“We are a part of something much greater” – INSP summit scholarships enhance street paper movement

INSP scholarships spread energy and inspiration through the street paper movement again this summer with 24 delegates receiving support to attend the Global Street Paper Summit in Athens.

Scholarships were awarded to international papers – from Colombia to Serbia – who would otherwise be unable to attend the summit. The support helps fund travel and delegate places at the international gathering.

Global Street Paper Summit delegates in Athens. Photo: Giannis Zindrilis

Street Roots reporter Emily Green said the scholarship enabled her to have “one of the most amazing” experiences of her life.

“It was very motivating and validating on a personal level to step outside of the bubble that is my office in Portland and see that we are a part of something much greater,” she said.

“Attending the summit was, truly, one of the most amazing and impactful experiences of my life.  The relationships I made and feelings of camaraderie will last a very long time.”

This year, the summit brought together more than 120 delegates from in 30 countries. The 59 publications represented included a range of experience from established magazines to new papers.

The host street paper for 2017 was Greece’s only street paper, Shedia. They have been publishing for just three years and are one of the newest papers ever to host the Global Street Paper Summit.

Milica Martinović is vendor co-ordinator for Serbian street paper Liceulice, which has been around since 2010 but has recently faced funding issues.

“Attending the summit was, truly, one of the most amazing and impactful experiences of my life”

She said she was motivated by how much Shedia has achieved in a short time.

“It was important to see how Shedia in such a short period was so successful at their work,” she said.  “Greece has many similarities with Serbia. I learned from this experience that solidarity between people helps Shedia sell magazines.”

INSP Operations Manager Zoe Greenfield explained that the fundraising effort that goes into the scholarships is worthwhile to bring as many voices as possible to the global conversation.

“The summit represents the diversity of our network, with scholarships supporting street papers at all stages of development from those who are in their infancy to those who are more established but facing significant challenges,” she added.

“Scholarships are not only vital in allowing emerging street papers to learn from the expertise within our network, but also in bringing new voices to the global conversation.”

Arkadii and fellow delegates at the Shedia open house. Photo: Giannis Zindrilis

One of the newest street papers in the network is Mexico’s Mi Valedor, which started in 2015. Their vendor manager, Delphine Tomes, received a scholarship to attend the Athens summit. She said they are already seeing benefits from connecting with more experienced street papers.

“It was incredible to be surrounded by street paper veterans who consider us ‘babies’ and who struggle to remember how they started out,” Delphine added.

“This kind of exchange is essential for our perspective: to know and really understand that is it an achingly slow process and that we are progressing just fine.”

But it wasn’t just ‘baby’ street papers learning at the summit.

“Together, we have the ability to oppose xenophobia, divisions and conflicts which are currently present in the world”

Russian street paper Put Domoi is based in St. Petersburg, and has been a member of INSP since 1996.

Their editor, Arkadii Tiurin, said the inspiration he got from his scholarship place is invaluable.

“The experience of INSP annual summits has shown us that the main directions of our development should be perfecting our content and motivating vendors,” he added. “The aesthetic and level of writing of such papers as Kralji Ulice, Hecho en Bs As, Boca de Rua and Sorgenfri makes us sure that we will be able to make our content be more fresh and attractive.”

While Arkadii is a veteran, Gazeta Uliczna’s Patrycja Zenker was attending her first summit, thanks to INSP’s support.

“For me, it was unusual that I met many different people from many different countries,” said the Polish street paper consultant.

“Each of them had different experiences, different training, but they were all united around one good idea. It shows that, together, we have the ability to oppose xenophobia, divisions and conflicts which are currently present in the world.”

Speak Up's Matt Shaw accepts the award for Best Vendor Contribution. Photo: - Patrick Tinios

Volker Macke, editor of Hannover paper Asphalt said the support to attend the summit was “indispensable”.

“To be part of a movement to be among the good guys is [as] motivating as anything else,” he said. “For that reason alone, to feel that again and again, the Summit is indispensable in the future.”

Matt Shaw, executive director of US paper Speak Up, was supported to travel all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina. He agreed that it was good to be among like-minded people.

“Attending the summit is energising and inspiring for me personally,” he said. “I need to continue to have a burning fire for the street magazine vision and the annual summit is one of the things that stirs that up.”