“It is inspiring to see what we can become” – INSP Summit lessons go into action

“Being a young street paper, there is so much we can learn from other street papers around the world,” says Ranya O’Connor from The Curbside Chronicle in Oklahoma, USA.

It’s been three months since the INSP’s Global Street Paper Summit in Seattle and street papers around the world are starting to put the lessons they learned into action.

For street papers, especially those operating in isolation and facing complex challenges, the Summit is a vital source of support, advice and INSPiration.

“It is extremely important that we benchmark our progress with other street papers and try to find out their formula for success,” Ranya continues. “We spoke with many street papers and asked them to talk about their first years and how they really pushed forward and grew. This was really helpful.

“Many street papers at the summit were over 10 years old. It is inspiring to see what we can become.”

The Curbside Chronicle is only two years old, but was the winner of Best Cover at the INSP Awards.

Ranya with Curbside Chronicle's INSP Award

Each year, INSP fundraises tirelessly to offer bursary places to street papers who would otherwise be unable to send anyone to the world’s only international gathering of street paper innovators.

Of the 22 delegates receiving bursary funding, 10 had never before attended the Summit, like Delphia Simmons, the founder of Thrive Detroit, which joined INSP in 2012.

“The summit was like a breath of fresh air and just what I needed to keep moving forward and to increase Thrive’s impact,” she says. “I have already started to execute some of the ideas from the summit.”

The Summit in Seattle was the biggest yet. It was also a bumper year for bursaries, with INSP awarding 22 fully funded delegate places.

We also provided travel support, enabling delegates to travel to the US from 13 different countries. The combined cost of bursary places and travel support brought the grand total awarded in the 2015 bursary scheme to almost £16,000 (US$25,000).

Andreas Düllick, editor of strassenfeger, travelled to Seattle from Berlin in Germany, thanks to an INSP bursary. He says, “Attending the summit is really a must for every street paper. Standing alone won’t help you.

“Going together, fighting together for the rights of homeless and poor people makes us all stronger. Let us make this world better – all together and as a part of the INSP!”

The summit brings together street papers who are just starting out with veterans of the movement, meaning there is no better place to get ideas, advice and support

Amber Krogel is in the process of starting a brand new street paper in Kelowna, BC, Canada.

Voice Magazine is due to launch in 2016 and Amber says that the INSP Summit was an amazing inspiration, as well as a font of practical advice.

“Throughout the week I learned so much about the inner-workings of a street paper,” she says. “This not only gave me practical advice, but also encouraged me with the knowledge that I am not reinventing the wheel or attempting a project all alone – I have a network of people I can go to for advice and support.

“I have confidence and inspiration at seeing the success of the street paper model all over the world.”

Planning for the 2016 Summit in Athens is already well under way. INSP is investigating ways to keep costs low for our members and trying to find ever more resourceful and imaginative ways to increase the number of delegates we can support.

Attendance at the INSP Summit increases the strength of our global network and the development and sustainability of individual street papers.

For more information about supporting delegates from around the world to attend the summit, please email me. Or you can make a one-off donation to support INSP’s work here.