By: Sarah Kladler
This year I attended the 2017 National IMPACT Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference centered around social action and service learning, bringing hundreds of motivated social justice warriors under one roof. The Conference lasted four days and consisted of keynote speakers, panels, and workshops led by nonprofit leaders, school administrators, and college students. When we weren’t in group sessions, we had time to explore the St. Louis area. We visited local restaurants and bars, walked past the largest city park in the country, and spent an evening at the City Museum, which believe me, was one of the coolest places I have ever been in my life. The City Museum is a huge indoor/outdoor playground for adults and children alike, with multiple story-long slides and spiral tunnels weaved through the ceiling—the place is a real-life version of Shoots and Ladders meets Chuckie Cheese’s, meets an eccentric sculpture installation. It’s insane!
During the Conference I also had the opportunity to present a workshop to me peers tilted, The Image as Social Commentary: the Power Behind Visual Persuasion. My workshop centered around images and introduced how images, driven by a society devoted to visual stimuli through constant exposure to marketing and the media, have the unique and extraordinary power to persuade and comment on the world around us. Participants learned that the formation of social stereotypes and biases are often formed through images we see in ads and driven by our implicit bias. I also introduced artists, such as Hank Willis Thomas and KC Adams, who use their art as a form of social action. Thomas seeks to inform the public of how we unconsciously absorb social bias through the images we see. KC Adams, on the other hand, works to replace our bias with positive, truthful images. Check out their work here:
I want to thank SAIL for providing me the opportunity to attend this conference. If you are reading this and you haven’t been to a conference, or are looking for other opportunities to expand your knowledge about social justice, come by the SAIL office to learn about upcoming our events and other opportunities!