreneur. Joya Dass and Greta Knutzen, have been hosting this monthly event since July 2012.  Over time, attendance has gone from 40 women to 300 women.”

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and this is the Lady Drinks video:

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at some of the projects presented by the panel, focusing first on the amazing ImpactSpace Interactive site at the Harmony Institute.  The project uses interactive data to map media impact and follow conversations and dialogue surrounding various film and media projects.

In the meantime, visit The CSI, check out Lady Drinks, and take a look at Greta Knutzen’s page for more resources for social impact media makers.  …. and don’t forget to #DreamUp!




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