Earlier this month, after more than two years away from face-to-face networking opportunities, members of our team attended Narrative Power Summit and ComNet.
Narrative Power Summit: A Political and Professional Home
The newest comms conference on the scene, Narrative Power Summit, was dreamed up by Radical Communicators Network and ReFrame as a convening focused on building narrative power at scale.
“Narrative Power Summit is a focused, tight-knit space, by and for social justice communications,” explains LightBox Collaborative founding partner Holly Minch. “It’s a political and professional home, and in that space, I saw the next wave of leaders connecting, learning together, and coming into their own. It was truly a privilege to learn from their unique skills, innovations in practice, and fierce commitment to shifting power and systems.”
“RadComms has evolved profoundly in just five short years,” says LightBox Collaborator Claudette Silver. “What started as a reaction to a very specific moment in our history has become a laboratory for some of the smartest strategists to learn and grow with each other.”
“I was impressed by the depth of learning we’ve done these past five years since RadComms started,” adds collaborator Isobel White. “I saw stellar examples of movement-building all around me. I got to imagine the stories we want to tell ourselves about this country in 30 years. I got to hear from smart folks about how narrative power building is like any other power building — it requires relationships of trust. The best part of all: at the NPS I got to work on those relationships.”
ComNet: Where Are We Heading as a Field?
ComNet, the long-running conference hosted by The Communications Network, focuses on foundations and nonprofit leaders committed to building a better world through strategic communications.
“I went to my first ComNet conference probably 20 years ago!” Holly recalls. “In a way, it feels like a place where I grew up professionally. It’s a space where I met, learned from, and collaborated with many of my mentors; and it was a pleasure to see many of those long-time colleagues in action. Without many of those connections, I would not have had the skills, the network, the chutzpah to start LightBox Collaborative 12 years ago.”
“I think anyone who works in the ‘communications for good’ field would benefit from attending ComNet,” adds LightBox Collaborator Cat Brozena. “Not only are we there to learn best practices from each other, but we are there to support each other through the challenges that inevitably come up in our day-to-day work.”
“After two years of virtual conferences and so much change in our world, I think just about everyone who attended this year was truly wondering, ‘where are we headed as a field?’ This conference, more than ever, really brought the urgency of our work to the forefront.”
Watching the Communications Field Grow: A Generational Sea Change
“We have so much to learn from one another,” says LightBox Collaborative Senior Partner Amanda Cooper on the importance of connection. “Too often we gather around issue area or identity, but our liberation is so deeply connected. Communicators understand that and can do important work together to ensure that our messages build on one another. We need spaces like these to have those conversations, seed those cross-issue strategies, and celebrate each other.”
“For me, both ComNet and Narrative Power Summit were opportunities to think about the juxtaposition of longevity and innovation, and to reflect on just how much the field has grown—and continues to grow with the infusion of fresh talent,” says Holly.
“I’ve been doing this work for long enough to see a generational sea change, and it’s exciting.”
Thank you to all the organizers behind both ComNet and Narrative Power Summit! We’re already looking forward to next year’s conferences.
See you in Atlanta next year?
The Communications Network recently announced next year’s ComNet will be held in Atlanta. Save the date for September 2023.
Find out what narrative power is all about
And for those of you that missed the Narrative Power Summit, ReFrame is hosting a Narrative Power 101 virtual training on October 25 for creatives, organizers, leaders, and dreamers who want to skill up. Register here.