Policies that Matter for Artists and Media Makers - by Mary Alice Crim of Free Press
I am amazed by the talent and creativity of all the people I met at the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture conference last month in Boston. People were using all sorts of platforms and media to support arts and cultural projects.
A few of my favorites: a participatory photo documentary compilation by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris that showcases African-American family histories; a project called amplifyme (formerly, Project Think Different), which uses video and pop culture to promote social causes; and Women in Film and Video, an initiative to support women in the visual arts.
Reflecting on the varied initiatives unveiled at the conference, I realized that a common thread was the importance of government policies that support media, arts and culture. The projects that were inspiring to me need government policies to protect and promote media and the arts.
This theme was more fully explored at the "Media & Arts Town Hall Meeting" led by me and my co-worker Candace Clement, where we asked participants to discuss the major media and cultural policies that could bolster their work.
High on the list were:
- Finding ways to support and increase public media and arts funding
- Protecting fair use of copyrighted material;
- Promoting universal Internet access and equal access to digital resources, such as laptops;
- Supporting Net Neutrality and related Internet policies; and,
- Incorporating media literacy that includes digital and arts literacy at various levels of our educational system.
All of these policies can be implemented, and with such a wide array of skills, styles and platforms, the media arts and media advocacy communities can be an unstoppable force if we band together to advocate for them. In fact, Free Press and other advocacy groups are working on some of these very issues, three of which are the focus of our campaigns.
- NewPublicMedia.org is partnering with forward-thinking leaders, independent media makers and everyday people to expand the definition of public media and implement public policies that will foster more education, journalism, arts and culture.
- SavetheInternet.com is a coalition of more than a million everyday people who have banded together with thousands of nonprofit organizations, businesses and bloggers to protect Net Neutrality.
- InternetforEveryone.org is a coalition working to deliver universal, affordable, high-speed Internet to all Americans.
These campaigns offer great ways to continue to stay informed and active in the movement to support independent media makers and artists, quality journalism and entertainment, and access to a democratic Internet that distributes artistic work. When we work together with our allies, use our collective tools and support policy-focused advocacy campaigns such as these, we can offer critical support for media, arts and culture.