10 reasons not to miss #INSP2015


Last week, INSP’s Zoe Greenfield was in Seattle preparing for INSPired Together: Global Street Paper Summit 2015. She told us why street paper staff would be mad to miss it…

1.    It’s INSP’s first US event
It’ll be fantastic to have street papers from all over the world (familiar faces, and new ones too!) representing our truly global network. We already know we’ll have delegates from at least 20 different countries.

2.    Global perspective, local context
As an international network we’re facing some common challenges, especially those resulting from the economic downturn which hit those already on the margins hardest. But it’s also important to understand the different socio-economic, political and cultural contexts in which we are working.

We’re in the fortunate position to be able to draw on each other’s expertise and learn about those more local challenges too. In the words of Real Change’s Tim Harris:

“Our diversity is our strength, and that what we have in common trumps our differences… we are all in this together, learning from each other, healing a broken world, one vendor and one newspaper at a time.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself!

3.    Seattle streets
A recent one night count found almost 4,000 people without shelter in King County.  Homelessness is very visible in Seattle. Life is tough here; there is no safety net. Even as someone who has travelled widely and worked with lots of homeless organisations, I have so many questions about homelessness in Seattle.

It’s a city with issues but it’s also a city that is responding to the challenge. In June, we’ll learn about homelessness in the city and about the response. You’ll have the option to visit innovative social projects like Urban Rest Stop, 1811 Eastlake, and one of Seattle’s self-managed tent encampments. We’ll also enjoy dinner at a social enterprise restaurant Farestart which offers training and employment opportunities to homeless and unemployed people (not to mention delicious food and great service).

4.    And of course, our very own Real Change
It’s well known and very well respected in Seattle. Many people I met credit Real Change with bringing about a city-wide shift in attitudes towards homelessness. Go RC!

I received a very warm welcome from staff, volunteers and vendors (you’re awesome) to the Real Change office in the Pioneer Square district. You’ll have the chance to visit when Real Change host an open house (Tuesday 23 June).

5.    People are talking
From local radio to conversations on the bus, people in Seattle are talking about homelessness and social justice issues.

Read articles and listen to KUOW podcasts as part of the recent ‘Seattle homelessness’ series.

Overheard on the 13 bus heading downtown #Seattle: “As a society we have been brainwashed to believe money has more value than human life”.
— Zoe Greenfield (@Zoe_Greenfield) March 5, 2015

6.    There’s already a buzz
And (the abbreviated version) sounds something like this:
Person hearing about the Global Street Paper Summit: “I love Real Change. Do you work for Real Change?”
Me: “No, I’m visiting Real Change.  I work for INSP.”
Person: “Wait, so Real Change isn’t the only one?”
Me: “No, there are 114 street papers in 35 countries and they’re coming to Seattle in June.”
Person: “Wow. That’s awesome!”
Me (in my head): “Damn right, it’s awesome!”

And here’s our street: (Global Street Paper) Summit Avenue.

7.    Make your own
A bit like a pizza, INSP will provide the base and you can load up on your favourite toppings. Basically, there’ll be some INSPirational keynote sessions and you get to decide which breakout sessions you want to attend. Never fear, the old favourites including Innovation Exchange will be back. We listened to your feedback so there’ll be more sessions on fundraising, marketing and social media too.

8.    Celebrate in style
The INSP Awards are back! Get your glad rags (or traditional dress of your home country) on and shimmy on down to the ballroom to celebrate the journalism and social impact of our incredible network.

9.    Good to great
We already know our work has an impact (see point no. 8) but it’s useful to stop and ask ‘how can we take this to the next level?’ Altruist Partners will help us to think about what might be holding us back and how we can become more enterprising to scale up and maximise our impact.

10.    Rock’n’roll
Just when you thought it wasn’t possible for INSP to get any cooler, we decide to end the Summit on a high with a benefit gig at Seattle’s famous Crocodile Club. Between you and me, I’m sure we won’t wait until Friday to explore the local nightlife…

Can’t wait to see you in Seattle!